Battlers unite to save precinct

TWO community groups have come together to ensure Parramatta is protected from overdevelopment.

Jon Hillman, Rob Macqueen, Alice Kershaw, Judith Dunn and Suzette Meade.North Parramatta Residents Action Group (NPRAG) and the Parramatta Female Factory Friends will aim to protect and encourage the appropriate rescue of the Cumberland East Health Precinct in North Parramatta.

The State Government has plans for a massive residential and commercial development, including 2700 apartments, but the two groups don’t agree with the proposal.

NPRAG and Parramatta Female Factory Friends have signed a memorandum of understanding with the “ultimate purpose to save the precinct as a highly significant social, economic and cultural asset for Parramatta, NSW and Australia”.

NPRAG president Suzette Meade said the groups wanted to focus their energies and resources in a more coordinated and effective way.

“We believe our alternative vision for the Cumberland Hospital grounds for a heritage and cultural landscape will ignite Parramatta city on to the world stage,” Ms Meade said.

Parramatta Female Factory Friends president Gay Hendriksen said the two groups had common goals for the preservation and access for the Female Factory.

“Our vision is not for private use but Female Factory as a living museum and national resource centre and associated sites for creative activation determined with the community and accessed by the community,” she said.

A public meeting will be held to discuss the future of the Fleet St Heritage Precinct in North Parramatta on Tuesday, February 16 at Burnside Public School Hall, 6.30pm.


Clive Lucas, who took over the trust presidency last month, told The Advertiser Parramatta had to be careful of overdevelopment.

“I do think the Parramatta domain and that land where the hospital and jail is, should be seen as a sacrosanct site. Parkland, that breathing space, is so important,” he said.

“Historic buildings are all capable of being converted into other uses. The Powerhouse Museum for example, could be incorporated to be built in that area,” he said.

Dr Lucas was a founder of the conservation architectural firm Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners.

He is the former chair of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, Australia ICOMOS and the Furniture History Society (Australasia).

Dr Lucas played a role in the conservation of some of the most significant buildings in Australia, including Elizabeth Bay House and the Hyde Park Barracks.

He said his new role would see him take a keen interest in Parramatta.

“If Parramatta is going to preserve its identity, it needs to have its historic buildings. The National Trust will keep an eye on what’s going on and where appropriate make a protest. It’s not just about preserving the historic buildings but also to preserve around them,” he said.

Speaking about the State Government’s North Parramatta development, Dr Lucas said it should remain as open space.

“I am certainly against building tall buildings there in North Parramatta but I think the old buildings there should be converted to something else.

“The rest of Parramatta is naturally going to grow. The problem is many of the early colonial buildings are small in scale and they look a bit stupid if you build tall skyscrapers beside them.”

He said zoning around historic buildings should take into account their heritage.

“The council should put guidelines in place to preserve the surroundings of the buildings and provide a buffer zone or allow for some sympathetic development,” Dr Lucas said.

United front for Fleet Street Heritage precinct

mou signing

The fight to save the Fleet Street Heritage precinct from overdevelopment has stepped up a notch.

North Parramatta Residents Action Group (NPRAG) and Parramatta Female Factory Friends (PFFF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a united front against UrbanGrowth NSW’s plans for North Parramatta.

“The ultimate purpose is to save the precinct as a highly significant social, economic and cultural asset for Parramatta, NSW and Australia,” it states.

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Parramatta Pool could be moved to make way for Pirtek Stadium upgrade

In an article that could be the same headline from this time last year it has been revealed again that the Parramatta War Memorial Pool is under danger of being in the way of the State Governments development of Pirtek Stadium to increase in capacity by 8,000 seats.

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In an interesting twist the government appointed architects Hassell, were also appointed as board members of Urban Growth NSW around the same time as being announced the successful tender of this project.

Hassell Studio Pirtek Stadium Design





Powerhouse Museum should not be moved to old David Jones carpark, say Parramatta Councillors


powerhouseTHE debate of where the Powerhouse Museum should be relocated to is heating up with Parramatta councillors objecting to it being constructed at a site on the river.

At a council meeting last night, councillors discussed potential sites for the museum once it was moved from Ultimo to western Sydney.

All councillors were against the museum being built at the old David Jones carpark site, on the riverbank in Phillip St.  Another option the State Government was looking at was the old golf course site.

North Parramatta Residents Action Group president Suzette Meade said the government’s plan to move the Powerhouse out of Ultimo to Parramatta was nothing more than a “cash-grab to sell another public asset and a gift to developers.”

“ NPRAG would like to see Parramatta house the Museum of NSW celebrating our cultural diversity from indigenous beginnings through to our rich migration history with nearly half our residents born overseas,” Ms Meade said.

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Information Stall – Australia Day @ Parramatta Park


Come and visit committee and members of the North Parramatta Residents Action Group this Australia Day (Tuesday 26th January 2016) at Parramatta Park.

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At our stall you can

  • look through images of the Cumberland Hospital Precinct,
  • view 3D maps of the proposal NPRAG have created from reading proposals (as we still have not been able to obtain 3D images from UGNSW).
  • Look through alternative visions for the FLEET STREET HERITAGE PRECINCT
  • Join as a community member of NPRAG

We will be partnered on the day by our joint advocates in our campaign the Parramatta Female Factory Friends who will have their petition for you to sign demanding the Federal Government put Female Factory Precinct  for immediate World Heritage Listing.

Parramatta Council have a HUGE day of events on at Parramatta Park and we hope to get to speak to everyone on the day – please drop by and say hello!



Last 2015 NPRAG Members’ Meeting this Wednesday 16 December

With the rezoning approved, now is the time to consolidate our efforts to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for the oasis of public land that comprises the Cumberland precinct in North Parramatta. 2016 will be a big year for NPRAG to influence the plans for the restoration and re-adaptive use of the precious heritage buildings on site and the sections of the Cumberland Precinct destined for ultimate sell-off for development.

Our final meeting for 2015 is on Wednesday 16 December at 6.30pm at the Lions Club Hall, 42A Ross Street, North Parramatta. Become a member, contribute to our strategy for 2016 and join us to celebrate Christmas and what we achieved in 2015!

Hope to see you there!


Parramatta Chamber of Commerce support motion to reverse rezoning proposal

Parramatta Chamber of Commerce president Michael Mekhitarian said the chamber was of the view the current proposal for the North Parramatta development was not the best possible outcome for the area and Parramatta City.

Mr Mekhitarian said the chamber would support Cr Shaw’s motion for the council to request the state government reverse its decision to rezone the precinct.

“We believe this is a one-off opportunity to get the regeneration of one of Australia’s most significant sites of colonial history right.”

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State Government approves rezoning proposal for Parramatta North Urban Transformation

Geoff Lee claims 30% reduction in the rezoning approval when CLEARLY this is due to 30% of the land (approx. 9 hectares) being deferred from the UGNSW proposal to be submitted at a later stage.  People of Western Sydney know what you are up to Rob Stokes!

“This strikes a balance between the need for heritage conservation and new homes. The site will be a wonderful new precinct, right next to Parramatta Park and could attract one million visitors to the place modern Australia first started,” Mr Lee said.

“I am pleased to continue to advocate for this precinct — one that will give the people of NSW greater access to our history.”

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Community concerns about UrbanGrowth NSW’s Parramatta North plans

NOT everyone is happy with revised Parramatta North precinct plans, despite “significant” changes as a result of community feedback.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes unveiled UrbanGrowth NSW’s plans to rezone the heritage precinct last week.

“We thought that Rob Stokes was a visionary, not a vessel for the property developers of NSW,” president Suzette Meade said.

“It’s another case of ‘second best for the west’ being told we have to self fund our heritage restoration and cultural amenities — when Sydney city gets massive government funding for the Art Gallery, White Bay and Macquarie Street without selling Hyde Park or the Domain for residential apartments.”

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