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State Significant Development


505 Wilson Street, Redfern - CME Building

City of Sydney

Current Status: Determination

Interact with the stages for their names

  1. SEARs
  2. Prepare EIS
  3. Exhibition
  4. Collate Submissions
  5. Response to Submissions
  6. Assessment
  7. Recommendation
  8. Determination

Internal and external alterations for re-use of building

Consolidated Consent

CME Building - Consolidated Consent


Early Consultation (1)

Notice of Exhibition (1)

Request for SEARs (1)

SEARs (2)

EIS (58)

Response to Submissions (24)

Agency Advice (8)

Additional Information (7)

Determination (5)

Approved Documents

There are no post approval documents available

Note: Only documents approved by the Department after November 2019 will be published above. Any documents approved before this time can be viewed on the Applicant's website.


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Note: Only enforcements and inspections undertaken by the Department from March 2020 will be shown above.


Showing 1 - 12 of 12 submissions
Name Withheld
DARLINGTON , New South Wales
Comments on plans for redevelopment of 505 Wilson St., Darlington, CME Building.

Reference: Conservation Management Plan of February 2023.

I strongly support the sensitive restoration of the CME Building for long term, sustainable use. However, the building should not be sold for commercial use (stated on p. 86 of the Conservation Management Plan of February 2023). This building, part of the North Eveleigh precinct, is ‘the jewel in the crown’ (p 164) of the precinct. It is currently publicly owned by TfNSW on behalf of the NSW Government and should continue to be publicly owned and restored for the benefit and use of the community and visitors from near and far. My reasons are as follows:

• I live across the road from this building and have done so since the mid 1980s. I have been dismayed by the ongoing neglect of such an iconic building of significant heritage value. I was one of the instigators of a residents’ action to restore the outside of the building. However since that restoration (2016-17), the building has once again been allowed to fall into disrepair (p134, leaking roof ‘requiring urgent remediation’ ).
• It is my strong contention that this neglect and the subsequent high cost of restoration is the responsibility of TfNSW and the NSW Government and as such TfNSW and the NSW Government need to take responsibility for restoration, rather than selling it off for private development which would restrict public use and access.
• The CME building is a rare building of State heritage significance. As well as its historic and aesthetic value, it is a building of significant social and cultural value to both the local community and others interested in the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal history of the area.
• Of particular interest is the railway history associated with the building which could be displayed within the sensitively restored interior. If the building is sold and restored for office use as mentioned in the Conservation Management Plan, then there would be no place to display this history and no public access.
• Public ownership would mean that the building would be accessible for both the local community and visitors. Public use would allow for showcasing of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural heritage and this would be of interest to the local community and national and international visitors.
• Repurposing the building for community/public use would enable preservation and display of its history and would enhance North Eveleigh and surrounds as a cultural and tourist destination. This kind of usage would be able to provide a more viable, ongoing economic future for the building rather than a one off sale for even more office development.

The CME building was a visionary building of its time ‘a fine late Victorian railways office on a scale above all other such structures in the State’.(p, 157). Is it too much to expect vision from TfNSW and NSW Government in the renovation and reuse of this unique building?
Peter Hutton NEVE
Junee , New South Wales
Submission attached.
Richard Butcher
Eastwood , New South Wales
To quote from a Transport For NSW spokeswoman YouTube video “The Redfern North Eveleigh Project will draw on the rich heritage of the site, the industrial, the Aboriginal and the creative roots of Sydney ”.

This submission is concerned the Industrial heritage of the CMEs building is likely to be compromised. A key building for Eveleigh Railway precinct indeed core to the historical development of the NSW Government Railways.

I Richard K Butcher have a vested interest in the Eveleigh industrial precinct, I was a smithy at Eveleigh loco from 1956 to 1963, finishing my 5-year apprenticeship as a railway blacksmith and subsequently through many years of hard study elevated to Welding Engineer from 1963 to 1966 with the Wilson St. Laboratories of the then NSW Government Railways. The Wilson st Laboratories being adjacent to the CME’s heritage building.

I was invited to conduct heritage tours through the workshops 30 years ago, when I started the NSW Govt. operated Eveleigh as the new Australian Technology Park, thousands of visitors were on the site especially during ‘Open days’. Sadly this has all gone, I haven’t operated a tour for 2 1/2 years, MIRVAC for around the last 7 years run the show, having sacked the Heritage Communications Officer 2 or 3 years ago (Heritage is a dirty word to MIRVAC).

Some three years ago I begged the Dept. of Planning to retain the fabric and industrial patina of Eveleigh Locomotive Workshops Bays 1 & 2 – it seemed not one listened. To elaborate - Bays 1 & 2 are now only 50% of the former area and critical items for the industrial patina have been altered severely, like the earthen floors, the huge tongs, tool racks, the ingots, the large and small examples of forging's that laid on Bay 1 floors are gone, replaced with concrete, carpet and coffee tables. The hot metal tradesmen worked with - like ingots and forgings needed to be placed on a dirt floor, a timber floor would have burnt the building down, cement explodes and carpet is office flooring – how insulting. To me who worked there with dozens of men Bays 1 & 2 is now a lifeless, uninteresting, precinct, with Mathew Mewburn the resident blacksmith the one saving grace.

I could go on.. half of Bay 2 has a brewery, Bays 3 & 4 now houses an IGA superstore yet for a century the locomotive boiler making shop.

The Smithsonian Institute of the USA to which I was a member, stated of Everleigh - ‘one of the world's last surviving Victorian era steam workshops’ her antiquity amazing.

Has the relevant government authority consulted the brilliant Conservation Management Plan by Heritage consultant Paul Rappoport, dated Sept 1997?

I am far from happy, having been invited to sit on both ATP and MIRVAC committees - for fifteen years. Submitted suggestions and ideas re her industrial Importance. But no one in authority listens. Thus I feel there is no point in submitting anything re North and South Eveleigh. I live in hope that you will surprise me and not further compromise this once grand industrial heritage of NSW.

Ideally my recommendation is to have the ARHS bookshop on ground floor and Transport Heritage NSW on the upper floor.

Yours Sincerely,

Richard K Butcher

Some references to support my heritage concerns -

The Great Eveleigh Locomotive Workshops. Author / Publisher Richard K Butcher ISBN 0-646-43400-4

Railways, Relics and Romance: The Eveleigh Railway Workshops. David Moore ISBN 0 9596232 1 1 (Note: As historian and author of the self published book The Great Eveleigh Railway Workshops I had a request from Caroline Simpson (philanthropist of Farfax family) to edit the technical content of David Moore’s book).

Chief Mechanical Engineers Building: Conservation Management Plan. Author Paul Rappoport. Caldis Cook Group Pty Ltd. Sept 1997

Richard K Butcher qualifications :

Fellow of Welding Institute of Australia
Served as member on National Executive of Welding Institute of Australia – 20 years
Mechanical Engineer
Diploma of Teaching
Railway Blacksmith – higher trades course ( 5 years )
Life member of Transport Heritage NSW
Life Member of Valley Heights, Transport NSW
Founding member of Thirlmere Rail Transport Museum
Name Withheld
Redfern , New South Wales
This building should never been painted. There is nothing ‘heritage’ about ridiculous cream and green paint. It’s an outdated belief that Victorian buildings should be painted green and cream, it’s not Victorian, they never used those colours, they never even had this paint in this era.

Stip the paint and restore it back to it’s beautiful and ORIGINAL brick. That would be a heritage restoration. Clear seal the bricks if necessary. Anything else would be a mockery to its heritage.

Restore the original gardens
Name Withheld
DARLINGTON , New South Wales
As a local resident and great admirer of the building, I support the restoration of the building. However, I find it incredibly concerning that a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the building has not been placed on exhibition with the other documents. Why is this not being supplied publicy?

I would also like to request that if any works are carried out on the building, can parking for any building works be done at the back of the building (not on the Wilson St frontage), to minimise the impact on current limited street parking and on the Wilson St Bike path.

As a resident that lives directly opposite the building, I'd like to ask that works are carried out respectfully and efficiently to minimise noise and disruption.

I find it incredibly concerning as a resident that not all documents relating to the development of the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) were submitted to the public at the beginning of the exhibition period, and that the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) had to be proactively requested. That the CMP was only supplied approximately one day before the close of the exhibition period shows a concerning degree of negligence and lack of respect for the general public.

I believe the exhibition period should have been formally extended so that all relating documents are in the hands of the public.

As mentioned, in my previous submission, I support the sensitive restoration of the CME Building for long term, sustainable use. However, as outlined in the CMP, (stated on p. 86 of the Conservation Management Plan of February 2023) the building should not be sold for commercial use. The CMP, part of the North Eveleigh precinct, is an incredibly important building and should continue to be publicly owned and restored for the benefit and use of the community and visitors from near and far.
Ifeanna Tooth
PADDINGTON , New South Wales
This is a very important site for NSW Railways and the whole of NSW as it was the office where design work for bridges across the state, including work on Sydney Harbour Bridge was undertaken. The site was also very closely connected to Sydney University’s School of Mechanical Engineering. As a result the refurbishment needs to be closely monitored to maintain as much as possible of the heritage fabric and to allow the building to be open to heritage tours at least as part of Heritage and History weeks rather than totally closed off from the community.
Grant McCall
DARLINGTON , New South Wales
I have lived in Redfern/Chippendale/Darlington since 1978 and have no plans to leave. Our (with my wife of 52 years) children are adults and live in Dulwich Hill, the Blue Mountains and Fiji with their families. I have no experience of domestic violence nor any expertise on the subject. I am a retired academic anthropologist.
I toured the CME Building when it was opened to the public a few years ago and the idea occurred to me that it would make an excellent, emergency, short-term refuge for people and their dependents experiencing domestic violence. The building is large, with excellent security, close to Redfern station and other transport. Someone and their dependents could find safety in such a place whilst more long-term options are explored to deal with their situation.
The CME is a gracious building that could be divided into dormitory units, with communal facilities, rather like a shared house with those able pitching in for cooking and daily cleaning, including a launderette. There could be a communications room where people could contact others outside in safety. Governance could be much as the shared house model I suggested above, with residents participating in open meetings. There should be a resident social worker and the entire place monitored for safety from Redfern Police Station. Food and all building costs to be met by the State. Employment opportunities in local businesses of various kinds encouraged amongst those tenants. Counselling services should be available for those who have fled domestic violence and their dependants to ensure dignity. The CME could serve as a model for other, similar refuges elsewhere in NSW, located in Government owned, well-appointed heritage buildings. There should be professional oversight from a Minister's office. The grounds of the CME facility should be fitted with security devices using AI monitoring with breaches sent to Redfern Police, perhaps, in time, a special unit of that station.
Whilst I have suggested some elements in detail, to be successful the CME Refuge should be organic and grow out of the people seeking safety and assistance there. The CME Refuge should be an evolving, rather than a bureaucratic facility.
Margaret Whalen
. , New South Wales
Strawberry Hills , New South Wales
Name Withheld
Darlington , New South Wales
Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
Newtown , New South Wales
City of Sydney
SYDNEY , New South Wales


Project Details

Application Number
Assessment Type
State Significant Development
Development Type
Rail transport facilities
Local Government Areas
City of Sydney
Determination Date
Last Modified By
Last Modified On

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Bonnie Hale