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State Significant Development

Response to Submissions

Powerhouse Ultimo Revitalisation

City of Sydney

Current Status: Response to Submissions

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

Design, construction, and operation of the refurbished Powerhouse Ultimo. This includes:
- Retention and adaptive reuse of State Heritage and the Wran Building
- Demolition of non-heritage structures
- New building extension in the SW corner

Attachments & Resources

Notice of Exhibition (1)

Request for SEARs (1)

SEARs (1)

EIS (36)

Response to Submissions (1)

Agency Advice (11)

Submissions

Filters
Showing 1 - 20 of 126 submissions
Name Withheld
Object
St Leonards , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to the Powerhouse revitalisation plans. Despite prior State Significant Development planning decisions allowing “programming of museum spaces…not [being] a matter requiring approval”, the Department of Planning should reconsider this policy. The success of a museum depends on both its exterior and site planning as well as its internal and exhibition planning, particularly if proposed plans drastically reduce exhibition space by 75%!
The demolition of the Engine House’s Steam exhibition and underlying steam infrastructure will destroy the live steam engine demonstration experience enjoyed by generations of Australians. In this era of re-use and sustainability, rebuilding the steam infrastructure makes no economic sense, and there are certainly less intrusive and destructive ways to adapt and re-use the Powerhouse Museum.
Furthermore, apart from 3 objects, museum management has refused to confirm how much of the existing exhibitions will be kept post-renovation. Combined with the estimated 75% reduction in exhibition space, extensive internal demolition of ramps, mezzanines, and the Wran building’s grand galleria windows, it appears not only could the Powerhouse’s buildings be under threat, but also NSW’s state significant heritage of the Powerhouse’s collection and exhibits.
While the current State Significant Development process may not require approval for museum programming, the Department may want to rethink it considering the current trajectory of the Powerhouse revitalisation proposal: it could be a State Significant Development for the wrong reasons.
Jonathan Sanders
Object
COWAN , New South Wales
Message
I object in the strongest possible terms to the proposal. The EIS completely misrepresents the actual works which are proposed as a "revitalisation" when it will in fact result in the damage to and destruction of a museum of State, National and World significance, and much of the priceless heritage that it was planned and constructed to preserve for centuries. The EIS completely fails to consider the heritage of the Powerhouse Museum (PHM) as a whole, in its environmental and social context, as is required under the Planning and Assessment legislation. The collection which the Museum was designed and constructed to house, conserve and display is hardly discussed, let alone considered in terms of the impacts of the proposal (some of which have already occurred through neglect and mismanagement), and yet this collection is as much an integral part of the buildings and the heritage as the Town Hall organ is a part of the Sydney Town Hall, or the Bird Galleries are a part of the Australian Museum. The wholesale damage to an internationally significant heritage collection that has and will result is unprecedented in an modern international setting outside the destruction of the museums of Iraq and the heritage of Afghanistan, and those happened in theatres of war. The EIS provides an erroneous and entirely unworthy discussion of the possible significance of some undiscovered and unknown Aboriginal heritage which is theorised to have survived over 200 years of intense industrial development and use of the site, as if this is somehow a reason for knocking the PHM down in case it can be revealed. There is no doubt that the Domain and the former upland swamp that lies under Hyde Park were highly significant to the Eora, and this at least is well documented (unlike the theorising about the PHM site), yet we do not hear any arguments to drain the Pool of Remembrance and knock down the Cenotaph and the Archibald Fountain so that possible Aboriginal significance can be discovered. The PHM was NEVER a Bicentennial project, it was just happy co-incidence that it was able to open in 1988, and It had in fact been going for well over 100 years of collecting and partial display of technology by that time. There was never any contemporary Aboriginal opposition or resentment to its establishment, in fact the PHM worked closely with the La Perouse community during its development and early years. The major contention with Aboriginal heritage and artifacts lies elsewhere, in The Australian Museum, and various University museums and medical anatomical collections, and yet there has been an attempt to confect some involvement of the PHM in this issue. This is a disgraceful misrepresentation that has no value in any argument for considering or approving the proposal.
The most significant defect of this EIS is not the totally inadequate and inaccurate assessments, but that fact that there is no convincing argument presented for the destruction of one of Australia's most significant cultural institutions, and the expenditure of many hundreds of millions of NSW taxpayer's money to do so. Infrastructure NSW has many vastly more significant and vitally important issues to spend our funding on (Community housing, sustainable power generation, maintenance and upgrading of electricity, water and sewer infrastructure, public transport (and especially trains), public school facilities, health infrastructure and especially shelter for women and families under threat from domestic violence etc., etc.). This proposal represents a hugely significant opportunity cost for the State of NSW by squandering precious Government resources on an unnecessary and very badly imagined thought-bubble, and it is completely inexcusable that the broader financial considerations of this proposal are not presented and considered, in fact, there is not even an adequate business case presented.
(THE FOLLOWING IS INFORMATION FOR THE PLANNING STAFF CONSIDERING THIS PROPOSAL, AND IS PRIVATE AND DOES NOT FORM PART OF MY ARGUMENT, NOR SHOULD IT BE PUBLICLY RELEASED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES:
I intend to submit considerably more material supporting my objections, but unfortunately I have been and am currently undergoing Chemotherapy for cancer, and I have just now had my fourth treatment which is somewhat debilitating. In addition, I came down with Covid 2 days ago, and so I have been unable to finalise and present the remaining material which I intend to provide. I understand that I will be able to finalise this material and attach it to my submission as soon as I have recovered enough to do so, which should be in the next week. PLEASE CONTACT ME IF THIS IS AN ISSUE.
Name Withheld
Comment
PYRMONT , New South Wales
Message
Attached
Attachments
Jennifer Sanders
Object
RUSSELL LEA , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to this SSD - 6788459 in its entirety as this so-called 'Heritage Revitalisation' project is, in fact, the demolition of the Powerhouse Museum which is held in trust for the people of NSW. Founded in 1880, the Powerhouse Museum is one of NSW's four foundational cultural organisations along with the State Library of NSW, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian Museum. This plan is pure cultural vandalism and a grotesque waste of taxpayers money. $350.4m plus to empty and demolish the state's pre-eminent museum of the applied arts and sciences - our history - the inspiration for our future - a much loved delight for generations of visitors . This is a cultural scandal. No civilised society destroys a museum.
Attachments
Name Withheld
Object
Croydon , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to the Powerhouse revitalisation plans. Despite prior State Significant Development planning decisions allowing “programming of museum spaces…not [being] a matter requiring approval”, the Department of Planning should reconsider this policy. The success of a museum depends on both its exterior and site planning as well as its internal and exhibition planning, particularly if proposed plans drastically reduce exhibition space by 75%!
The demolition of the Engine House’s Steam exhibition and underlying steam infrastructure will destroy the live steam engine demonstration experience enjoyed by generations of Australians. In this era of re-use and sustainability, rebuilding the steam infrastructure makes no economic sense, and there are certainly less intrusive and destructive ways to adapt and re-use the Powerhouse Museum.
Furthermore, apart from 3 objects, museum management has refused to confirm how much of the existing exhibitions will be kept post-renovation. Combined with the estimated 75% reduction in exhibition space, extensive internal demolition of ramps, mezzanines, and the Wran building’s grand galleria windows, it appears not only could the Powerhouse’s buildings be under threat, but also NSW’s state significant heritage of the Powerhouse’s collection and exhibits.
While the current State Significant Development process may not require approval for museum programming, the Department may want to rethink it considering the current trajectory of the Powerhouse revitalisation proposal: it could be a State Significant Development for the wrong reasons.
Ashleigh Berdebes
Object
FOREST LODGE , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to the Powerhouse revitalisation plans.

Despite prior State Significant Development planning decisions allowing “programming of museum spaces…not [being] a matter requiring approval”, the Department of Planning should reconsider this policy. The success of a museum depends on both its exterior and site planning as well as its internal and exhibition planning, particularly if proposed plans drastically reduce exhibition space by 75%!

The demolition of the Engine House’s Steam exhibition and underlying steam infrastructure will destroy the live steam engine demonstration experience enjoyed by generations of Australians. In this era of re-use and sustainability, rebuilding the steam infrastructure makes no economic sense, and there are certainly less intrusive and destructive ways to adapt and re-use the Powerhouse Museum.

Furthermore, apart from 3 objects, museum management has refused to confirm how much of the existing exhibitions will be kept post-renovation. Combined with the estimated 75% reduction in exhibition space, extensive internal demolition of ramps, mezzanines, and the Wran building’s grand galleria windows, it appears not only could the Powerhouse’s buildings be under threat, but also NSW’s state significant heritage of the Powerhouse’s collection and exhibits.

While the current State Significant Development process may not require approval for museum programming, the Department may want to rethink it considering the current trajectory of the Powerhouse revitalisation proposal: it could be a State Significant Development for the wrong reasons.
Ian Nicol
Comment
NARRAWEENA , New South Wales
Message
I have become aware of the Sun Herald (26 May 2024) full page notice from the Powerhouse Museum Alliance, advising that for an expenditure of $350 millon, the Powerhouse Museum's 25 exhibition spaces will be reduced to three and 75% smaller, collections evicted, only three large objects left in the exhibition galleries.
If this is correct or mostly correct then I VEHEMENTLY OPPOSE THE WORK AS DESCRIBED BY THE POWERHOUSE ALLIANCE'S NEWSPAPER NOTICE AND THE EXPENDITURE OF ANYTHING LIKE $350 MILLION.
Please do maintenance and repairs and do not evict any of the collections.
THOMAS LOCKLEY
Object
PYRMONT , New South Wales
Message
My submission is attached as a .pdf file.
Attachments
Kylie Winkworth
Object
NEWTOWN , New South Wales
Message
Kylie Winkworth objects to the Demolition of the Powerhouse Museum. AGAIN
Attachments
Powerhouse Museum Alliance
Object
NEWTOWN , New South Wales
Message
The Powerhouse Museum Alliance Objects to the Powerhouse Ultimo SSD
Attachments
David Payne
Object
GLENBROOK , New South Wales
Message
The proposed Minn’s Government “Revitalisation” project would reduce the GFA to 15,843m2 (-63%) and the number of exhibition spaces to only 4 (see comment below) for a total of 6,000m2 (-72%).
What’s more, the proposed Space 3 is not an exhibition space but a theatre, reducing the number of exhibition spaces to 3 for a total of 5,100m2 (less than a quarter of the original area!).
If approved, this project will be a cultural catastrophe for Sydney and NSW. The substantial demolition of an historic cultural institution and the wastage of its state-of-the-art facilities that are only 35 years old are unparalleled anywhere in the civilised world. The museum word and all its collections and education functions are going. It is shocking that these plans are advanced by the Minns Labor government that made explicit promises to save the PHM, keep the museum open and protect the Wran building. Instead they are betraying the public interest and trashing generations of taxpayers’ investment…to turn a heritage museum into another contemporary arts centre.
Name Withheld
Object
Yarrawarrah , New South Wales
Message
The destruction of the contents of the museum would be a tragedy for its historical importance. The building itself is of historical significance and its destruction would be to diminish the area. The Powerhouse Museum should be revitalised not redeveloped.
Cassandra Sargeant
Comment
GLEBE , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to the Powerhouse revitalisation plans. Despite prior State Significant Development planning decisions allowing “programming of museum spaces…not [being] a matter requiring approval”, the Department of Planning should reconsider this policy. The success of a museum depends on both its exterior and site planning as well as its internal and exhibition planning, particularly if proposed plans drastically reduce exhibition space by 75%!

The demolition of the Engine House’s Steam exhibition and underlying steam infrastructure will destroy the live steam engine demonstration experience enjoyed by generations of Australians. In this era of re-use and sustainability, rebuilding the steam infrastructure makes no economic sense, and there are certainly less intrusive and destructive ways to adapt and re-use the Powerhouse Museum.

Furthermore, apart from 3 objects, museum management has refused to confirm how much of the existing exhibitions will be kept post-renovation. Combined with the estimated 75% reduction in exhibition space, extensive internal demolition of ramps, mezzanines, and the Wran building’s grand galleria windows, it appears not only could the Powerhouse’s buildings be under threat, but also NSW’s state significant heritage of the Powerhouse’s collection and exhibits.

While the current State Significant Development process may not require approval for museum programming, the Department may want to rethink it considering the current trajectory of the Powerhouse revitalisation proposal: it could be a State Significant Development for the wrong reasons.
Name Withheld
Comment
HUNTERS HILL , New South Wales
Message
I somewhat object to the Powerhouse revitalisation plans. Despite prior State Significant Development planning decisions allowing “programming of museum spaces…not [being] a matter requiring approval”, the Department of Planning should reconsider this policy. The success of a museum depends on both its exterior and site planning as well as its internal and exhibition planning, particularly if proposed plans drastically reduce exhibition space by 75%!

The demolition of the Engine House’s Steam exhibition and underlying steam infrastructure will destroy the live steam engine demonstration experience enjoyed by generations of Australians. In this era of re-use and sustainability, rebuilding the steam infrastructure makes no economic sense, and there are certainly less intrusive and destructive ways to adapt and re-use the Powerhouse Museum.

Furthermore, apart from 3 objects, museum management has refused to confirm how much of the existing exhibitions will be kept post-renovation. Combined with the estimated 75% reduction in exhibition space, extensive internal demolition of ramps, mezzanines, and the Wran building’s grand galleria windows, it appears not only could the Powerhouse’s buildings be under threat, but also NSW’s state significant heritage of the Powerhouse’s collection and exhibits.

While the current State Significant Development process may not require approval for museum programming, the Department may want to rethink it considering the current trajectory of the Powerhouse revitalisation proposal: it could be a State Significant Development for the wrong reasons.
Design 5 - Architects Pty Ltd
Object
ENMORE , New South Wales
Message
Our submission, objecting to the SSD proposal is attached
Attachments
Annie Wale
Object
Balmain , New South Wales
Message
I cannot believe that after so much public antipathy to the so called 'revitalisation', so many name on petitions, demonstrations and rallies on site, solid arguments from MPs on behalf of the public and the obvious groundswell of opposition to destroying what we have in these 25 exhibition spaces, that this is set to proceed.
The public are to be billed $250 million for needless destruction of heritage infrastructure, to be replaced by just 3 workable spaces, one a small theatre. Where is the collection access and functionality of a working museum, let alone respect for the Sulman award winning heritage adaptation launched with great pride in 1988, for which I was present as a Museum professional.
It has been horrifying to see its exhibitions atrophy in recent years and thereby visitation drop, in a cynical exercise to justify its closure.

The Labour Government promised the Powerhouse would be saved; a rally outside the building was where I first met Tanya Plibersek, who was passionate then about the cause. This is the greatest disappointment, that my party of choice is behaving like a common vandal, probably in the name of profit rather than cultural access for the people of NSW.

Please reopen and keep the Powerhouse as it is, acclaimed and treasured by the overwhelming majority of the public.
Name Withheld
Object
Eltham North , Victoria
Message
Having seen some of the plans outlined, it is unclear what the vision or intent is for this revitalisation project. This site is home to many historic and delicate installations and artifacts (such as an F1 Apollo rocket engine and working Boulton and Watts steam engine), and this plan does not sufficiently clarify what will be done with these artifacts, which are a major attraction for those visiting the space. Unless more details are elucidated pertaining to the overall goal of this project, it should not go forward.
Name Withheld
Support
Redfern , New South Wales
Message
I’m a member of the Creative Residencies Program at the Powerhouse Museum.

I’m supportive of what I understand to be plans to make the Powerhouse Museum more accessible by foot, and to make the space more versatile in order to host a greater range of gatherings and people. During the time I’ve been a resident at the Powerhouse I’ve most enjoyed getting to know and seeing the work of the Powerhouse community. I think it’s important for local people and the wider Sydney community to have spaces to gather, experience culture and connect.

I would love to see space made available for the Residency program to continue. It’s really great to see a state funded organisation such as the Museum create space for creative workers to produce work and form networks. This kind of space is really vital for a thriving arts community and I believe this support is returned to the state economy through career and sector development and opportunities for innovation.

I would also really like to see the new green spaces be made up of native plants and bush foods local to this area, with a goal of rehabilitating small habitats for native insects, birds and animals. Indigenous plants would provide a great opportunity for people to learn more about the Country they are on when visiting the Powerhouse.

Thank you.
Name Withheld
Object
WOOLLAHRA , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to the Powerhouse revitalisation plans. Despite prior State Significant Development planning decisions allowing “programming of museum spaces…not [being] a matter requiring approval”, the Department of Planning should reconsider this policy. The success of a museum depends on both its exterior and site planning as well as its internal and exhibition planning, particularly if proposed plans drastically reduce exhibition space by 75%!
The demolition of the Engine House’s Steam exhibition and underlying steam infrastructure will destroy the live steam engine demonstration experience enjoyed by generations of Australians. In this era of re-use and sustainability, rebuilding the steam infrastructure makes no economic sense, and there are certainly less intrusive and destructive ways to adapt and re-use the Powerhouse Museum.
Furthermore, apart from 3 objects, museum management has refused to confirm how much of the existing exhibitions will be kept post-renovation. Combined with the estimated 75% reduction in exhibition space, extensive internal demolition of ramps, mezzanines, and the Wran building’s grand galleria windows, it appears not only could the Powerhouse’s buildings be under threat, but also NSW’s state significant heritage of the Powerhouse’s collection and exhibits.
While the current State Significant Development process may not require approval for museum programming, the Department may want to rethink it considering the current trajectory of the Powerhouse revitalisation proposal: it could be a State Significant Development for the wrong reasons.
Name Withheld
Object
FAIRFIELD HEIGHTS , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to the Powerhouse revitalisation plans. Despite prior State Significant Development planning decisions allowing “programming of museum spaces…not [being] a matter requiring approval”, the Department of Planning should reconsider this policy. The success of a museum depends on both its exterior and site planning as well as its internal and exhibition planning, particularly if proposed plans drastically reduce exhibition space by 75%!

The demolition of the Engine House’s Steam exhibition and underlying steam infrastructure will destroy the live steam engine demonstration experience enjoyed by generations of Australians. In this era of re-use and sustainability, rebuilding the steam infrastructure makes no economic sense, and there are certainly less intrusive and destructive ways to adapt and re-use the Powerhouse Museum.

Furthermore, apart from 3 objects, museum management has refused to confirm how much of the existing exhibitions will be kept post-renovation. Combined with the estimated 75% reduction in exhibition space, extensive internal demolition of ramps, mezzanines, and the Wran building’s grand galleria windows, it appears not only could the Powerhouse’s buildings be under threat, but also NSW’s state significant heritage of the Powerhouse’s collection and exhibits.

While the current State Significant Development process may not require approval for museum programming, the Department may want to rethink it considering the current trajectory of the Powerhouse revitalisation proposal: it could be a State Significant Development for the wrong reasons.

Pagination

Project Details

Application Number
SSD-67588459
Assessment Type
State Significant Development
Development Type
Museum, Gardens & Zoos
Local Government Areas
City of Sydney

Contact Planner

Name
Jennie Yuan