Residents of Pyrmont and Ultimo are shocked to learn that the State government proposes to sell the Powerhouse building in Harris Street, and transfer the contents of the Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences to Parramatta.
The decision was announced in the government’s Arts and Cultural Policy Framework, a document that proposes a general policy for museums and galleries. But why was the Powerhouse selected for closure? The document does not explain. Unlike most other cultural institutions in Sydney, the Powerhouse is suburban, not central. For more than a century it acquired many artefacts from the industries and people of Ultimo and Pyrmont. It has also created social links with the people here. The removal of these objects and links will destroy much of the significance of the collection.
Equally important, the sale would rule out the site for any public or community purpose. The peninsula is the most densely populated precinct in NSW. With the sale of the Wakil properties, the peninsula must support more high-rise residential development. The few remaining sites in public ownership should surely not be alienated, especially while there is no overall plan for public facilities in general.
Download the petition to keep the Powerhouse in Ultimo.