Bulletin 48: Powerhouse – be aware and alarmed

And of course the main immediate cause for alarm is not re the Powerhouse, and we all hope that all may eventually be well, with thoughts, best wishes and empathy for those seriously involved.

However, despite the current situation, or because of the need for some good news, one hopes for a post-Harwin change of policy re the destruction of the Powerhouse Museum, but in case this does not happen, here is some recent news, related to the pernicious virus.

I emailed Ms Havilah asking for an assurance that no work would be done on demolishing the Powerhouse during the Coronavirus crisis and pending the heritage assessment consultation process, the Pyrmont-Ultimo development plan consultation, the Parramatta site EIS consultation and the new Upper House Inquiry.

A new round of ‘consultations’ is also being undertaken by Ms Havilah, CEO of the Museum ‘move’, with the help of Ms Kylie Cochrane of the PR firm Aurecon and Mr Tom Kennedy of Infrastructure NSW. Tom Kennedy is a prime mover in the destruction of the Sydney Football Stadium before the last election. Eighteen months later it remains a wasteland.

On 4 April I was invited to take part in a ‘Zoom’ discussion with these people and it went as per the first attachment. I got no assurance that there would be a delay on the destruction of the Powerhouse. More worryingly at a similar discussion on 7 April with Parramatta people Mr Kennedy stated that the erection of the new museum at Parramatta would be a project ready for commencement as soon as the current crisis was over – see second attachment.

I remain terrified that the Government will use the present crisis to begin the demolition of the Ultimo museum while everyone is in lockdown. June 30 is a crucial date, forecast for the basic closure of much of the museum, and so far this has not been altered.

So the purpose of this bulletin is to ask everyone to take any action you can to register your views.


That is the vital part … the rest is information will be of interest if you have time.

It is important to note that when asked if her new consultation would be the usual travesty where the decisions had already been made, Ms Havilah said that she was committed to getting the best outcome for all concerned and that the project had not been ‘determined’ (ie it was still under investigation and subject to discussion which was in its ‘early stages’.) Frankly I do not believe it: the current survey being conducted at http://www.infrastructure.nsw.gov.au/projects-nsw/new-powerhouse-museum-in-parramatta/ assumes that the ‘move’ will go ahead – see the third attachment. But we will use her statement as much as possible.

A new Inquiry into Museums, notably concerning the Powerhouse affair, is in train. Submissions are due on May 3. See more information on attachment 4, including a information about a detailed questionnaire, which is rather difficult to follow, so I did write the questions out separately because I kept on forgetting what I had previously written and this is included in the attachment. It may help others when filling in the form which may fill in a Covid seclusion hour or two.


Attachment 5 is some ‘correspondence out’: submission re heritage assessment, correction of statement from Ms Havilah re display spaces at Ultimo, request for information re the 6 independent investigations carried out since 2017 by Infrastructure NSW into the proposed ‘move.

And you can also take part in another alleged consultation, this time on the Pyrmont / Ultimo area from https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Plans-for-your-area/Priority-Growth-Areas-and-Precincts/Pyrmont-Peninsula . In the small print it says that the matter of the Powerhouse Museum cannot be discussed, but surely this can be overridden.

Many other things on https://powerhousemuseumalliance.com/ are well worth reading, notably https://powerhousemuseumalliancedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/pma-statement-on-consultation-7-april-2020.pdf . Also, of course, the Save the Powerhouse facebook page is always great reading.

So if you are locked in to Covidvirus seclusion there is plenty that can be done.

Thanks for reading this far… and thanks to the many correspondents who have provided material and thoughts. Please send a separate email, do not use the ‘reply’ button.



tomlockley@gmail.com , 0403 615 134, PO Box 301 Pyrmont 2009
tomlockley@gmail.com is the best method of communication)

Australia’s major museum of arts and sciences in Sydney’s most evocative heritage building. For more information
https://powerhousemuseumalliance.com/  See also: https://www.facebook.com/savepowerhousemuseum/  https://www.facebook.com/savethepowerhouse/ http://lockoweb.com/phm/

The business case is online at the private website http://maasbusinesscase.com/