Bulletin 67 (and last!)

Campaign to Save the Powerhouse

Responsibility for facts stated is taken by Tom Lockley, PO Box 301, Pyrmont  tomlockley@gmail.com

8 November 2021.

The main aim of this bulletin is formally to record the deficiencies of process that have occurred throughout the almost seven years since on 26 November 2014, when the then Premier announced the project to ‘move’ the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo to Parramatta.

Alternatives were never properly investigated. No significant input from museum experts was involved in the initial planning and, indeed, there has been insignificant involvement of such people during the whole development period. There has never been consultation on basic issues with any significant stakeholders – even the museum trustees first learnt of the ‘move’ by reading the newspapers. These deficiencies have persisted over the nearly seven years since the basic announcement. The Government has imposed excessive secrecy and taken special non-democratic measures to avoid following due process. The opposition to the project expressed by the general public and the museum and arts community is unprecedented. However, their reasoned, evidence-based criticisms and the comprehensive Legislative Council Inquiry report have been treated with contempt. The financial aspects of the project have been very badly managed, and the waste of taxpayers’ money is enormous. The heritage aspects of the whole move are relevant here: the destruction of the magnificent Ultimo buildings would have been an act of vandalism, but even the monetary value of heritage has been completely overlooked during the whole process. Though the initial plans have been modified and the situation has improved, the autocratic decision-making process persists.

The overwhelming consensus of expert opinion is that the best possible outcome for the project will be expenditure of around one and a half thousand million dollars to achieve considerable degradation of the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo, the erection of an establishment at Parramatta that cannot be considered as a world class museum, and a degradation of Australian and world heritage.

The following items are attached.

1.       Our final fact sheet. It is intended to be the distribution copy and is circulated for final checking. It concentrates on the process by which the ‘move’ project has evolved.

2.       Evidence for the facts stated. As usual, any Government comment will be acknowledged and the relevant information circulated. Apart from this, the investigatory process that has been recorded by these bulletins is complete. Again, it is circulated for final checking. Please report any errors immediately, and suggestions and additional comments are, as always, welcomed.

3.       A message to the nearly two hundred people that have supported the production of these bulletins etc over the years. We must not give up the fight to work towards a reasoned outcome to the Government’s aim, and avenues to do this are explored.

4.       And the now almost traditional ‘for the tragics’ section: a current list of some of the major unanswered questions. These are sample matters that should be in the public domain, and we ask for the release of answers so we can pass a more informed judgement on the decisions made by the Government during the whole ‘move’ process.

(For various reasons, this will be the last bulletin put together from the information amassed  among this email group, beginning in early 2016. At that time we produced our first booklet, on the heritage of the Powerhouse Museum precinct. This was circulated among state MPs and other interested people, and over the years two more booklets have followed. A number of fact sheets were also circulated. The main subject has been deficiencies of process in the NSW Government’s intention to move the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo to Parramatta. There has been considerable  improvement in the plan since the then Premier announced on 26 November 2014 that the Ultimo museum would be demolished and the site used for ‘urban renewal’, but the evidence we have accrued demonstrates that this whole process remains deeply flawed and lacking in democratic process).

Most of this material is familiar to the general readers of these bulletins, but to the wonderful supporters that have maintained their interest over the years, please read attachment 3.

tomlockley@gmail.com , 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/ 


Tom Lockley

0403 615 134....