Around 100 people unanimously voted in a resolution to create a campaign to preserve the Powerhouse Museum site in Ultimo last Friday night at a “Fight for the Powerhouse” forum.
The event acted as the community’s response to Premier Mike Baird’s announcement last month that the government would sell the current Powerhouse Museum site to apartment developers, moving the museum to Parramatta in order to better develop the arts and culture sector of western Sydney. The public was invited to express their concerns over the sale, while a panel of notable community members against the relocation worked to design a plan to save the building.
The panel included Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker, historian Shirley Fitzgerald, City Hub publisher and president of the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce Lawrence Gibbons and Keith Johnson from Pyrmont.
Community members and panelists repeatedly demonstrated concerns that moving the Powerhouse would result in a destruction of history unique to the Ultimo area. Speakers also referred to evidence that the central-Sydney location of the museum attracts more interstate and international visitors, who may not be willing to travel to Parramatta for the same experience.
After an hour long debate, Mr Parker brought forth the first resolution, which was agreed upon by all attendees.
“That this meeting at Ultimo Community Centre opposes the sale of the Powerhouse Museum site and supports the extension of cultural facilities in western Sydney. That we call on the Premier to reverse his decision and to retain the Powerhouse for local and international visitation. That we request the Ultimo Village Voice and Friends of Ultimo to commit a working party to coordinate the campaigns to save and reinvigorate the Powerhouse,” the resolution reads.
In early March, Mr Parker also created an online petition against the relocation, which has now reached almost 15000 signatures. At the forum, Independent candidate for Sydney Alex Greenwich announced a new petition to move the issue in front of Parliament, which he hopes to consolidate with Mr Parker’s list to ensure a larger impact after each have garnered enough community support.