Hands off our assets – history matters in Parramatta. Take a tour

NPUR Our future needs our pastSupport for the public rally in North Parramatta next Saturday, February 21, is growing steadily. Residents have been out letter boxing, talking to the media and contacting political representatives and candidates. Although the recently formed North Parramatta Residents’ Action Group is a non-political community organisation, members are disappointed that so far, neither the Liberal state MP, Dr Geoff Lee, nor any representative of the coalition government has accepted an invitation to attend. Geoff Lee played a prominent role in promoting his government’s plans for North Parramatta Urban Renewal and in opening community consultations. Above, a young resident’s T shirt says it all –  Hands off our assets – history matters in Parramatta. Our future needs our past.

The purpose of the meeting is to request the Minister for Planning, Pru Goward, to place the planning process on hold for at least six months. More time is needed to address the site’s national significance, draw it to public attention and engage many more community members in contributing and responding to plans. The site has been largely hidden from public view for the last 200 years, because it was the site of incarceration and punishment of women and children from the earliest days of the colony, and later a lunatic asylum. Some of the buildings on the site date from the 1820s, with remnants of some by the first government architect, convict Francis Greenway.

NPUR - proposed redevelopmentThere are two main parts to the event in the Lions Club Hall, starting at 1pm, 42A Ross St, North Parramatta. The first is the presentation of information at stations in the hall:

  • Hands off our Assets – Parramatta War Memorial Swimming Pool, loss of public land/parkland
  • Press Pause – Reopen consultation and why
  • The Heritage site and World Heritage Listing relevance
  • Infrastructure/traffic issues/impact on locals
  • A virtual tour of site and proposal, left

The second is a series of speakers beginning with former NSW Premier and minister for the arts, Nathan Rees, and including former “Parramatta girl” and leading advocate for the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, Bonney Djuric. The media will be present and a sausage sizzle available. Don’t be deterred if it’s raining – just bring an umbrella.

Parramatta Female Factory - c1826 - Augustus EarleOn the following Saturday, February 28, at 3pm, you have the opportunity to tour through the Parramattta Female Factory Precinct with local historian, Judith Dunn OAM. This will be followed by a barbecue and refreshments in Parramatta Park. You need to be aware that it is also a fundraising event for the local branch of the ALP, but if you are interested, phone 0412 687 547, email reedav@optus.net.au, or click here for bookings and more detail. Above, Parramatta Female Factory, circa 1826, by Augustus Earle, as published on the promotional flyer.

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