Monday, August 26, 2013

Millers Point/Barangaroo

Millers Point is in the news again, with an excellent article by Tim Barlass in the Sun-Herald that focuses on the residents of Millers Point, and some political and historical context by Evan Jones at New Matilda.

(Millers Point resident Robert Goodsell, 94. You'd like to think that he shouldn't have to worry about being evicted. Photo from the Sun-Herald.)

Not yet in the news is the outcome of the social impact assessment that was conducted recently for NSW Land and Housing Corporation, as part of the NSW State Government's review, announced in October last year, of its continuing ownership of the Millers Point properties. 
We understand that a draft report is with LAHC. The stated intention of the SIA consultant was that the drafted report should be made public, for discussion and feedback, before the final report goes in to LAHC. We look forward with interest to seeing the draft.

In the meantime, we might look over the boundary of Millers Point to Barangaroo, previously the wharves of east Darling Harbour, now being redeveloped into a glittering citadel of various land uses: commercial, cultural, residential, open space, and gambling.
There's no necessary connection between the development of Barangaroo and the review of properties at Millers Point: they're separate sites, and nothing needs to happen at Millers Point in order for any part of the development of Barangaroo to proceed (equally, if nothing was happening at Barangaroo, the Government might still be reviewing Millers Point).
But when people think about one, they often think about the other. So do we – in a critical way.

We're thinking particularly about the monumental, billion-dollar, international higher-roller casino proposed by James Packer's Crown Group for the middle section of Barangaroo, on land originally intended to be open space. You can see it, in the form that won Crown's design competition, below; it's the tallest of the towers in the image.

In design terms, the Brown Couch prefers one of the runners-up:

The runner-up is at least honest: it looks like nothing so much as a mugger's knife. What to make of the subtly turning forms of the winner? The twisting of a forearm?

But it's not the way the casino is to look that bugs us most. Rather, it's the depressing thought that we, as a society, have arranged our affairs such that we can marshal the huge resources – the machines, the labour, the steel, glass, concrete, electronics and myriad other elements – to build such a thing, for the purpose of attracting, from half a world away and conveyed here by yet more steel and glass and electronics and the combustion of thousands of tonnes of fossil fuels, a select few persons who will do nothing more than sit at tables and flip over little bits of cardboard and push around little pieces of plastic.  

But we can't organise things so that some marvelous old buildings can be properly repaired and maintained, and kept available for the community that has lived in them for years and, into the future, for newcomers – perhaps including in the mix working people who service the buildings and businesses of the city.

Or can we?


  1. no government would be heartless enough to evict a 94 year old man - would they?

  2. There are a couple of key points the media has missed on this one. Firstly, no one should be surprised by the casino or any other corrupt decision, as these decisions are born out of a corrupt process.. So the real issue with Barangaroo is not the casino, it is the Barangaroo development itself.

    The original concept plan for Barangaroo was awarded to Phillip Thallis's team by an international panel. Paul Keating unilaterally overturned this decision and instead awarded the concept plan to Lend Lease, who are also the developers. Overnight public access was lost, and floor space increased by 50%. The head of the Government's Barangaroo Authority is an ex Lend Lease man.

    Regarding Millers Point, the Government has had this suburb in its site for over a century. Plans for the current sell off were put into place over 10 years ago when properties in the area were allowed to run down. This is gentrification on a grand scale. The Rocks has already been lost, Walsh Bay has been redeveloped, and now Barangaroo. Millers Point is like a shag on a rock.

    Unfortunately the much vaunted Green Bans were in effect a failure. The purpose of the Green Bans was not to keep the heritage buildings, it was to save a working class community. However, very, very few original residents still live in The Rocks. Under the so called 'people's plan' the residents who fought to stay in The Rocks were moved into the Sirius Building and their terraces and town houses were handed over to tenants who live outside of the area. Due to over development much of the heritage has been lost.

  3. Why should workers have to pay high taxes for bludgers to sit all day in their harbour homes. They should be for private housing people who will take care of them. Emergency workers, Doctors, Nurses, Laywers etc. These people do not appreciate the taxpayer pays their way.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anonymous - if ever we needed a reminder of how important our work is!

    2. Anonymous Youdon't seem to realise that working people of Millers point do work in this city they are the posties council workers, handy men taxi drivers office workers bar staff theatre people these are the people that live here and why do they live here ? because its close to work and services the workers To have them evicted because of corrupt deals with big business developers is wrong and not in the long term in interest of the Public Did you know there is a white Paper that is looking into the sale of Hyde park! right now apparently its worth 18million as it is now but if its sold to developers they could get 300million for the land ? this is just another asset grab from the public purse

  4. All you people that complain about Bangaroo why didn't you buy the property and do it your way. No one will be evicted they will be put into taxpayer funded houses. I would never go to a Casino but does that mean no one else should. Good luck to James and his money at least he does something and does not sit back for others to do it for him. He works for his money let him do as he pleases. Some of those tenants have wrecked their properties and it is an absolute disgrace they have turned them into slums. I notice some people get very bitter when people have money. You must remember they work for it.

    1. Slums!

      Perhaps you should pop on over and have a read of the posts in the 'SCSSHBCDAC' series, Anonymous?

      Fair dinkum!

  5. @Anon (7 March)

    You obviously don't know Millers Point. Plenty of people there have worked hard; plenty have also gone above and beyond in caring for their homes.

    As for tax-subsidised bludgers in harbour homes... the real ones aren't in public housing.


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