Grant Goldman editorial 8 August 2017

Sydney’s ‘Powerhouse Museum’ and our fast disappearing heritage.

Part 1

Officially named as the museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, is the affectionately known Sydney Powerhouse Museum; which since 1988 has happily occupied the site from which it has been dubbed the Powerhouse; an historic 1902 converted electric tram power station in the Inner West Sydney suburb of Ultimo. Another branch of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences is located in the nearby Sydney Observatory. The museum’s main Ultimo site houses a diverse collection of technology encompassing decorative arts, science, communication, transport, costume, furniture, media, computer technology as well as planes, a flying-boat, locomotives, carriages and steam engines. A phenomena Sydney residents’ might need to revisit should energy prices continue on their existing skyrocketing trajectory.

However, your NSW State Government’s ridiculous apparent final decision is for an outrageously costly complete removal our historic powerhouse Museum to Parramatta. Curiously, on the tenth of July, just less than a month ago the Premier ordered her Coalition parliamentary colleagues to embark on a door knocking blitz of their electorates. Government members were expected to have already visited three hundred constituents each.

Here’s a question. ‘Precisely how many home visits by parliamentarians ended with the following phrase? “I have already told you about my difficulties paying rent, the strain endured attempting to meet my exponentially climbing energy bills and my desperate inability to settle overdue school fees BUT here’s what I really want you to firstly consider and although I may be starving you really must urgently BANISH the wretched Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta’.

The common-sense approach would be to for government to leave things as they are because more pressing struggles by constituents need be afforded priority. The cause the save the powerhouse’s current Ultimo site from vested interests cannot be helped by the numerous subjective articles penned within the past twelve months by the Daily Telegraph’s Western Australian oriented state political reporter who has embarked on a seemingly relentless press campaign to expel the museum from its Ultimo home under the ambiguous guise of somehow wanting to assist Parramatta.

Until recently it appeared that a partial removal compromise option was under serious contemplation since a petition from ten thousand people and supported by prominent community organisations emerged to preserve the Ultimo museum. Nevertheless, one cannot ignore the Telegraph’s weighty contribution to a powerhouse museum usurping exercise given that the Premier is presently supporting the museum’s Parramatta exile. Will the Telegraph or their activist correspondent be burdened with the nearly one billion dollar price tag for such a complicated rebuilding, removal and transfer process?

Known benefits in retaining the current home for the Powerhouse include handy access to students, a supporting function for local universities, an uncomplicated travel route for rural visitors who utilise nearby rail links, popularity with foreign tourists staying in Sydney and proximity to Darling Harbour’s magnetic epicentre.

Outstandingly, before mentioning the massive savings earned by retaining the museum’s unblemished role at Ultimo; we pay tribute to a purpose built historic edifice and demand its ongoing tenure, thereby enabling the everlasting incorporation of huge precious items which would otherwise risk serious damage during any bizarre Powerhouse upheaval and transplantation to remote Parramatta.

To be continued………….

What he said.

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