Millers Point residents oppose sale of Sirius apartments

November 7, 2014
SOS (Save Our Sirius) banner on the Sirius apartment building. Photo: Save Our Homes - Millers Point/FB

Residents of Millers Point public housing are supporting the campaign to stop the sell-off and possible demolition of the iconic Sirius apartments in the nearby suburb of The Rocks. The Save Our Sirius (SOS) campaign was launched on November 2 with an open day at the Sirius apartments building.

The Sirius apartments were designed by Tao Gofers in 1975 for the NSW Housing Commission. Sitting beside the southern approaches to the Harbour Bridge, the apartments look out to Circular Quay and the Opera House.

The Sirius apartments are public accommodation purpose-built for elderly and disabled residents. The National Trust has listed Sirius for its architectural and social significance.

The SOS exhibition includes the original plans for Sirius, archival material from the time it was built and stories about its residents.

The SOS campaign notes that: “It seems the [NSW Coalition] government is planning to sell these properties to developers who will demolish them, and most traces of a maritime community that has a continuous history stretching back to the beginning of European settlement will be gone.”

The NSW government is trying to push ahead with its plans to sell nearly 300 public housing residences in Millers Point, despite a strong campaign of opposition from tenants and their supporters.

The Friends of Millers Point group has been established to fight the government’s proposals. It began its fight by showing Pat Fiske's famous film, Rocking the Foundations, about the NSW Builders Labourers Federation's Green Bans, which saved The Rocks from developers back in the 1970s.

In a further move, any buyers of former public housing properties at Millers Point could be banned from adding new rooms or extra stories under planning changes proposed by the Sydney City Council to protect the heritage-listed homes, the October 27 Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The changes could restrict the renovation plans of new private owners and slash sale prices for the NSW government. The government has netted about $15 million from the six homes sold so far.

The proposal could cause a clash between the council and the state government, which needs to approve any council planning changes. It represents another round in the battle to save Millers Point from the government's sell-off push.

[An exhibition accompanying the Open Day is online at Millers Point Community.]

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