‘Powerhouse Trash’ Jennifer Sanders 11 Dec 2022

‘Powerhouse Trash’
Jennifer Sanders. 11 December, 2022
In case you missed it in yesterday’s SMH (10 December, 2022), described and illustrated HERE: PHM Trust dinner Dec2022 is the Powerhouse Trust’s Annual Dinner that reads like the last days of the Roman Empire. Added to this disgraceful event, the latest Annual Report shows that attendances have plummeted – a staggering decrease of 77.7% over 2019 – 2022 at the ‘no longer called a museum but now called Powerhouse’ as the management ignores its core audiences. There has been a staggering decrease of 77.7% over 2019 – 2022 – the lowest figures since 1960.

The Powerhouse Ultimo Project Renewal Project is a wasteful $500m lie. It is a scheme for the destruction of this world renowned Museum much loved by families from across NSW. The Premier’s promise on 4 July 2020 that the Museum would be renewed was a hollow promise.

The Museum is being disappeared – never to be seen again – not in Ultimo, not in Parramatta on the flood prone riverbank, not in Castle Hill in the inaccessible collection store and definitely not in Ultimo, its home since 1893. It is being replaced by yet another contemporary arts precinct – a 24-hour fun-fair with commercial opportunities aplenty.

Just like the trashy gold ceramic plates with lewd and insulting messages used at the Powerhouse Trust’s annual dinner last week, this scheme is the trashing of the Real Powerhouse Museum. The $18,000 Lemon plates  are an insult to the Museum, which has a magnificent ceramics collection, as is the $500m scheme to destroy our heritage  – the people’s Powerhouse Museum.

A report commissioned by the Heritage Council in February 2022, Architectural Heritage of the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century, (Report (Version 3.1) to Heritage Council of NSW & Heritage NSW by Robertson & Hindmarsh Pty Ltd, Architects, 13 February 2022), concluded that the Sulman award winning Powerhouse Museum was one of 33 places from across NSW ‘likely to be of State Heritage Significance’. Details have been suppressed lest the populace realise yet more of the State’s heritage is being destroyed – and that the taxpayer is paying for the destruction.
For the report, search: Digital Heritage Library (with other similar publications) HERE.
And for Direct access, go to HERE and HERE.  

So much for the Museum’s Sulman Award – and the rest of its awards for architecture, design, museology, audience engagement etc.
So much for the Museum’s adaptive reuse of the Ultimo Power House/Ultimo Tram Depot site resulting in the world renowned Powerhouse Museum – only 34 years old.
So much for context – the Museum’s Ultimo scale and fit with Ken Woolley’s ABC and Harry Seidler’s Ian Thorpe pool and, its reinforcement of the primacy of the Harris St Pyrmont peninsula spine.
This scheme is unnecessary, wasteful upheaval and demolition when the Premier announced that the Museum would be retained and ‘renovated’. The Museum can be renewed for half the $500m cost of this destructive scheme which is a slap in the face for responsible custodianship of NSW’s built and movable heritage.
Nuh! says the Government and the Museum’s Trust – let’s smash it down. Maintenance has been delayed for years and the substandard Curio CMP ignores the Powerhouse Museum’s groundbreaking achievements as an integrated architectural and museum project winning international acclaim – over 22 million visitors since opening in 1988.
We are in the hands of philistines who have no cultural values but pursue only their personal predilections and shallow ephemeral experiences – sod off the taxpaying public – especially the Museum’s longstanding family and education audiences.
Who would have thought that the government – one with so-called Liberal values – would destroy one of the State’s foundational cultural institutions – the 142 year Powerhouse Museum which is the legacy of the Father of Federation, Sir Henry Parkes and which belongs to the people of NSW – NOT the government of the day.

Please write a short sharp letter to the Premier objecting to the destruction of the Powerhouse Museum – address below. Please send this on to others to write and register their objection to the Government’s scheme to destroy the Museum.
Dominic Perrottet MP: As Premier Phone 02-85745000, and open Contact information HERE.
As Member for Epping: Phone (02) 9877 0266, and  email at: epping@parliament.nsw.gov.au

We are expecting the imminent announcement of the ‘winning design’ which we understand is essentially to make 4 big volumes in the Ultimo Power House and demolish all the Museum structures. It is rumoured that there is to be a lyric theatre on the site. The Harwood Building is likely to mostly occupied by UTS Fashion programs. The collection and curators – the genuine ones –  conservators, registrars will be all at Castle Hill from April. It is the end of the Powerhouse Museum unless the people speak up strongly – to the Premier and, to your local member whatever their political allegiance. The election is March 25 but we must object strongly ASAP.