Log in

Forgot your password?
You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Built Environment Plan Phase 1 - The State Significant Sites / Australian Technology Park / Locomotive Workshop Redevelopment / REDWatch comments on Stage 2 Heritage Interpretation Plan for the Locomotive Workshops SSD 8517 and SSD 8449

REDWatch comments on Stage 2 Heritage Interpretation Plan for the Locomotive Workshops SSD 8517 and SSD 8449

THis is the submission made by REDWatch on the Stage 2 Heritage Interpretation Plan for the Locomotive Workshops SSD 8517 and SSD 8449.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the above draft. We expected that the consent conditions B33, that the plan be prepared in consultation with groups like ours before it was submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment, would have meant we had this opportunity earlier.

We did not consider the earlier consultation and the lack of opportunity to comment on the draft prior to submission met the B33 requirements. We welcome this current opportunity as well as the opportunity to see the revised draft prior to submission.

Missing Material

We note that neither Annexure A (Locomotive Workshop: Heritage Interpretation Plan Stage 2 for SSD 8517 and SSD 8449, prepared by Sissons, Buchans, Curio, dated April 2019) nor Annexure B (Consultations Outcomes Report by Ethos Urban) were supplied with the report and request a copy of each as they seem integral to the Stage 2 Heritage Interpretation Plan (HIP2). [These have now been supplied].

We also note the HIP2 references on Page 50 to AHMS 2015a, Opportunities for Interpretation in the Central to Eveleigh Corridor, prepared for UrbanGrowth, which is not a publically available report. WE would like to see a copy of this report.

HIP2 - Section 170 Register interaction

The HIP2 does not address the providence of the items on the Section 170 register nor indicate where particular items might be located. REDWatch would like to see further detail on the locations and on what equipment will be held in the storage location in Bay 15. Our concern is that items, which should be exhibited on the floor, may be confined to storage.

There is a potential conflict between maximising the commercial floor space and ensuring that the Section 170 items are displayed in an appropriate manner. It is not possible from the material provided to ascertain if all machinery in the collection, which has providence, will be displayed on the floor. In our view this is a key issue that needs to be assessed as part of the HIP2 and, if it is not possible to provide this, an undertaking should be provided that all equipment from the site will be displayed.

In this regard we note that Heritage Overlay graphics in the presentation document do not highlight the Bay 15 storage making it difficult to detect and that all heritage collections in Bays 5-15 are shown only as 16.1 “Machinery Display”. The diagram on page 114 is one of the few that shows the heritage storage area.

We note that the respective conditions on the two DA under B47 and B39 state: “The placement, storage and interpretation of all items housed within the Locomotive Workshops is required to be finalised as part of the Stage 2 Heritage Interpretation Plan”.

While we appreciate that work on establishing the providence of section 170 items is still a work in progress, we are seeking undertakings that only items which do not have providence will be stored in the storage area and that all other items will be in accessible locations.

Such an approach would be consistent with the draft MCPC which recommends:

“1. Opportunities for community access to the collection are integral to its management

2. The interpretation and functional organisation of the collection in the context of the site and whole Eveleigh Railway Workshops Precinct be encouraged.”

The Traverser

We note that the only mention of the Traverser sits is on a list of exceptional and high significance in Bays 5-15. Given its importance to understanding how the site worked, we would have expected to find details of how it will be treated either in the HIP2 or in the amended HIP1. This issue needs to be addressed in the HIP2 or the HIP1 amendment.

Exceptional Equipment

It is not clear how items of exceptional significance will be handled. For example the Tangye Bros 18” Hydraulic Ram Press is said to be the only such item still in existence. It is a missing item from the Eastman Museum but little is known about how it was used at Eveleigh.

Bays 5-15 Heritage Access

REDWatch is concerned with the very limited access that will be available to Bays 5 – 15 which is described as being “during future open days, such as during Heritage Week, special Eveleigh celebrations, Sydney Open and other coordinated public events.”

If South Eveleigh is to encourage heritage tours and visits, Bays 5-15 will see much of the machinery collection and bays’ interpretation outside the reach of those with an interest in heritage. This is particularly so for those who might be inbound tourists who cannot wait for the next locally advertised open day.

REDWatch would like to see an alternative approach considered. This might allow for the possibility of organised tours to access this space and for academic and research access on more occassions. We would like this option made available rather than excluded by the HIP2. One way of doing this might be to have the Bay 5-15 leasees nominate a heritage access contact who can deal with access enquiries and arrangements. If there was interest for guided tours then visits could occur in a controlled manner, at a time, which minimises business disruption, and in a way that ensures business security.

Filling in the Bays 5-15 interpretive hole

Much is made of the ability for people to have a heritage experience. But with limited access to Bays 5-15 there will need to be extra interpretive work to make available the stories, processes and history of Bays 5-15 for the other 350+ days of the year.

Good ideas like putting what happened in a bay and when along the carpet line, do not work if you cannot walk down the spine of the building read that history. With Bays 5-15 usually off limits perhaps, this treatment should happen outdoors as well.

The HIP2 needs to address the issues related to the lack of access to Bays 5-15. For example, there might need to be a range of virtual tours through this part of the site or virtual tours of the machinery collection that is not accessible.

The issues associated with lack of heritage access to these Bays needs to be addressed in the HIP2.

Services Buildings need more than “public art”

Red Square and the Wall of Workers cards need to be more than just a way to hide the services buildings. There needs to be more thought given to how these spaces can at least give people a greater understanding of the union issues. Inlays of issues discussed at Red Square might be one way of better using the area around the building. Can a small space be carved out of the Services Building for some interpretation? Or can an external kiosk be added to allow people to access further information? As it stands, the treatment seems tokenistic.

Heritage exhibition space and Archival repository

We note that the heritage exhibition space has shrunk from earlier proposals and have some concerns as to how this space might now function. In particular, we have concerns about the archival repository, which gets mentioned twice in the HIP2 but with no details about how it will operate. The reduced exhibition space into which it is to fit raises further concerns about what is proposed.

REDWatch has long supported the need for an archival repository, but this currently has no substance in the HIP and could easily disappear. We want to see some details and commitments to an archival repository in the HIP2. 

Heritage Governance

As discussed during the HIP2 meeting, REDWatch is concerned about what happens to all the information and material collected as part of the heritage interpretation and activities at South Eveleigh. For REDWatch there are two related issues:

a)       The Eveleigh Railway Workshop CMP needs to be progressed to deal with heritage issues across the entire former railway site. The stories of the workshops will be wider than just those at the Loco, and there needs to be a mechanism to share material relevant a particular site across the entire site with a seamless approach to heritage interpretation.

b)      Material collected needs to be in, and remain in, the public domain and not become the property of government authorities that might disappear (e.g. earlier SHFA materials or UGDC’s Eveleigh Stories). Individuals who have material are likely to want it to be publically accessible and for it not to become the private property of Mirvac which might get lost if a future owner of the site does not share Mirvac’s heritage commitments.

REDWatch notes that the HIP2 is glowing in its praise of Eveleigh Stories but that the discussion at the heritage stakeholders meeting raised concerns about this project and resource.

The CMP does not address the issue of Heritage Governance, other than that it will get licences for anything it uses which needs a licence.

Hybrid Retail / Exhibit Zone in Bay 1

REDWatch continues to have concerns about the possibility of non-heritage retail in Bay 1 and the hybrid label, while a step in the right direction, still leaves open the possibility that this could become a conventional retail space in a heritage area. Mirvac should rule out a non-heritage related use for this space.

Workers’ Wall

REDWatch supports a physical workers’ wall, which contains the names of known workers with the opportunity in the future to add those missed. The physical wall should be supported by a workers’ database onto which descendants and historians should be encourage to provide or link further material about the person. The initial database could be could be produced by arrangement with Lucy Taksa and her database or with the ARHS database. The projection on the northern face of Loco should proceed as an attractor, but it should not take the place of a physical workers’ wall.


We note the constraints referred to on page 69 and wish to submit that:

The obligation to display of the heritage fixed and movable heritage equipment is a constraint on how much space can be used as commercial floor space and that this needs to have equal weight in considerations about operational requirements. Further, we submit that in purchasing the site Mirvac was fully aware of the obligations for heritage interpretation and associated ongoing maintenance and that these are covered in the Heritage Covenant. Mirvac hence needs to be very careful in how it argues the listed constraints. We also note the requirement for a budget for curation in addition to the need for budgeting for the establishment of heritage interpretation and its associated ongoing maintenance. One of REDWatch’s main fears is the possibility of it being ‘build and forget’.

Heritage equipment recommissioning

We note that Transport Heritage NSW is currently negotiating to potentially reuse 2 -3 machines as part of its new program at Chullora. REDWatch would support this initiative if the equipment were put into active use. If this is not the case, the equipment should be retained and displayed on the floor at ATP. If the equipment is recommissioned, an interpretive display of the machinery in use should be placed in the location the equipment used to occupy at Eveleigh with the process and relevant interpretive information that would ha ve been located with the equipment if it had been retained.

Missing Interpretive material

With the possibility that some heritage items on the S170 register may not have providence in Loco there is also the possibility that some items under the control of others may have providence at Loco. Mirvac should be open to the possibility of improving the collection if opportunities arise. There was suspicion that some items may have ‘walked’ from Loco to the Large Erecting Shop and this possibility should be explored with Heritage Rail and 3801 Ltd.

A Loco for Loco

The missing piece in the Loco story is actually having a locomotive that was actually made there.  I appreciate that there is resistance from Mirvac to this, but REDWatch is of the view that the display of an actual Eveleigh-made locomotive would be both a major draw card and help to explain how everything on site came together. While not dependant on a trade, the possibility of a mutual lease of heritage machinery and a loco could be considered.


Finally, we note that the HIP2 refers to Julian Bickersford as the experienced movable heritage consultant but I cannot find anyone of that name on an in internet search – should this be Julian Bickersteth. I cannot recall this person attending any heritage meetings with interested community and heritage parties and this should be considered.


There was a range of other issues raised during the heritage stakeholder meeting that we have not raised here, as we would expect these to already taken into consideration for the revision of the draft HIP2.

Thank you for the opportunity to review the HIP2 and to comment upon it.

Yours Faithfully

Geoffrey Turnbull                                                                   

REDWatch Co-Spokesperson