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State Significant Development


Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal

City of Sydney

Current Status: Determination

Interact with the stages for their names

  1. SEARs
  2. Prepare EIS
  3. Exhibition
  4. Collate Submissions
  5. Response to Submissions
  6. Assessment
  7. Recommendation
  8. Determination

Concept Proposal for the renewal of Powerhouse Ultimo

Attachments & Resources

Notice of Exhibition (1)

Exhibition Notice

Request for SEARs (1)

Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal - Scoping Report

SEARs (1)

Issued SEARs_18012022_023105

EIS (39)

Environmental Impact Statement
Appendix B - Urban Design Report - Part 5
Appendix B - Urban Design Report - Part 4
Appendix B - Urban Design Report - Part 3
Appendix B - Urban Design Report - Part 2
Appendix B - Urban Design Report - Part1
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan - Part 9
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan - Part 8
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan - Part 7
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan - Part 6
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan - Part 5
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan-Part 4
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan-Part3
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan-Part 2
Appendix G - Conservation Management Plan-Part1
Appendix R - Preliminary Site Investigation
Appendix Z - Historical Archaeological Assessment
Appendix V - Stage 1 Civil Report
Appendix I - Heritage Impact Statement
Appendix K - ESD Report
Appendix J - Transport Assessment Plan and Green Travel Plan
Appendix N - Visual Impact Assessment
Appendix S - Geotechnical Report
Appendix H - Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report
Appendix M - Social Impact Assessment
Appendix W - Clause 4.6 Variation Request
Appendix X - Consultation Outcomes Report
Appendix U - Site Infrastructure Management Strategy
Appendix L - Arboricultural Assessment
Appendix Y - Biodiversity Waiver
Appendix O - Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design R
Appendix T - Air Quality Assessment
Appendix Q - Environmental Wind Assessment
Appendix P - Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment
Appendix D - Landscape Plans
Appendix C - Architectural Plans
Appendix F - Site Survey
Appendix E - Design Excellence Strategy
Appendix A - Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requiremen

Response to Submissions (21)

06 Appendix E- Revised Conservation Management Plan_Part2
05 Appendix E- Revised Conservation Management Plan_Part1
09 Appendix G- Revised Heritage Impact Statement
04 Appendix D- Revised Urban Design Analysis and Guidelines
13 Appendix K- Revised View and Visual Impact Assessment
17 Appendix O- Addendum Civil Report
07 Appendix E- Revised Conservation Management Plan_Part3
03 Appendix C- Revised Envelope Plans
16 Appendix N- Final ACHAR- redacted
02 Appendix B- Consultation and Engagement Outcomes Report
08 Appendix F- Endorsed Design Excellence Strategy
14 Appendix L- Addendum CPTED Assessment Report
12 Appendix J- Addendum Transport Assessment
19 Appendix Q- Powerhouse Public Art Strategy
00 Submissions and Amendment Report
01 Appendix A- Detailed Response to Submissions
10 Appendix H- Addendum Social Impact Assessment
20 Appendix R- Addendum Historical Archaeology Advice
15 Appendix M- Addendum Noise Assessment
11 Appendix I- Addendum Wind Assessment
18 Appendix P- Waste Management Plan Framework

Agency Advice (17)

SW Response - RTS for SSD-329273199
SSD-32927319 - Powerhouse Ultimo - EHG Advice
EPA RTS Powerhouse Renewal 500 Harris St Ultimo
Submission Letter SSD-32927319
Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal
SW Response - Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal
HNSW ACH - RTS advice - Powerhouse Ultimo - SSD-32927319
SSD Powerhouse Ultimo - RTS Response HNSW
CoS to DPE - Advice on RTS
SSD-32927319 - Powerhouse Ultimo- EHG Advice
EPA - Response Ultimo Powerhouse Renewal
TfNSW Sydney Trains - SSD 32927319
TfNSW Submission_Powerhouse Renewal Ultimo
TfNSW Submission
Heritage NSW - SSD-32927319
CoS to DPE - Advice on EIS

Additional Information (10)

Letter to DPE - Additional Submission
Attachment 2 - CMP_Part1
Attachment 2 - CMP_Part2
Letter to DPE re cl4.6
Attachment 3 - Flood Response
Response to Agency Submissions - 16 November 2022
Appendix D-Revised Urban Design Guidelines
Response to GA Feedback - 8 December 2022
Additional Information - 24 January 2022
Powerhouse Ultimo Flooding Conditions

Determination (4)

SSD-32927319 Notice of Decision
SSD-32927319 Instrument of Consent
SSD-32927319 Assessment Report
SSD-32927319 Approved Plans

Approved Documents

There are no post approval documents available

Note: Only documents approved by the Department after November 2019 will be published above. Any documents approved before this time can be viewed on the Applicant's website.


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There are no enforcements for this project.


There are no inspections for this project.

Note: Only enforcements and inspections undertaken by the Department from March 2020 will be shown above.


Showing 1 - 20 of 112 submissions
Norman Teague
Ultimo , New South Wales
Dear Renah
I tried calling you after receiving your architectural plans and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Thank you for your kind assistance helping us to understand and learn - the correspondence we received in relation to the Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal.
We would be most concerned - but now view this “Renewal” does not include any high rise to the Harwood Building and the Good Line Park section developed to provides much sun and green environment to the existing, neighbouring residents – needed and sought after - the huge high rise development of Darling Park/Harbour.
Judy Teague
Ultimo , New South Wales
Dear Renah
I tried calling you after receiving your architectural plans and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Thank you for your kind assistance helping us to understand and learn - the correspondence we received in relation to the Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal.
We would be most concerned - but now view this “Renewal” does not include any high rise to the Harwood Building and the Good Line Park section developed to provides much sun and green environment to the existing, neighbouring residents – needed and sought after - the huge high rise development of Darling Park/Harbour.
Ron Cuskelly
Carseldine , Queensland
I am writing to object to the EIS concerning ‘renewal’ of the Ultimo Powerhouse Museum site for the following reasons:
Clearly some people are determined to destroy what was once a world class museum. When it was first proposed that the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo would close, I was one of many who campaigned against it. My main concern was the preservation of the historic Catalina flying boat which once belonged to a genuine Australian hero. It seems that this message was heard because it is understood that the Catalina will remain in situ at Ultimo - surrounded by what? Clearly it has been consigned to the "too hard tray". It will be totally out of context and like the proverbial shag on a rock. What is it about the Powerhouse that attracts so many dopey, money-wasting ideas?
Victor Taffa
WEST RYDE , New South Wales
Plans to downgrade the Ultimo Powerhouse Museum should be rejected as an inferior plan.
Powerhouse Museums should be Museums and not a fashion display.
Powerhouse Parramatta can have a Fashion Display.
Powerhouse Ultimo should retain their existing exhibits.
Powerhouse Museums should have a Bus service running to each Museum.
In the United States the Smithsonian Institute has 19 Museums and Galleries.
Downgrading the Ultimo Powerhouse Museum to a Fashion display is a backward looking move.
Norelle Feehan
Darlinghurst , New South Wales
Shirley Fitzgerald
HUSKISSON , New South Wales
I hope you will accept this email as I am traveling and have not been able to make the official site work for me.
I OBJECT in the strongest terms to the downgrading and trivializing of our once very fine Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences to a FASHION Museum.
As an historian who has published and researched the history of the museum and of Ultimo it saddens me that this might happen to this place with it's long connection to technical education in this old precinct where it's history is being senselessly obliterated.
The Powerhouse collection belongs to this place and however it is repurposed elsewhere, the strong historical links will be broken, with great loss to it's integrity and to our understanding of Sydney.
Tom Lockley
PYRMONT , New South Wales
Tim Usherwood
ULTIMO , New South Wales
Thank you for the opportunity to make a late submission regarding this proposal.
I have made no political donations.
I object to this proposal.
This proposal is predicated on a plan to convert the current Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences into a fashion and design, information and education facility. Such a facility would appeal to a very narrow segment of the public, and to very few of the children who currently make up a large proportion of the Museum’s visitors. Of note, some of these young visitors will be the future STEM practitioners of Australia. It is apparent that the Museum’s dress, pottery & photographic exhibitions attract little interest, especially amongst children, while the original technical sections are frequently full of family and school groups. Destroying Australia’s unique science and technology museum in the Sydney “Innovation Corridor” makes no sense.
Linda Newton
ULTIMO , New South Wales
I OBJECT to the Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal application: Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal SSD-32927319. I am emailing as I was unsuccessful in trying to submit this through the NSW Planning portal. I have not made any reportable political donations.
My submission will focus on two areas that I’m especially concerned about – that the Powerhouse Museum remains as a fully functioning museum, and that the open space (forecourt) on Harris Street be retained.
1. Keeping the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo
In 1878 Australian Museum’s trustees came up with the idea of a technical museum to complement the existing museum. In the following year Sydney held an International Exhibition (fashionable at the time to showcase innovation from around the world). The Exhibition burnt down but the exhibits that survived were recognised as being important. In 1893, the technical museum was built – in Harris St Ultimo. It complimented the Sydney Technical College which had been built on Harris St ten years earlier.
In 1988, the Bicentennial of NSW, the Powerhouse Museum moved from the original, purpose built building on Harris St, to the old powerhouse and became the Powerhouse Museum. The connection between the Museum and technical expertise was strong and it continues to this day.
In 2015 we began fighting to keep the Powerhouse Museum on its significant and important site on Harris Street. Five years of objections and government inquiries, resulted in the July 2020 announcement that the Powerhouse Museum would remain in Ultimo, and that Parramatta would get its own museum.
But as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to kill off a public cultural institution sitting on valuable land. The word ‘Museum’ has already been dropped, removing with the stroke of a marketing guru’s pen the institution’s birthright as an internationally recognised museum of applied arts and sciences with a stupendous collection of publicly owned objects. And what is it to be? A design and fashion hub? This can exist as part of a magnificent museum, not instead of it.
And what will happen to the Harwood Buildings, the Wran Building, to the collection? Who are the visitors to be accommodated? Are they experts from the fields of technology and innovation staying for creative residencies? Or perhaps the plan is to have a private hotel – after all, there’s a long history in NSW of turning publicly owned properties into hotels for the wealthy. And what about the offices? Are they for museum staff, or for private ‘creatives’ in advertising, marketing, whatever? The lack of detail is telling and terrifying.
2. Retaining open public space on Harris Street
At a recent Zoom public forum about the Museum’s proposed redevelopment, the presenters enthusiastically spoke of the removal of the open forecourt on Harris Street, reorienting the building to the east, and replacing the open space with a multi-story building to the edge of the pavement. The logic was the Harris Street is a busy street with buses and other traffic, and will only get busier. The building would instead front the Darling Quarter/Goods Line, effectively turning its back on Ultimo. Well, we don’t want that. Just take a look at the mess on the western edge of Darling Harbour to get an idea of why we feel like that. When the buildings on the west of Darling Harbour went up, Ultimo/Pyrmont became a sunless wind tunnel. And for what purpose? Tourists and locals alike fought to find their way through an impenetrable wall of carpark ramps, garbage rooms, and dead spaces gathering rubbish. The shops died a slow death because not enough people could get to them.
By all means make the building appealing and attractive on the city side, but not at the expense of those on the western side. The Pyrmont Ultimo peninsula is densely populated with families and students, and more apartments are going in every day. The Fish Market redevelopment will add huge numbers and the parks and open spaces are already overused. There’s no high school, and Ultimo Public School is already almost at capacity.
The spacious museum forecourt runs pretty much along the whole block from Pier St to nd Macarthur St. It provides open space, a sense of being able to breath on that busy street. It’s a space to meet up , to read a book while waiting, to have a coffee or visit the shop. Despite the negative view of buses presented at the forum, a public bus stop out the front is a good thing. It means people can come on public transport right to the front of the museum. People with prams, walking sticks, toddlers. The concept of a Pyrmont/Ultimo village as a ‘highly-walkable place’, won’t be achieved by removing this valuable public space on Harris Street.
Why not be inspired by the challenge of creating a beautiful oasis on this busy street? A place that inspires those walking past, or looking out the window of a bus, to say: “Wow, look at that gorgeous space, and it’s on a busy street. It’s so unexpected and beautiful!” Come on, where is your imagination? Don’t decide that because Harris St is busy, that it ought to be both busy and ugly. The tree plantings as part of the current exhibition give a glimpse of what it could – and should – be.
To conclude… I’ve lived in Ultimo for 35 years. Over that time I’ve fought to retain as much as possible that keeps a community strong, while being open to change and growth. And I’ve seen a lot of poor planning and stupid decisions based on self-interest rather than public good. This application smacks of self-interest and stupidity, and I do not support it.
Yimmy Seifert
ULTIMO , New South Wales
I OPPOSE the entire proposal as the intended outcome does not result in renewal but a downgrade of the Powerhouse in Ultimo. It should remain predominantly as a museum devoted to science and technology.
I also oppose the demolition of the Sulman Prize winning Wran Building and the construction of a 31m new building. The effect would be another barrier between Ultimo and Darling Square and Haymarket. We do not require more high rise in our area.
I am also dismayed by the proposal to construct a new 25m building on the forecourt which should remain as a public space for the community.
Last but not least, the closure of the Harris St entrance would once again make this iconic facility turn its back on Ultimo, the same issue that the community has raised when Darling Harbour was redeveloped a few years ago,
I confirm that I have not made any reportable donation to any political party.
I sincerely request that the objections raised by the community be taken into serious consideration and revision of the proposal.
Ultimo Village Voice
ULTIMO , New South Wales
Desmond Griffin
FRENCHS FOREST , New South Wales
This is not a renewal project. It is not State significant. What is proposed is the destruction of significant components of Sydney’s built heritage and the transformation of the site to a fashion precinct and arts hub.
A building housing significant scientific and engineering items displayed for the purpose of public exhibition is being destroyed. It is not being replaced in Parramatta where a building which is not a museum but a convention centre, wrongly referred to as a museum, is to be built on a flood plain; it will not serve the people of Parramatta and western Sydney.
The entire process of planning has been a travesty with promises of consultation being replaced by proposals not until now made public and pursued whilst a sham consultation was pursued.
Assertions have been made about the involvement of experts when in fact the involvement was no more than some conversations.
The objections of those to the proposed developments have been labelled as lacking any concern for the people of Parramatta and as wishing to retain the Powerhouse to serve their own opportunities. This is a disgraceful lie and should never have been allowed to stand.
The opinions of scores of experts from all relevant fields have been deliberately ignored. Every objection has been summarily dismissed.
The Legislative Council Inquiry recommended against these developments in absolutely unequivocal terms: the objections were dismissed.
The proponents of this proposal are not museum or heritage experts and lack any understanding of history and public education. The proponents include self-serving persons intent on promoting their own particular views and foisting them on the general public. The proponents include business interests who should never in any circumstances have the level of influence which is being exercised in this project.
The board of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has completely abrogated its responsibility to advance the interests of the Powerhouse Museum. That includes the present President and his predecessor.
The Government of NSW along with the Board of MAAS and the responsible Minister should be investigated for significant breach of trust and more.
If this project proceeds the damage to heritage, the arts and technology and public education will be irreparable. It must not stand.
I am Desmond J Griffin AM, FRSN, Director of the Australian Museum from 1978 to 1998. I am currently Gerhard Krefft Fellow of the Australian Museum. I was the founding President of the representative organisation Museums Australia (now the Association of Museum and Galleries of Australia, AMaGA). I have served as a member of the Council and the Executive of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and of a number of State and Commonwealth bodies through 2002 and have published extensively on museums as well as management and leadership and education issues.
Please feel free to call me on any matter relevant to this.
The Hunters Hill Trust
Hunters Hill , New South Wales
Richard Dunn
ANNANDALE , New South Wales
Powerhouse Museum Alliance
SUMMER HILL , New South Wales
Josephine Di Benedetto
SYDNEY , New South Wales
Powerhouse Ultimo State Significant Development .
Development application no SSD-32927319
I STRONGLY OBJECT to this application in its current form.
I have not made any donations to any Government Department
The Ultimo Powerhouse is an Icon which needs to be preserved in its current state
As far as is possible.
The Front entrance is beautiful and needs to remain as it is at present with the front entrance on Harris Street.
The Powerhouse needs to contain all the original items as a science Technology Transport And Engineering Museum not just as a Fashion Museum .
It will lose all its interest with Children and Adults alike if it’s just contains Fashion .
We need to preserve our Heritage not just knock it all down for something Modern
We had that experience with Willow Grove at Parramatta when the Government PROMISED!!!!!!to rebuild the Property brick by brick they said and now we all know it is a heap of rubble!!!!!!!!
Please reconsider this ridiculous proposal before it is too late!!!
Docomomo Australia
MCMAHONS POINT , New South Wales
Peter Wotton
PYRMONT , New South Wales
It would appear that the attempt to attract a new demographic to the Powerhouse Museum has been a failure thus far , much along the lines of the expensive failure of the earlier fashion show.
Surely it has not escaped the attention of those attempting to destroy our unique technological museum that the dress, pottery & photographic exhibits are attracting little interest while the original technical sections are full of family & school groups.
It does not make sense to destroy a loved unique museum and replace it with a display area which appears to have little interest to the small demographic it is aimed at.
Do the powers that be dislike a museum which delivers so much interest and enjoyment to children , families and school groups in an accessible location in favour of one which delivers little to a very limited section of society.
Pyrmont Action Inc
PYRMONT , New South Wales
City of Sydney
SYDNEY , New South Wales


Project Details

Application Number
Assessment Type
State Significant Development
Development Type
Museum, Gardens & Zoos
Local Government Areas
City of Sydney
Determination Date

Contact Planner

Renah Givney