Save Willow Grove from government vandals – save our heritage

Save Willow Grove from government vandals – save our heritage

Canada Bay Greens strongly supports the efforts of Parramatta Greens and the North Parramatta Residents’ Action Group to save Willow Grove, a beautiful heritage-listed Italianate villa in the heart of Parramatta from removal as part of the creation of a new Parramatta Powerhouse museum. The resident protest is being supported by a green ban on demolition of the site by the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union.

On 12 February 2021, the Planning Minister, Rob Stokes announced that the NSW Government intended to dismantle and move the villa to a yet-to-be-determined location in order to enable the “New Parramatta Powerhouse Project” to proceed. The original heritage portion of St George’s Terrace which was also under threat will be retained and refurbished including the brick facade.

The decision to proceed with relocating Willow Grove represents a reversal of a previous decision by the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian to preserve the site and to find an alternate location for the proposed $767 million Powerhouse Museum.

Willow Grove on Phillip Street Parramatta is a remarkable testament to the role of women in Australia’s early and ongoing history. Reflecting the commercial success of Annie Gallagher, a very successful haberdasher and an early owner, the 1870s villa is typical of the growing prosperity of the Parramatta town. In 1919 Mrs E. Davidson, a midwife and nurse, bought the house and the house became a private maternity hospital, named “Estella”. A succession of women owners retained the property as a nursing facility until 1953 when the house was purchased by the Department of the Interior. In 2015 the property was purchased by the City of Parramatta council.

In 1999, Willow Grove was heritage listed in the State Heritage Register confirming the significance of the site for its historical, archaeological, aesthetic, research, associative and representativeness values.

Leading the fight to save Willow Grove are Parramatta Councillor, Phil Bradley of the Parramatta Greens, North Parramatta Residents Action Group (NPRAG) Spokesperson Suzette Meadee and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP, Robert Borsak.

The union says it still opposes the relocation, which is anticipated to cost around $10 million, and the ban will stay in place.
National Trust of Australia’s Parramatta branch president Cheryl Bates said demolishing Willow Grove would mean Parramatta lost another link to its important historical past.

“The National Trust does not understand how a building considered worthy of a heritage listing, using the accepted criteria for listing, can now simply be disregarded because a new use is considered more appropriate,’’ she said.


One of the major feminist festivals in Sydney, the International Women’s Poetry and Arts Festival is directed by poet, filmmaker and Asylum Seekers Centre Ambassador, Saba Vasefi. It is hosted by member of the NSW Parliament Dr Mehreen Faruqi, and will be MCed by performer, writer and activist Candy Royalle. The Festival strives to honour and support female poets, writers and artists to reclaim their rightful place in literature and art by building coalitions based on solidarity, inclusion and diversity.

Sydney International Women’s Poetry and Arts Festival joins with the Women Poets International Movement (MPI) for the third year in a row to bring the Woman Scream Festival 2016 to Sydney. The Festival will take place at NSW Parliament House on March 16, 5:30-9:30pm. Woman Scream events are held in countries worldwide during the month of March. Last year the Festival was part of UNESCO’s 2015 International Year of Light.

Prominent writers, commentators, artists and scholars — such as Prof. Sahara Amer, chair of Arabic and Cultural studies at Sydney University; Jane Caro, author, novelist, commentator and award-winning advertising writer; Candy Royalle, performer, writer and activist; Adjunct Prof. Eva Cox, commentator and activist and Dr Leslie Cannold, researcher, public speaker & educator on gender, value-driven leadership and respectful relationships — will take part in a panel discussion chaired by writer Ruby Hamad.

Past festival participant, Michele Seminara, will also have her first poetry collection, Engraft, launched by Festival Director Saba Vasefi.

Wiradjuri elder and poet Jenny Munro, award winning poet Judith Beveridge, Human Rights Award finalist Yarrie Bangura, Associate Professor of English at Sydney University Dr Kate Lilly, Peril Magazine’s Poetry Editor Eleanor Jackson, and coordinator of Writing Through Fences Janet Galbraith, plus Hawraa Kash, Gloria Demillo and Gabrielle Jones, will recite their poems. Hip hop artists Sarah Anne Connor and Zainab Kadhim, as well as the classical Indian choreographer Aruna Gandhi and the Axis Wind ensemble from Tara Anglican School for Girls, will be performing.

The Festival is a showcase of diversity, including performances by Indigenous, migrant, LGBTI and refugee, as well as Australian-born, women. It aims to foster a supportive atmosphere empowering women to stand up against racism, sexism and violence.  It will shed light on the intersectional discrimination, masculine and racial biases which disempower women and damage society, while simultaneously emphasising the need to create new power structures and redefine what matters.

The Festival is partnered by distinguished academic, human rights and feminist organisations such as Daily Life, Sydney Peace Foundation, Sydney University, Amnesty International, Asylum Seekers Centre, Settlement Services International, Word Travels, Peril Magazine, Women Say Something, Full Stop Foundation and Bridge for Asylum Seeker Foundation.

The event will support donations and promotion for its partners and will be advertised in Persian, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish and English. Twenty complimentary tickets will be offered to women of Indigenous, refugee and asylum-seeker backgrounds.

Tickets: $20

Invitation to International Women’s Day Breakfast

Invitation to International Women’s Day Breakfast

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Greens NSW MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi and Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon will host an International Women’s Day breakfast with special guests, playwright and actor Nakkiah Lui, performer, writer and activist Candy Royalle, and author Randa Abdel-Fattah, for breakfast on Tuesday 8 March 2016 to celebrate International Women’s Day at NSW Parliament House. This is an autonomous event for all people who identify as women. Tickets are available here: For … Continue reading