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Precinct Development

Parramatta North Heritage Core

Parramatta North


The Parramatta North Heritage Core is a place of exceptional First People’s and Colonial culture and heritage significance. Its rich and complex history forms an intrinsic part of its place identity. It is a site of living history and memory for many people, particularly those with connections to the numerous institutions that operated on site.

On 1 July 2020, the responsibility for the Parramatta North Program, including the Heritage Core, moved into Property & Development NSW, a division of the Housing and Property group within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Project facts

Program area

Circa 6 hectares (ha)


North Parramatta, Parramatta

Local government area

City of Parramatta

Key facts

  • 45,000 years a Dharug place
  • 5,000 convict women held
  • 30,000 girls housed
  • 20+ heritage buildings
  • National heritage listed

Delivery timing

  • Early 2021 - Parramatta Girls Home Memorial & Heritage Garden completed
  • Early to mid-2021 - ongoing delivery of strategic planning, essential conservation works and site improvement initiatives
  • Mid 2021 - NSW Government considers Heritage Core Business Case
  • Mid 2021 - subject to NSW Government investment decision, staged delivery of Heritage Core conservation and activation initiatives
  • Late 2021 - Western Sydney Startup Hub completed


  • Conserve and activate a precinct of national heritage significance
  • Respect the past and plan for an innovative, activated future
  • Become part of an emerging global cultural and innovation destination

Our role

The Parramatta North Program team has been actively delivering a range of projects and strategic planning initiatives across the Heritage Core to further progress the Place Vision developed with the community in 2018.

With conservation, activation and community at its heart, the Heritage Core is a place of living history and memory for many people, particularly those with connections to the numerous institutions that operated on site. This forms an intrinsic part of its place identity.

The Program team respects the significant history and place identity of the Heritage Core and is committed to progressing conservation and activation in line with the Place Vision.

Place vision and principles

A place where past lessons fuel future opportunities, the Heritage Core is a place of living history and memory for many people, particularly for those with connections to the numerous institutions that operated on the site. This rich and complex history forms an intrinsic part of its place identity.

All work in the Heritage Core is guided by the vision and principles developed with the community in 2018. These include:

  • First Peoples first
  • Active memory
  • Sustainable
  • Everybody’s welcome.

Current status

The Program team is progressing the following planning and site works to ensure space is made available for the community and businesses in the short term, while long-term planning for a sustainable future is underway. Works include:

Parramatta Girls Home Memorial and Heritage Garden

Delivery of the Parramatta Girls Home Memorial and Heritage Garden in partnership with the ParraGirls and Department of Communities and Justice, is currently underway.

To create a place of remembrance and reflection for survivors of the Parramatta Girls Home, works will re-instate the original historic front garden of the Norma Parker Centre and establish a memorial in recognition of the former occupants of the Home. The memorial and garden will be a place for everyone, but also a quiet and reflective place for the ParraGirls and their families.

The project cannot be delivered without the demolition of the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent’s Cottages fronting the Norma Parker Centre. The removal of the Cottages will not detract from the cultural and heritage significance of the site, with the demolition of these buildings consistent with the overarching Parramatta North Conservation Management Plan.

Demolition works are anticipated to commence in December 2020, with completion of the memorial and heritage garden anticipated in early-2021.

Western Sydney Startup Hub

Planning for the Western Sydney Startup Hub (WSSH) in partnership with NSW Treasury, is currently underway.

The delivery of the WSSH provides an exciting opportunity for the Heritage Core, Parramatta North and broader Central River City. Future focused and community driven, the WSSH will support the growth of startups, scaleups and local businesses in Western Sydney, and will play a key role in building the local innovation ecosystem of the Westmead Health and Innovation District.

Following best practice heritage conservation and adaptive re-use, three sensitively restored buildings of the Heritage Core will provide a series of unique spaces for entrepreneurs and the community, including 1,500m² of co-working space, a café and shared event space. Sensitive upgrades to the surrounding public realm will also be undertaken.

The WSSH will be industry agnostic and will welcome startups, scaleups and SMEs. Pending approvals, the WSSH is expected to be fully operational by late-2021.

Heritage core business case

The NSW Government remains committed to retaining ownership of the Parramatta North Heritage Core with a Business Case currently being prepared that proposes a program of conservation, renewal and activation within the precinct, to achieve the Place Vision developed with the community in 2018. Ongoing funding will allow protection of the national heritage listed site into the future, through essential conservation and activation efforts.

The NSW Government will consider the business case in mid-2021.

Strategic planning

The Program team recognises that strategic planning across the Heritage Core is essential to guide ongoing, future management of the site. Strategic planning is currently underway and includes the preparation of a Heritage Masterplan and Interpretation Strategy, site-specific Tenancy and Activation Strategies and a Social Enterprise Strategy. Following detailed archaeological testing, the approved Parramatta North Conservation Management Plan has been updated and submitted to Heritage NSW for consideration. Strategies are also being developed with Sydney Living Museums on museum opportunities.

Essential conservation works and site improvements

Work is currently underway to deliver essential conservation works and site improvements across the Heritage Core, including restoration of the historic clock tower and Fleet Street palisade fence, removal of intrusive and insignificant building structures, building repairs, service upgrades and improvements to green space. This builds upon the work undertaken between 2016 and 2018 to restore the Norma Parker Centre to its original form, along with four other key buildings across the site.

Financial benefits

  • Delivery of a sustainable business and management model that respects the past and ensures the future of the Heritage Core.

Non-financial benefits

  • Unlock best-in-class mental health outcomes for Western Sydney through the staged relocation of health services into new and enhanced facilities
  • Enhance the significant collection of cultural and heritage assets across the site
  • Curate a culturally vibrant precinct as part of Parramatta’s cultural offering
  • Protect the river and open spaces areas and foster sustainability outcomes.

Working together

The Program team will continue to work collaboratively with the community and the following key partners and stakeholders to determine the best way forward for this extraordinary site.

Key partners and stakeholders

  • First Peoples
  • City of Parramatta Council
  • Deerubbin Local
  • Aboriginal Land Council
  • ParraGirls
  • Parramatta Female Factory Friends
  • National Trust of Australia
  • Sydney Living Museums
  • Create NSW
  • Heritage NSW
  • Aboriginal Affairs
  • Placemaking NSW
  • Precinct tenants
  • The North Parramatta community.

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