The fast growing Green Square community will soon be encouraged to unleash their creative flair after the City of Sydney decided to build a new creative hub in the area.
A tender accepted by the City will refurbish the heritage-listed buildings that once made up South Sydney Hospital for use as creative facilities for the 61,000 people who will eventually live in Green Square.
Dormitories in a three-story building that was home to nurses during and after WW2 will be transformed into artists’ studios, gallery spaces, workshops, classrooms and spaces available for the community to hire.
Attached to the exterior of the building, an elegant roof will create a space large enough to shelter musical performances, yoga, exercise classes and small markets.
Plans for the former hospital were refined last year after more than 450 people attended a ‘have your say day’ and told City staff they wanted places for activities that included painting and sketching, yoga, martial arts, drama and creative writing and book club meetings.
To help meet those needs, a former pathology building will house a community shed complete with workshops and new public facilities, including toilets.
The former pathology building and nurse’s quarters front onto the site for the new Matron Ruby Park – named after a former long serving matron who has lent her name to an area for passive open space and a children’s playground.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was spending $540 million at Green Square on its biggest ever project.
“I love Peter Stutchbury’s idea to create a wonderful, flowing outdoor room for these new creative facilities, I’m sure it will become a popular spot for the community,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Eventually Green Square will house more than 60,000 residents, they deserve the best facilities we can provide.
“As well as essential infrastructure like roads and footpaths, we’re building a new library and plaza, aquatic centre, childcare centre and these creative community spaces where people can come together to work, acquire and refine their creative talents and just enjoy their spare time.
“Most buildings in Green Square are new, so I’m really pleased we’ve been able to preserve these older buildings, which remind people of the area’s rich and varied history.”
The South Sydney Hospital site sits within the new Green Square town centre, to be built over 14 hectares of land next to Green Square railway station, four kilometres south of the city centre.
The new town centre is part of the 278 hectare Green Square urban redevelopment area, where around $13 billion is being spent building apartments and community facilities for the 61,000 people who are expected to live in the area by 2030.
These days Green Square includes parts of Alexandria, Beaconsfield, Rosebery, Waterloo and Redfern in an area that has a rich social history.
It was home to Aboriginal people and colonial settlers before its location and plentiful water supply saw industries move in. By the 1940s Alexandria was home to more than 550 factories and was known as the ‘Birmingham of Australia’.