Creating extraordinary places

UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation’s vision is to inspire and enable the creation of extraordinary places, including at Parramatta North.

For the past year, we have been working to create an aspirational place identity for Parramatta North’s publicly owned, nationally listed heritage core that is locally contextual, globally relevant and seeks to fill an unmet need in a rapidly developing urban landscape.

To inform this place’s identity and establish place principles, we have sought the knowledge and perspectives of many community members and precinct partners to better understand their values, views and vision for the site.

These conversations are shaping an emerging vision for the future identity of this unique place, including appropriate future uses and benefits for the community.

Listening and learning about the many layers of history within the Heritage Core is helping UrbanGrowth NSW plan for an extraordinary place that will evolve with current and future generations. It will also ensure that any plans for activation respect the past and honour Parramatta North’s stories and memories. 

Place Identity

What is a 'Place Vision'?

A place vision is a blueprint or guide that can be used to shape the future uses and activities.  It creates a foundation, while allowing for a place to evolve and grow. The vision helps to guide decisions on future uses, amenities, services and activities that will attract people to a place or precinct and add value to the community.

What is a 'Place identity'?

The place identity provides a guiding framework for how the place vision and outcomes can come to life and evolve in partnership with the community and future occupants of the site.

Who has been consulted?

In the past year we have worked collaboratively with the City of Parramatta Council, the National Trust (NSW), Parramatta Female Factory Friends, Parragirls, Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Parramatta District Men’s Shed through the Parramatta North Collaboration Framework to discuss possible uses and outcomes for the Heritage Core.

During late September and October 2018, UrbanGrowth NSW held a stakeholder engagement process to develop a future vision and place identity for the Heritage Core.

We engaged a diverse range of stakeholders, including Darug and other Aboriginal people that have traditional and historical cultural connection to the place, representatives from a range of social, cultural, economic and environmental organisations, neighbouring residents, community organisations, local service providers and a number of health workers who currently occupy the site.

Future user groups were identified and focus groups were consulted to better understand their needs and aspirations, and to understand how they might support and connect to the precinct in the future.

What is the emerging vision for Parramatta North?

The NSW Government is making long term investments that will result in increased connections in the area as well as increased opportunities for employment and education.

The Heritage Core will play an important role in supporting the NSW Government’s recently announced Cumberland Health, Education and Innovation Precinct (Cumberland Precinct). The NSW Government is in negotiations with the University of Sydney to establish a multidisciplinary campus over Cumberland Hospital West and part of Cumberland East.

The Heritage Core has many possibilities including the potential to become a creative industries hub, with spaces for innovative and social enterprises, and arts and cultural uses, within walking distance from Parramatta’s CBD and serviced by the new Parramatta Light Rail and the extension of the Sydney Metro West line to Westmead.

How will the Heritage Core fit in to the area's wider plans?

Our recent conversations, combined with previous reports, studies and community engagement activities, are enabling UrbanGrowth NSW to create a shared vision and develop a unique place in the Central River City that respects the area’s rich and difficult past while being inclusive of the broader community and positive about its future.

The nationally-listed Heritage Core will remain in public ownership.

Adjacent and to the north of the Heritage Core, a master plan for the Cumberland Precinct will be developed to create an active, permeable University town that will include diverse housing options for students, staff and the wider Parramatta community, serviced by the Sydney Metro West station at Westmead and Parramatta Light Rail stops. 

What is the emerging vision for the Heritage Core?

Forever Country.

Parramatta North is a place of stories. A place where past lessons fuel future opportunities. Culturally significant, community inspired and economically vibrant, Parramatta North will bring to life old buildings, new spaces and ideas, in a place of discovery, opportunity, reflection and experience. 

What are the place principles for the Heritage Core?

Following our consultation, place principles were established that will guide the site’s evolution and tie together the future occupants and partners.

Place principles:

  • First Peoples First: First Peoples First is intrinsically related to the recognition and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by others involved in any activities that occur on the site.  We recognise traditional custodianship and enable a process of inclusivity that guarantees Aboriginal voices, perspectives and insights are captured throughout.
  • Active Memory: Both living and past histories are respected, where we move forward to heal and honour people’s stories and realities past and present. The lessons from the past are applied and acknowledged to prevent similar struggles from recurring and improve on the status quo.
  • Sustainable: A mix of activities and uses that can contribute to the place identity (both public and private) to enable the long-term success of the site.  Innovative ways to sustain and evolve the site that push the boundaries of traditional government ownership and governance will be explored.
  • Everybody’s Welcome: This place is a safe place for all. There will be a multitude of uses for the community and will work to ensure the site remains an accessible place where everybody feels safe, secure and welcome, especially during this period of immense change.

What are the place outcomes?

The vision will be brought to life through uses, programs, services and activities that reflect four place outcomes:

  • Restoration and Enterprise: a vibrant and active place where memory is turned into action. Acknowledging histories and focusing on the future to heal, support and strengthen.
  • Connection and Production: a publicly accessible activity hub that celebrates the heritage buildings and their settings with spaces for the community and opportunities for inspiration, connection, gathering and making.
  • Innovation and Collaboration: an economically viable, commercially competitive hub to accommodate a wide range of innovative business including cultural and creative industries.
  • Rejuvenation and Recreation: green and blue spaces for reflection, education and imagination. A future riverside destination that provides a living link to the past and future.

 You can find out more on the vision, principles and outcomes and how they were developed through an executive summary and community engagement report.

Will you continue to talk to the community and other stakeholders?

Yes, community feedback will be sought during the master planning process for the Cumberland Health, Education and Innovation Precinct.

Registrations of Interest

Why is UrbanGrowth NSW seeking a ROI for the Heritage Core?

Registrations of Interest (ROI) are invited from organisations interested in working with UrbanGrowth NSW to realise the potential of the Parramatta North Heritage Core.  We are looking for ideas for uses, programs, services and activities that could take place in buildings and public open spaces to activate this historic precinct.

Responses to the ROI will provide an evidence base to inform the formulation of next steps that may include a procurement strategy for the Heritage Core.

Submitting a proposal is an opportunity to contribute to the creation of a unique place that benefits the community of Parramatta and beyond.  From the submissions, participants may be identified that can work with UrbanGrowth NSW to realise the emerging vision for the Heritage Core that has been developed through consultation with the community and stakeholders.

The ROI will support future planning for:

  • the future use and occupancy of buildings;
  • temporary activation in the open spaces and spaces between buildings; 
  • prioritising Heritage repairs to support increased public access; and
  • the development of a procurement strategy and recommendations to Government for future uses in the Heritage Core.

During our recent consultation, some of the opportunities identified included:

  • innovation and social enterprises as part of a new innovative business hub;
  • cultural and arts infrastructure as part of an emerging creative hub;
  • social and community infrastructure;
  • creative industries, and 
  • cultural, arts and creative events and activities for existing and new audiences.

When will the ROI open and close?

Registrations of Interest will open on Thursday 6 December 2018 and close 3pm on Monday 18 February 2019.

Who can participate?

The Registration of Interest is open to anyone.

You can be a not-for-profit, a social enterprise, a start-up, an innovator, a commercial enterprise, a community or volunteer group, a sole trader, or an individual with a great idea that aligns with the vision for the site.

This is an open invitation for cultural heritage and arts organisations, social enterprises and creative industries, particularly those with local and cultural links, to come forward and work with us to create a unique hub of collaboration and ideas in Western Sydney.

This also creates an opportunity for intergenerational economic and social empowerment in the years ahead.

We encourage applications from: 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and organisations 
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse individuals and organisations
  • Individuals and organisations with experience working in Western Sydney

How can I register my interest?

To read about the process and complete an application please click here.

Will there be any restrictions on uses of the site?

This is a call for ideas and purpose assessed against the Parramatta North vision and place principles.

This is a heritage precinct that is on the National Heritage List. Any building work or adaptation must work within the Conservation Management Plan and requires heritage approval.

Will the Heritage Core remain publicly owned?

The nationally listed Heritage Core will remain in public ownership for current and future generations.

Why is the title of the Heritage Core changing?

We want to ensure the land titles are consistent with the boundary of the National Heritage Listing. UrbanGrowth NSW will consult with the City of Parramatta Council to separate the Heritage Core from other parcels of land.

What is the process map of the ROI?

PN ROI process time2

What happens after the ROI closes?

ROI responses will be assessed by an evaluation committee and all participants will be placed in a database. The database will not be an exclusive or exhaustive list but will be used to inform procurement pathways for next steps.

After UrbanGrowth NSW considers the appropriate procurement pathways and processes, some participants may progress sooner than others depending on the scope of the proposal and the availability of space.

Some spaces may be made available on a temporary or more permanent basis through appropriate procurement pathways and processes.

As needs arise, ROI participants will be informed of next steps, and are welcome to contact UrbanGrowth NSW for further discussion.

UrbanGrowth NSW reserves the right to proceed or not proceed with any ROI response or to seek further proposals from others if the ROI responses do not suitably achieve the objectives for the project or take any action it considers appropriate in relation to the ROI and Heritage Core.

What are the next steps for the Heritage Core?

Following the ROI, a report will be prepared to inform future government decisions within the Heritage Precinct. The NSW Government may seek greater market involvement and commitment during 2019.

What is a procurement pathway?

Procurement is the process of acquiring goods, services or works from an external source (including agreeing terms) often via a tendering or competitive bidding process. The NSW Government observes the following general probity principles in all its procurement:

a)      Maintaining impartiality

b)      Maintaining accountability and transparency

c)      Managing conflicts of interest

d)      Maintaining confidentiality

e)      Obtaining best value for money

f)       Providing a fair chance to do business with government.

When will the buildings become available?

Buildings will become available progressively as NSW Health services are relocated and the buildings receive service upgrades and undergo conservation works.

Can I talk to someone about my Registration of Interest?

Please send all enquiries via email to:

If you cannot access email, a member of Parramatta North Growth Centre Project team from UrbanGrowth NSW is available to speak with you on 02 9216 5873.

We are also holding two public information sessions to explain the ROI application form and process.

Can I see inside the buildings?

We are holding a series of site tours and participants will be taken through some of the buildings. A number of buildings are currently occupied.

Is there any disabled access or plans for universal design?

Many of the buildings are of heritage value and do not comply with current disability access codes. UrbanGrowth NSW is currently working to balance access needs and heritage requirements.

Will Sydney University be in the Heritage Core?

We will be working with Sydney University on a masterplan for the Cumberland Health, Education and Innovation Precinct which will interface with and be supported by a vibrant Heritage Core.

Will there be any funding available?

The ROI is not a request for funding. Any requests for grant funding for organisations should go through the normal grant processes. One of the place principles for the Heritage Core is for a sustainable mix of activities and uses to enable to long term success of the site.

Will there be any new buildings in the Heritage Core?

There are no plans for new buildings in the Heritage Core.

In the longer term, our heritage architects have identified two possible sites that could support new buildings to house public amenities. These would be sensitive to the history and scale of the site and its archaeology and the view lines of the Heritage Core.

Key Dates

Key Dates

ROI Launch and release: Thursday 6 December 2018
Closing Time: 3pm Monday 18 February 2019

Site visits Interested participants are invited to register for scheduled site tours.  
Site tours run for approximately 90 minutes.

Site tour 1 - 12pm 18 December 2018
Site tour 2 - 9.30am 10 January 2019
Site tour 3 - 9.30am 24 January 2019
Site tour 4 - 10am 9 February 2019
Site tour 5 - 9.30am 13 February 2019
Information Session

Interested participants are invited to attend an information session which
will provide a further explanation of the ROI process.

Information Session 1:
11am Thursday 24 January 2019
Information Session 2:
11.30am Saturday 9 February 2019

UrbanGrowth NSW to report back
to participants on outcome of 
ROI and next steps
Second half of 2019