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This is from the Marrickville Council's Development & Assessment Meeting papers & shows the Queenbeyan ex-Station Master's cottage & the one in Sydenham

This is from the Marrickville Council’s Development & Assessment Meeting papers & shows the Queenbeyan ex-Station Master’s cottage & the one in Sydenham

In January 2011 I posted about a Development Application submitted by Railcorp to Marrickville Council to demolish the Sydenham Station Master’s cottage, remove mature 21 trees & remediate the land at 117 Railway Road Sydenham.

In April 2011 Marrickville Council recommended the Councillors refuse the application, “on the basis of a lack of information in relation to the heritage potential of the former station master’s cottage.”

In June 2011 Railcorp’s Development Application to demolish the Sydenham Station Master’s cottage went before the Sydney East Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP). The JRPP gave Railcorp one month to deliver a Heritage Report.

I have just received a letter from Marrickville Council saying that at the latest meeting of the JRPP, Railcorp’s Development Application was approved – no mention of the Heritage Report.

So there you have it – a historically important building for Sydenham that looks incredibly similar to the lovely Station Master’s Cottage one station down at Tempe, except it has been left to decay, will be knocked down.  21 mature trees will also be removed.  To say this is a disappointment would be an understatement.  Perhaps the next DA will be for a 10 or 20-storey unit development?

Yesterday the Development Application to demolish the Sydenham Station Master’s cottage went before the Joint Regional Planning Panel.  Four residents & a representative from Marrickville Heritage Society spoke to the panel against Railcorp’s application arguing that the cottage was a significant part of Sydenham’s history & was no different in architectural design to a number of heritage-listed Station Master’s cottages around NSW that have been renovated & retained.  They also fought to save the 21 mature trees on the site.

The JRPP gave Railcorp one month to deliver a heritage (as opposed to structural) report.

A community member who attended the meeting said that the Solicitors for Railcorp argued that the DA was inappropriate for the JRPP & should have been decided by Marrickville Council.  Perhaps they are unaware that all Marrickville Councillors voted against demolishing the cottage saying, “the preservation of this building is fundamental.”

Sydenham lost many of its buildings for the Third Runway. To lose yet another public asset & 21 mature trees is something that the community strongly opposes.

I wrote about this previously ––-5th-april-2011-part-2/

The Station Master's cottage at Sydenham was last occupied in 2005.

The Tempe Station Master's cottage is heritage-listed.

This was the Development Assessment & Committee Meeting. The following is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine. Part 1 can be read here ––-5th-april-2011-part-1/

117 Railway Road Sydenham – Crown Development Application by Railcorp to demolish the former Station Master’s cottage, remove 21 trees & remediate the land.

1 man spoke in favour of the DA: My house was constructed 6 years ago. I have sympathy for Railcorp because of my problems. My house was built about 12 years later. It had white ants, damage problems, family had ill health because of rising damp. The house is pretty dilapidated. The crux of my concern is the ‘do nothing.’ What do you do if you do nothing?  The house is virtually unusable. A layer of soil was brought in which is standard today. It’s seriously contaminated land & trees have grown into that fill. There is no win/win on this. You are trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

2 local women spoke against approving the DA: There are loads of reasons why Sydenham residents oppose this DA. We are concerned with potential heritage considerations. Sydenham lost much of its heart & was literally gutted when the Third Runway was built, so we don’t have much heritage left. Railcorp could use the $450,000 to remove the asbestos & remediate the soil. We have cargo trains, planes, cars & now Marrickville Metro. We don’t need more parking congestion or noise pollution. We would like Railcorp to hear us loud & clear that they have let the cottage deteriorate.

There has been no actual physical consultation with the community by Railcorp, no offer to meet, no assurance of any compensation if any property damage occurs. We all have this soil problem. Just put  a layer of topsoil on over the top.  15 species of native birds live in these trees. The large trees provide a sound buffer from 6 railway tracks. We want the trees & the historical nature of the property retained. I have lived here since 1998. My son always had to be careful of the Station Master (living in the cottage). This house was last occupied in 2005.

A 314-signature petition from the Sydenham community to save the Station Master’s cottage was submitted to Council.

All Councillors were very supportive of retaining the Station Master’s Cottage saying the preservation of this building is fundamental. The new Marrickville LEP changed the zoning so that units could be built on the land, however it was felt that this property was overlooked. The asbestos is not a problem because the sheeting is intact. Neither Railcorp nor Marrickville Council have done a heritage assessment on the property. Many of the Councillors expressed that the property should be available for a business to allow public use.

There were 5 amendments. The Gallery was unable to read the screen so I think the following is to happen.  Representatives from Council & the community will try to meet with the Minister, Council will do a report on the heritage value of the property & Council will refer the DA to the JRPP recommending refusal. Council will write a report that supports retaining the cottage.   Because it is a Crown Development Application Council is unsure whether the community will be able to put in submissions to the JRPP.  The vote was unanimous.

This is from the Marrickville Council's Development Assessment & Committee Meeting papers & shows the Queenbeyan ex-Station Master's cottage & the one in Sydenham

Here is the Station Master's cottage at Tempe. Apart from being renovated, is there much difference in the designs? There is no doubt that this building is a historical asset to the community

Station Master's house in Sydenham has been left to decay

Re: the Development Application by Railcorp to demolish the Station Master’s house at Sydenham & remove 21 mature trees –

I have been informed that Marrickville Council has extended the period for objections from the community until this Friday 28th January 2011.

I’ve had a look at the property. The house has been left to decay, but it doesn’t look beyond repairing.  I had expected it to look in worse repair.  Many of the trees on the property are very large & there were lots of birds.

Railcorp’s DA says it will cost $450,000 to demolish everything & remediate the soil.  With that kind of money you could renovate & keep a piece of Sydenham’s history & have change left over.  Having looked at the gorgeous & very similar in design, renovated Station Master’s house at Tempe, I think it is imperative that both the Sydenham cottage & the trees are retained.  Please consider sending in a submission.  It can be a simple statement.  We cannot keep losing our historical houses & the trees that surround them at a rate of knots.

I last wrote about this DA here –

The Station Master's house in Tempe looks very similar in design to the one in Sydenham

Showing some of the trees to be removed at the Station Master's house in Sydenham

I have just been told of a DA submitted by Railcorp to Marrickville Council to demolish the Station Master’s house, remove 21 trees & remediate the land at 117 Railway Road Sydenham.  I cannot see any indication in the papers of what Railcorp intends to use the land for once they have cleared it & done remediation of the soil.

Problem is the removal of a lovely old Station Master’s house which means another loss of the local area’s history as well as the removal of the 21 mature trees that are on the property.

The Development Application can be downloaded here –

If you would like to see the property & the trees, Kass Finlay McAuliffe has created a fabulous YouTube video as part of her objection.  The video shows the large amount of birds & other insects, including Monarch butterflies that populate the site.  It’s well worth a look –

Last year, St Vincent’s de Paul in Lewisham were given permission via a DA to remove a similar amount of trees from the front of their property.  After being told that Long-Nosed Bandicoots lived in this area & with help from WIRES, St Vincent’s de Paul agreed to keep a number of their trees. Perhaps Railcorp can do the same.

Does Railcorp really need to remove all the trees from this property?  How does the removal of so many mature trees on one site fit with Marrickville Council’s Diversity Policy?

The Development Application ID is DA201000599 & the applicant is Rail Corporation Of NSW.

Unfortunately, the deadline for objections is today. A simple submission can be emailed to Marrickville Council at – Thank you.



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