Monday, January 18, 2016

More on Millers Point

On January 14th 2016 the Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece by Professor Alan Morris, called "Millers Point residents deserve compassion". It points out that in making its decision to sell off public housing in Millers Point, the NSW Government ignored a report it asked for on the potential impact of the sales on the older residents in that community:
The report drew on a Swedish study that examined the mortality rates of 22,579 older people who had moved or not moved. The authors found that there was no difference in the mortality rates of people who had moved voluntarily and those who had not moved, but they did find "an increased risk of death among those who are exposed to urban renewal, both in the case of temporary evacuation and permanent moves".
Responses the the article drew on the rich heritage of the community, such as this letter to the editor from Dawes Point resident Chris Hinkley (published here):
Retain unique village toonlet - The government has achieved 82 per cent of the relocation of tenants from Millers Point ("Millers point residents deserve more compassion", January 15). Sales of the properties have greatly exceeded expectations. The government should now be more than satisfied with this outcome, and negotiate with the community on how to keep the remainder of the tenants in this heritage-listed, living-heritage community. Retaining this community is essential to keeping a rare example of our social history, which teaches us about our past and who we are as a people. This would be a win-win situation, with the government having the money to build new public housing and for Sydney to retain that unique village, registered as "living heritage".Chris Hinkley Dawes Point
... And this post on the Save Millers Point Facebook Page:
Just a few years ago Housing NSW’s own publication, Millers Point Oral History Project, reported: ‘Millers Point … has a very integrated community who love living there and have a sense of belonging and allegiance to the place. … The residents have a rich reservoir of memories of living at the Point, going, in some cases, as far back as six generations. They were born, worked, lived and died in the houses at Millers Point. They also have a strong sense of history and heritage. It’s a community within a community where everyone knew each other through work and place of living ...’ But today the same Department is destroying this community, because suddenly the properties are worth gold. But it’s not too late for the NSW Government to pull back and give these older residents the option of staying.
This prompted an interesting discovery. Until at least October 2015 a link to a report on the Millers Point Oral History Project could be found on the FACS Housing website - but it now seems to have been removed.

Perhaps it didn't survive the recent redesign of the site?

In any case, the Millers Point Oral History Project report will not be lost to a black hole in the internet - it can be found here. And since making this discovery, the curator of has undertaken to upload the project so that it may never be forgotten again. We understand it may take some time for all of the information to be uploaded, so it's worth bookmarking the site and coming back for another look some time down the line.

For more background and commentary from the TU regarding the sell-off of public housing in Millers Point and The Rocks, visit these links here and here.

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