Opinion: Hostility to Move Powerhouse is Horribly Familiar

The Powerhouse Museum was founded in the late 1800s and interestingly this was about the same time as the very first Sydney Children’s Hospital was established. 

Our growing colony had finally decided that it would celebrate the scientific and discovery spirit of the age by founding two fine institutions.

For most of their history, these grand institutions sat pretty close to the centre of the Sydney CBD.  

Eventually, the Children’s Hospital moved to a better and more central location in a contemporary building in Westmead.  

But we have seen when governments take on a status quo and build new infrastructure where it is needed, they face a backlash. 

There was initially a huge backlash in the 1980s towards the then Labor Government when it wanted to move beds to the west. 

There were questions asked about how the Children’s Hospital could be in Western Sydney.

We heard more criticism against Western Sydney from some of those in the legal profession, this time when the courts were established in Parramatta. 

And once again, we see backlash coming from the very few who do not want the Powerhouse in Western Sydney.

The decision to move the Powerhouse will provide Sydney with an iconic, world class building that can show more of the collection, open up new audiences and display items in exciting and contemporary ways. 

If you stumbled into the Upper House inquiry yesterday, you could have been confused that you were in a witch hunt back in Salem. 

I want to set the record straight after hearing a few criticisms lately -  the new museum will not flood, it is above any flood zone. 

We are expecting greater patronage and bigger crowds. This is a museum that is not fed by international tourists. 

Another mistruth coming from critics is that the collection will be destroyed – it won’t. Collections roam the world on loan - these curator types really look after the objects.  

I guarantee that just like the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, we will look back in years to come and wonder how we could have survived in a building that had outgrown itself. 

This appeared in the Daily Telegraph on May 29, 2018. 

David Borger

Western Sydney Director

David led the Sydney Business Chamber campaign in support of the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek including establishing the Western Sydney Airport Alliance. He has collaborated with chief executive officers, managing partners and Vice Chancellors to support campaigns like the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, the Westmead and Liverpool Innovation Districts, Sydney Olympic Park, Parramatta Light Rail and West Metro. Prior to this, he served as the Minister for Roads, Minister assisting the Minister for Transport and Roads in the NSW Labor Government, Minister for Housing, as well as Minister for Western Sydney.