Parramatta Mercy Sisters Speak up for Heritage Preservation

Occupying the site at 6 Victoria Rd Parramatta since 1888, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta have seen much change in Parramatta and the surrounding environs over the past 128 years. It is from this perspective, that the Sisters have chosen to make a submission to the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 Inquiry into Crown Lands.

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Sisters at an October 2015 Rally Oposing Development in Parramatta's Heritage Precinct

In her submission, Sr Catherine Ryan, Congregation Leader of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, expresses the Sisters' opposition to the proposed development on the site of the War Memorial Pool and around the significant heritage precinct which encompasses the landscape of the 1848 Cumberland Hospital, the 1818 Female Factory, the 1866 Wisteria Gardens, the 1835 Parramatta Gaol and the 1841 former Roman Catholic Orphan School redeveloped as the Parramatta Girl’s Home in 1887.

The Sisters of Mercy came to Parramatta in 1888 and have a strong connection to and appreciation of the history and culture of this early white Australian settlement. The Sisters were untiring in their efforts to establish schools and, in the early days, to visit the asylum hospitals, the Parramatta Girls’ Home and the Parramatta Gaol in order to bring compassion and comfort to the people suffering within the walls of these institutions.

We have come to understand and respect more recently the importance of the historic Aboriginal presence in the area that continues to the present. Evidence of this can be seen in sections of the precinct under threat by the proposed development.

The history and culture of such places should never be compromised by unsympathetic and inappropriate development to satisfy purely private commercial benefit.

The Sisters call for the State Government to pause the current process spearheaded by UrbanGrowth NSW to allow for genuine community consultation.

To read the full text of the Sisters of Mercy Submission letter, please click the file below.

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