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Changing heritage status of inner Sydney church

The Archdiocese of Sydney has withdrawn its 2002 request for heritage listing for Sacred Heart Church, Darlinghurst, following the announcement that the Sydney campus by the University of Notre Dame will use the site.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that Cardinal Pell is lobbying Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore to have the church dropped from the list of heritage sites being considered for protection.

The paper points out that the university needs a place to teach its medical students, and the small church is situated next to St Vincent's Hospital.

The comparatively recent merger of the City of South Sydney with the City of Sydney is thought to be of relevance in the changing of the church's heritage status.

The Archdiocese previously considered that the original form, design and materials of the Darlinghurst church, which dates from 1852, were "sufficiently significant" to be listed. But upon further consideration, it now argues that the Sacred Heart Church and the neighbouring school building are in poor condition and of "little architectural merit".

According to a letter it sent to the council this month the community "would be better served" by demolishing the existing buildings, erecting a new church "of an appropriate size", and saving the rest for a medical school, and some shops. It said there were numerous church-and-school buildings in Sydney and many were in better condition and "under less pressure from urban development".

A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell said the church's "present situation" was "not viable in the long term" and plans for the site had been discussed for a decade, including possible uses by St Vincent's Hospital.

Darlo church under threat (Sydney Morning Herald 25/8/04)

Pell under fire from canon law (The Australian 25/8/04)
St Vincent's doctors say Notre Dame link will require consultation (CathNEws 19/8/04)
Prime Minister announces Sydney Campus of Notre Dame (Transcript of Speech 1/8/04)
Cardinal Pell visits Notre Dame (University of Notre Dame Australia 6/8/04)
Notre Dame welcomes support for Sydney Campus (CathNews 2/8/04)
Turf wars sours these holy gates (Sydney Morning Herald 1/8/04)

25 Aug 2004