Sydney Prepares to Fight Against Destruction of Glebe History


The brutalist-style Bidura Metropolitan Remand Centre in Glebe is facing demolition as a result of a recent development proposal, but not if the City of Sydney has anything to say about it.

The city is submitting the building to the Heritage Council requesting it be listed on the state heritage register and conserved under the Heritage Act. Last week, the Central Sydney Planning Committee voted to recommend the court and remand centre for heritage listing.

According to Lord Mayor Clover Moore, the city does not have powers to list the site on the state heritage register.

“We are calling on the Heritage Council to consider this,” she said.

“The NSW government might be happy to sell off buildings of historical and heritage value to make way for developers, but we are going to keep fighting for their protection and maintenance.

“Buildings of significant architectural merit such as the Bidura Metropolitan Remand Centre are a critical part of our city’s history and architectural heritage.”

[Related reading: Brutalist Masterpiece Sirius Saved from Demolition]

The centre currently belongs to Vision Land Glebe who purchased it from the government.


The developers plan to build an apartment block in its place, and have applied for development approval to dismantle the structure in order to proceed with construction.

Developer Visual Land Glebe lodged an application for the demolition of the centre and construction of a seven-storey residential tower which was rejected because of its negative impact on the heritage-listed Victorian villa that sits on the same site as the Bidura centre, with the developer submitting subsequent applications that will likely be heard by the Land and Environment Court in early 2018.

As a purpose-built remand centre and children’s courthouse designed in the 1970s and completed in 1983, the brutalist Bidura Metropolitan Remand Centre is a rare example of late 20th century architecture.

The National Trust of Australia and the Australian Institute of Architects have both recognised the Bidura Metropolitan Remand Centre’s heritage significance, but this does not offer the building any form of legal protection.

“Architecture less than 50 years old is at the greatest risk of demolition or being irrevocably altered, as their true cultural and aesthetic significance is yet to be widely recognised,” Australian Institute of Architects NSW chapter president Andrew Nimmo said.

The centre has become the second brutalist building in Sydney to have a campaign waged for its heritage listing, after the harbour bridge-adjacent social housing building “Sirius” was denied heritage status once again and put to market.

New broke this week that the Sirius building is officially up for sale, with an expected price tag of around $100 million.

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