“The Block” colloquially refers to the parcel of land bounded by Caroline, Ivy, Louis and Eveleigh Street Redfern. It had been acquired by the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) with the assistance of a grant from the Whitlam Government in 1972 to provide low cost housing for their community.
The land that is owned today by the AHC includes a parcel of land straddling Lawson Street and Caroline Street and another parcel of land on the eastern side of Eveleigh Street.
At the core of the project, the AHC is redeveloping the site to accommodate 62 low rental dwellings. It is also developing a student college, art gallery, boxing gym, childcare facility, commercial and retail space. These buildings will be held long term and the profit from the facilities will be used to subsidise the low rental housing .
Housing will be constructed in a number of formats and sizes so that a variety of accommodation will be available to people in different life stages. The intention is that this will help to maintain the cohesiveness and stability of the community by providing the capacity to continue to accommodate community members as their personal circumstances change.
The student college is being established to help foster new leadership within the community. It will be a mixed college so that mentorship, integration and mutual appreciation can be encouraged.
An integral part of the proposal is the construction of a new public space that will be built over the railway corridor and will encompass the demolition of the wall that separates the precinct from Lawson Street and Redfern Railway station. It will form part of a series of open spaces that will connect the existing community centre the new buildings and the city at large. It is a gesture of welcome from the AHC, to invite Sydney’s citizens to come to Pemulwuy