Open Letter From A Demolished Sydney Guest Curator

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Every city has a fascinating past.

Demolished Sydney will explore Sydney's architectural history, and explore its constant state of building, unbuilding and rebuilding.

Here, Guest Curator Dr Nicola Teffer writes an open letter about the exhibition.

“Five years ago I was asked to curate the exhibition Demolished Sydney, which looks at the demolitions that have shaped today’s city. Faced with the daunting prospect of surveying over 200 years of built heritage, I decided to look at a range of building types – a theatre, a hotel, a church, a bank, a brewery, a skyscraper – and consider the driving forces that constructed and then demolished them. For example, at Bennelong Point, a Georgian fort made obsolete by the construction of Fort Denison was demolished to build a tramshed, which was demolished 50 years later when trams were replaced by buses.

It's interesting to consider what might have been if that tramshed had been erected elsewhere: perhaps we'd still have a Macquarie-era fort on that site, but no Opera House, and our city would be very different today. These sorts of speculations on the city we had, the city we have and the city we want for the future are at the heart of the exhibition.

It shows that heritage is a shifting concept – what's heritage to one person may not be heritage to another, and what’s not heritage today may yet be heritage tomorrow.

It's a continual assessment of the character and identity of our city, and what it says about us as a culture, as a society, and as citizens. Demolished Sydney is a contribution to that ongoing conversation, and I hope it gets everyone thinking and talking about the city we have, and the city we want.”
- Dr Nicola Teffer


Demolished Sydney is on display at Museum Of Sydney until 17 April.

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