From the Newsroom

Image: Emma Pritchard

Plans to unlock former Grafton Gaol site

The first step towards repurposing the former Grafton Gaol to deliver better social, health and economic benefits to the community, has
been made by the NSW Government.

A new subdivision plan for the 130-year-old site has been lodged with Clarence Valley Council (CVC) to pave the way for new future uses made possible under government property policies. Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the Government has consulted with CVC, Grafton Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC), and other stakeholders to identify ways the site can be reused to benefit the whole community. Ms Pavey said under the proposal, a portion of the site comprising the old market garden and industrial buildings will be transferred to the Grafton Ngerrie LALC to support better outcomes for the Aboriginal community, and successfully resolve an Aboriginal land claim. Another parcel of land adjacent to Grafton Base Hospital will be transferred to NSW Health and reserved for the future expansion of health services in the area, while the south-eastern portion of the site which comprises significant heritage items, will be set aside for future adaptive reuse with heritage protections in place to protect the colonial architecture.

“I want to thank the LALC for their support in helping us ensure the quality, character and significance of the heritage items on the site will be preserved for future generations, while opening the door to new opportunities to revitalise the site,” Ms Pavey said. Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said subdividing the site was the first step in revitalising an important community landmark.

“If approved, the proposal will allow owners of the newly created land parcels to prepare plans for their portion of the site which will be subject to the planning approval and community consultation process,” he said. NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) Chair Anne Dennis said the NSWALC, and the Government have worked together to ensure all stakeholders are considered in plans to repurpose the site, as well as resolving the outstanding land claim.

“This is the beginning of a very exciting future for the former Grafton Gaol,” she said. Grafton Ngerrie LALC Deputy Chair Maurice Maher said the LALC looked forward to giving the site a useful purpose.

“Unlocking the former Grafton Gaol gives us a new opportunity to continue to provide for the cultural, social and economic needs of our
members and Grafton’s Aboriginal community, as well as the broader Grafton community,” he said.

“My Board is considering productive options for the site and will consult with our membership as soon as it is safe to meet and