Inside the proposal to turn Cockatoo Island into an 'art island'

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Inside the proposal to turn Cockatoo Island into an 'art island' | DeborahSnow

In 2017 two of Sydney’s best-connected businessmen, both avid art collectors, quietly took a proposition to the board of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the Commonwealth-owned guardian of some of the most iconic sites around the harbour.

In 2017 Berg, after private discussions with another board member, met with the chair of the trust, Kevin McCann, who was a former chair of Macquarie Bank, and the trust’s chief executive, Mary Darwell. McCann and Berg were acquainted socially and through their business connections. The foundation’s constitution said it aimed to “restore, conserve and maintain the heritage of Cockatoo island … and facilitate its appreciation by the public”; that it would take “all necessary steps to acquire the property for the purposes of [a] museum”; and that it should aim to “lease buildings or areas of land for, and to operate, retail shops, marinas, pop-up stores, and/or other commercial enterprises”.“We were not advised that the foundation was being established,” he told the.

In its submission to the reviewers, the trust says it wants to be able to let out some assets for up to 49 years “in limited circumstances and subject to ministerial approval”. The trust, he added, had no intention of parting with Cockatoo Island to the Berg/Goldberg group or “any other private or public agency”.


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DeborahSnow More wasted money?

DeborahSnow Please, go for it … We can never have enough art, artists or places to see they both. art artists artwork

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