The site of the Addison Road Community Centre was originally a natural wetland known as the Gumbramorra Swamp which was drained in 1890. The original residents of this area were the Indigenous Cadigal Wangal people who lived in the area for more than 40,000 years. The Cadigal were a clan of the Darug people and spoke the coastal Eora language. Clans of the area included the Wangal, the Kameygal and the Bediagal. Incredibly, despite massive disruption to the first Australians through colonisation, we believe there are still descendants of the Cadigal alive and living in this area today. More information can be found at the Cadigal Wangal website: http://cadigalwangal.org.au/
After the wetland was drained, the site was first utilised as a farm which was then converted into an Army Barracks in 1913 and remained in use by the military until after the Vietnam War. The location of ARCC’s current carpark was in fact the military’s parade ground. Other indications of the past include:
- The Art Gallery was a converted stables (notice the doors and loft remnants of that time)
- Brick lock up for an old armoury
- The large boom gates generally not in use today
- The ‘stone shed’ which was the ammunition store
- The large warehouse style buildings made of galvanised iron sheeting
After the army barracks were decommissioned in the early 1970′s, the space was given over to the community to utilise, first as an Immigration Centre and then as a General Community Centre in 1976.
Recent History of The Addison Road Community Centre
During the 1990′s the ARCC recognised its major role was to improve the management of the site and its facilities for the benefit of members and the wider community, and to ensure that the centre remained with the community. The ARCC took a number of important steps during this period:
- In 1998 it reformed its governance structure, replacing a management committee comprising a representative of each member organisation with a smaller Board that includes four Directors elected from members, two Directors elected by members who are honorary members (community representatives) and Marrickville Council. [This structure was then amended and refined in 2005].
- Over 2000 and 2001 ARCC prepared a corporate plan that focussed on securing the future of the site, and connecting it with the wider community and developed a plan of management to provide a framework for improving the quality of the site. The ARCC was granted a 50 year lease in 2003 by the NSW State Government ensuring its ongoing role in the life of the Inner West, Sydney and Australia generally. The ARCC is a major contributor to social capital in the inner west of Sydney but also makes a significant contribution to the economy with over 100 people employed by member organisations at the centre.
- Today ARCC, in consultation with current Members, Associate Members and friends have envisioned a new 5 year plan based on the unique cultural diversity at the Centre. Issues of governance and process, infrastructure and events, ideas and designs have been incorporated into our vision that reflects the people and organisations.
This section covers the Centre’s story over the last 30 years up until today and has many gaps (especially 1970-1995). If you have interesting history to contribute to this section please contact us at email@example.com