Sydney will soon be home to New South Wales’ first museum dedicated to the history of Chinese people in Australia.
The Museum of Chinese in Australia (MOCA) will be a cultural centre and museum space dedicated to the discovery, preservation and promotion of the history of Chinese people in Australia.
Today Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said relocating the City’s Haymarket library branch to Darling Square presented an opportunity to repurpose its three-storey 744 George Street, and ensure ongoing community benefit.
“The Museum of Chinese in Australia will feature a gallery and exhibition space, programming activities, community spaces for meetings and events, an artist in residence program, a cafe and shop,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Haymarket is the home of our city’s oldest and largest Chinatown, so it’s fitting that this is where we will create a centre for the preservation of our Chinese history.”
The Lord Mayor also commented that the museum will play an important role in promoting and sharing the story of Chinese settlers and their descendants, as well as understanding and celebrating their challenges, contributions and achievements.
“MOCA will become a place to help to share the past, culture and values of our Chinese community, which has contributed so much to our city.”
Dr John Yu AC, former Australian of the Year and MOCA President said the Chinese community were very excited to have a space to share their history.
“This is an opportunity the City has given us. We are part of the rich heritage of Sydney.”
He added that “the Chinese community has a deep sense of pride in the growth of Sydney and it is important we share this with other Australians”.
MOCA will feature a dedicated gallery space and additional activations across the venue including a rotating exhibition program. The museum will also offer educational experiences as well as a collection of reference materials, books and journals.
Dedicated spaces will enable community groups to hold events, workshops and meetings and a studio space will feature artistic programs and artist in residence projects.
It is expected that Chinese Australian inspired baked goods will be on offer at the cafe and visitors will be able to pick up souvenirs, books and mementos at the museum shop.
The City of Sydney selected MOCA to create the new community hub in Haymarket following an expression of interest (EOI) process last year.
The City invited applications from organisations with ideas to transform the three-storey Victorian sandstone building after the Haymarket library branch was relocated to Darling Square Library in October 2019.
MOCA’s proposal was selected from 13 applications received through an EOI process which was managed by an independent probity advisor.
It is the first time the property has been made available through the City’s accommodation grants program, which supports community, cultural, economic and sustainability-focused organisations by providing accommodation in City-owned buildings either rent-free or below-market rent.