• 1 July 2021

Heritage-listed homeless shelter transformed by $12m refurbishment

The 174-year-old, heritage-listed, Wesley Edward Eagar Centre has undergone a major refurbishment to dramatically upgrade its emergency accommodation facilities, which have played a vital role in supporting the most vulnerable in the Surry Hills community since first opening in 1979.

Designed by architects Scott Caver with the aim to inspire hope and dignity in residents who seek refuge in the emergency accommodation, this $12 million refurbishment has seen the tired green walls in the main communal space redecorated in peaceful neutral shades, whilst new large windows have been installed to provide more natural light. Providing space for up to 40 residents at a time, who each pay $25 a night for board and breakfast, the single-bed rooms have been doubled in size and now include ensuite bathroom facilities, a desk, lockable safe and personal storage. A kitchenette and laundry have been installed on each eight-resident floor, replacing the previous communal laundry in the basement and the outdated shared bathrooms. The 12-month project also saw the historic facade of the 1847 sandstone chapel being restored.

Waterman’s team provided a range of engineering consultancy services including electrical, mechanical, fire, hydraulics, vertical transportation and specialist lighting.

Discussing the positive impact of the refurbishment in a recent statement, Wesley Mission chief executive officer and superintendent, Reverend Stu Cameron said: “For many, it would be the first time in a long time that they will have enjoyed their own personal retreat. It communicates a sense of dignity and worth and, we hope, aspiration towards more permanent housing. We hope it helps empower them to break the cycle of homelessness.”

Waterman’s Director, Richard Nicoliello, said: “This has been an inspiring project to be a part of and is something which will help change the lives of many people. We are proud to have played a role in re-shaping this community facility, enabling it to have a positive impact on the people of Surry Hills for years to come.”

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