Sunbury Community Arts and Cultural Precinct

  • Project statusPlanning
  • Project value8.276 Million
With support from the State Government, we are creating an arts and cultural precinct on Jacksons Hill in Sunbury.    

The idea for this project came about many years ago as part of the State Government’s broader plan to revitalise and activate Jacksons Hill.

The original site ear-marked for the precinct is still part of an ongoing complex planning and heritage process. However, in October 2022, we signed a long-term lease with the State Government for a nearby parcel of land (Lot C) which houses two buildings – Building 22 the former Female Refractory and Building 24.

We are now developing plans to shape the future of the precinct and to deliver Stage 1 of the project, involving Lot C. 

Concept plans

Following broad community consultation on the project in October last year, workshops with key groups in February and March this year, and community consultation in May, the final concept plans for Stage 1 of the project were endorsed at the Council Meeting on 24 June 2024.  

View concept plans(PDF, 29MB)  

The concept plans will help inform detailed designs, with construction commencing in early-2025. The works are expected to be complete in mid to late 2025. 

Rezoning the arts and cultural precinct

We’re writing to the Minister for Planning to seek a rezoning of the arts and cultural precinct land both for Stage 1 (the stage we’re working on now) and for future stages (the land around and including buildings 18, 19, 20 and 21). This change will allow us to create the arts and cultural precinct under the correct land-use zoning (PUZ6 – Public Use Zone – Local Government), and better protect the land for the future uses for our community. 

Future operating model

We’re exploring a future operating model for the precinct that is initially Council-led and then transitions to a community-led incorporated association within 12-18 months of Stage 1 opening (late 2025). The planning and capacity building for the operating model is being developed in partnership with our community and key stakeholders.  

A report reviewing the operations of the precinct and outlining the steps to transition to a community-led association will go to a future Council Meeting (within 12 months of the precinct opening) for consideration. 


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Project news, events and updates

Frequently asked questions

What is already happening at the precinct?

There is a thriving sense of community from a range of arts, theatre, heritage and community groups and 3NRG radio station. Art is created, community is entertained and informed and local history is nurtured and archived. The Sunbury Primary School, Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School and Sunbury Woodturners Group are nearby and also contribute to the sense of community.

What activities could take place?

The range of activities that could happen in the buildings in the precinct are:

Arts / Gallery

  • renovated existing arts spaces
  • including sculpture, pottery, painting
  • new arts spaces (e.g. digital arts)
  • presentation spaces
  • exhibitions

Business / Tourism

  • small business incubators
  • café and/or restaurant
  • cultural centre
  • micro-brewery/winery
  • small retail outlet showcasing
  • locally produced works
  • information hub


  • music festival
  • cultural festivals of food, arts, music,
  • farmers markets
  • indoor/outdoor community events
  • promotion of health through programming

Theatre/Performing Arts

  • rehearsal/development space
  • performance space
  • space for dance classes


  • meeting spaces
  • informal training spaces
  • multi-purpose spaces/flexible over time
  • civic function
  • consultants spaces (visiting services)
  • location for radio station
  • location for heritage and historical records and displays
  • location for wood work
  • youth activities including music production

Public Realm

  • community garden
  • cycling and walking destination

What is the approach for redevelopment?

The recommended approach to developing the site involves restoration works and enhancements to existing buildings, increasing their versatility and ease of use for a wide array of groups and individuals. These recommendations are based on a demand assessment, feasibility assessment, and are based on a mix of community, commercial, and tourism uses.

Firstly, there are maintenance and access issues that would need to be addressed. Over time expansion of buildings and changes are proposed to allow for increased dance and performing arts, incubator spaces for small business start-ups and artist uses, and food and beverage offerings to support the proposed tourism and commercial component of the precinct.

Why is this project taking a long time?

This site was previously owned by Victoria University (VU).  The State Government, who purchased the Jacksons Hill site in 2018 from Victoria University (VU), developed a masterplan to guide the re-purposing of the former university campus.

The masterplan involves the redevelopment and use of four buildings below, and divides the area up into different precincts for a range of uses including residential development, commercial activity, education and training as well as arts and culture:

  • Building 18 Bluestone Building
  • Building 19 Radio Station
  • Building 20 Boilerhouse Arts Centre
  • Building 21 Shed

Complex planning processes involving heritage and conservation have created delays in the State Government transferring the four buildings to Council (this transfer has not taken place yet).

However, in October 2022, a new opportunity came along, where Council was able to secure a long-term lease with the State Government for a near-by parcel of land which houses two buildings including the heritage-listed former Female Refractory Ward (or Building 22).

This opportunity has enabled Council to re-ignite the project and start to plan and develop Stage 1 of the Sunbury Community, Arts and Cultural Precinct on Jacksons Hill.

How is this Project being funded?

The estimated cost to develop this long term vision is $8.5 million.

Council will need to work with Government and other partners to attract funding for the redevelopment. Council wants to build on the energy and guidance of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and find interim means to support and enhance the precinct in its current form.

Contact details

Carina Doolan
Senior Project Manager


17 Circular Dr, Sunbury 3429  View Map

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