Sunbury Community, Arts and Cultural Precinct

  • Project statusPlanning
  • Project value$8.5 million
With support from the State Government, we are planning to create an arts and cultural precinct on Jacksons Hill in Sunbury.  

Have your say at our online workshops

We are really keen to make sure we talk to and engage with as many community, arts and cultural groups as we can. 

We have held two online stakeholder workshops already, with a range of groups represented. We'll be running an additional workshop and encourage you to come along. 

Thursday 23 November, 6pm – 7:30pm (register by clicking on the below link)

Visit our Participate webpage for more information about other ways that you can provide your feedback. 

What we're doing

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 arts precinct is still part of an ongoing complex planning and heritage process. However, in October 2022, a new opportunity came along. Council have been able to secure a long-term lease with the State Government for a nearby parcel of land which houses two buildings including the heritage-listed former Female Refractory Ward (also known as Building 22).

This opportunity has enabled Council to reignite the project and start to plan and develop Stage 1 of the Sunbury Community, Arts and Cultural Precinct (SCACP) on Jacksons Hill.

Project update

Over the past 12 months, we’ve been undertaking preservation and clean up works on Building 22 and the surrounding grounds to get the space ready for the community to come and visit the site. These works are also important to make sure we continue to protect and preserve Building 22.

The works have included roof and chimney repairs, securing guttering, drainage upgrades, weather and pest proofing the building, mowing and cleaning up overgrown vegetation.


This project is being delivered in partnership between Hume City Council and the Victorian Government.

The Vision for the Precinct

The vision for the Sunbury Community, Arts and Cultural Precinct is to create a destination that preserves and celebrates Sunbury’s significant cultural heritage and supports arts, community, cultural, social and learning activities that are connected, creative, vibrant, inviting and valued. The vision was created as a result of consultation with stakeholders and the wider community. Hume City Council endorsed the vision in February 2014.

The following project principles were also endorsed to ensure we achieve the vision:

1. Preserved and Enhanced Buildings

  • Retain heritage values
  • Restore and enhance the capabilities of the buildings
  • Ensure maximum use of all the buildings

2. Expanded Programs and Activities

  • Build on the strengths of existing arts and community activities
  • Expand the breadth of activities at the site
  • Provide for current and future changing community needs
  • Consider complementary commercial uses

3. Community Involvement

  • Ensure community is involved in planning, delivery and future operations of the precinct
  • Ensure the site serves a broad and diverse range of people across age groups and cultural backgrounds

4. Creating a Sense of Place

  • Create a unified identity for the precinct
  • Value and celebrate the heritage and history of the precinct
  • Acknowledge Aboriginal history of the area
  • Enhance the natural assets at the precinct
  • Improve the access to and around the precinct

Community Advisory Group (CAG)

This project has a dedicated Community Advisory Committee (CAG) to help inform and guide Council in the planning and development of the arts and cultural precinct.

The role and responsibility of the CAG is to:

  • build on the visioning work already completed
  • consider feedback and ideas from the community
  • communicate with external stakeholders to generate ideas and gather views about needs and expectations, ideas and options for the site champion the project within the local community. 

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 $10 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.



20 Boilerhouse Road, Sunbury 3429  View Map

Google Map