Old Camden Police Station changes hands

The old Camden Police Station is located next door to the historic Macaria building and Camden Court House. Pictures: Google Maps
The old Camden Police Station is located next door to the historic Macaria building and Camden Court House. Pictures: Google Maps

One of Camden's most historic and iconic buildings could soon have a new lease on life.

The old Camden Police Station on John Street has lain dormant since the Narellan Police Station was opened in 2011.

The old station, originally built in 1878, forms a part of Camden's heritage precinct and its future use has been speculated for many years.

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves released a statement on Friday to announce that the NSW Government no longer owned the site.

He said an Aboriginal Land Claim was lodged with the Aboriginal Land Rights Registrar by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council on December 19, 2016.

The claim was made in relation to buildings within the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council area being the Camden Police Station and Camden Court House on John Street, Camden.

"Following investigation of the claim, it was determined in accordance with the provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, that Camden Police Station was to be granted to the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council," Mr Sidgreaves statement said.

"The Camden Court House was refused and remains Crown Land, vested in Her Majesty.

"The Camden Police Station was transferred in freehold title to the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council on June 20, 2020."

Camden resident Greg Frawley wrote to Mr Sidgreaves last week to advocate for the old police building to be transformed into a heritage arts and crafts centre for the community.

He said he was not aware of the Aboriginal Land Claim on the building until receiving the statement from Mr Sidgreaves last Friday.

"The Old Camden Police Station has now been granted to a local Indigenous community... therefore is no longer Crown land," he said.

"Therefore my original proposal to redevelop a heritage craft centre in the old police station has been added to, and transferred to the redevelop the Undercroft at the Camden Civic Centre as a Creative Visual Arts and Crafts resource centre for the whole community.

The John Street police station when it was in use in 2009.

The John Street police station when it was in use in 2009.

"There is plenty of useable space in and around the Undercroft to combine and accommodate the Visual Arts and Creative Crafts areas - and it can be done in stages depending on available funding.

"The Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council may use the Old Police Station as an Indigenous Cultural and Arts Centre, operating independently and/or in collaboration with the Camden Civic Centre.

"Obviously the redevelopment of the Undercroft requires expert planning and consultation with existing arts centres in various LGAs and institutions to achieve the optimum design."

Mr Frawley said the historic police station was ideally placed to showcase indigenous art.

"Even though the old police station is not available I still think it is perfectly positioned to attract residents of all ages to share and learn new skills in a variety of arts and crafts [including,] traditional Indigenous, traditional Australian, contemporary Indigenous, contemporary Australian and urban Indigenous styles," he said.

"There is plenty of parking and transport links and within the commercial centre of Camden with a great location for researching designs and craft techniques in the Library across the road.

"The heritage building itself has a pleasing street presence and domestic scale that is inviting.

"Spaces already exist to accommodate most craft activities - plus a retail area, exhibition galleries and meeting rooms."

It is not yet known what the old police station building will be used for in future.

The Advertiser has reached out to the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council for comment.