Sydney’s Carriageworks Goes Into Voluntary Administration: Will The Opera House Save The Day?

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that Covid-19 takes no prisoners. In another pandemic related blow, Sydney’s beloved Art Centre, Carriageworks, has gone into voluntary administration.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Carriageworks has been in Sydney’s arts and culture community for years, maintaining its high reputation and attracting one million visitors a year to its site in Redfern.

The centre confirmed that they have gone into voluntary administration amid the coronavirus pandemic via social media, making them the first of Sydney’s major cultural institutions to collapse during this pandemic, after the shutdown forced the cancellation of major events including the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and Vivid shows.


Chief Executive, Blair French, confirmed all of Carriageworks’ casual staff and half its permanent staff have been stood down.

“With restrictions on social gatherings likely to remain in place for some time to come, the Board determined that it had no alternative but to place the company into Voluntary Administration,” French said.

The Sydney Opera House is now being considered, in a proposal by the Berekilian government, to take over operations at Carriageworks.

Interestingly, the government was pushing for the multi-arts venue to be handed to the Opera House before administrators were called due to poor finances. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, should Carriageworks corporate entity be dissolved, the government would be able to put the lease to tender.

Labor’s treasury spokesman Walt Secord expressed his shock that the government had allowed Carriageworkds to collapse and called for an emergency rescue package for the arts sector.

 “Carriageworks is the tip of the iceberg; there are so many other arts groups and organisations as well as individuals who are in absolute strife and at risk of going the same way as Carriageworks, This entire sector of the community has been ignored by the government … they have been completely left out in the cold, without the government offering a single cent of support,” Secord said.

With Carriageworks close to shambles, it looks like we’ll need to keep an eye on all of Sydney’s beloved institutions to see how the coronavirus pandemic is treating them.

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