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    Sydney book launch celebrates Sirius, the city’s embattled Brutalist icon

    Nicholas Rider

    A new book is the latest contribution in a series of creative events and exhibitions that are celebrating Sydney’s endangered Brutalist icon, the Sirius building.

    Authored by John Dunn, Ben Peake and Amiera Piscopo, Sirius documents the Tao Gofers-designed social housing complex, along with its residents.

    The authors – who are all members of the Save Our Sirius Foundation – began writing and compiling the book in July. A number of photographers, artists and writers also contributed material. 

    The crowdfunded book gives a comprehensive history of the embattled structure, beginning in the 1970s and culminating in the court judgment on 25 July 2017, which saw former heritage minister Mark Speakerman’s original refusal to list Sirius as a heritage building overturned.

    Sirius was launched by Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore, at Kinokuniya bookstore in Sydney last Wednesday night. At the book launch, the three authors spoke to City of Sydney councillor Jess Scully.

    According to Moore, the new book is a positive contribution towards the Save Our Sirius campaign.

    “If you believe Sydney should be more than just an enclave for the rich, then this is a fight you should be part of. Whether you love the look of Sirius or not, the issues in play here are far deeper than aesthetics,” she says.

    “At the heart of it, the Berejiklian [NSW] state government [doesn’t] believe low income people should be living in the city (and certainly not with harbour views) and they’re pushing them out to the city fringe, far from their communities, transport networks, employment and other support services.

    “But Sirius housed the tightknit community that fought to protect The Rocks in the ‘70s, local residents whose roots go back to the early colony. And this building was purpose-built to house them after those very important fights.”

    In an unplanned turn of events, the book’s release followed the announcement in late October that Sirius had yet again been denied a heritage listing.

    This Wednesday, Sydney’s Gleebooks will host a panel discussion with Gofers and Australian broadcaster and comedian, Tim Ross. It will be chaired by Shaun Carter, chairman of the Save Our Sirius foundation. 

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