Lifeline for Sydney's Carriageworks

The Carriageworks, the landmark heritage arts precinct in Sydney, has been saved by philanthropists.
The Carriageworks, the landmark heritage arts precinct in Sydney, has been saved by philanthropists.

A group of philanthropists has given Sydney's heritage arts and cultural hub Carriageworks a multimillion-dollar lifeline, allowing the venue to remain open.

The donors include major art collector Geoff Ainsworth and his wife Johanna Featherstone, Kerr Neilson, Michael Gonski and the Packer Family Foundation.

The group has pledged to ensure the survival of the Eveleigh-based industrial chic facility after its board announced in May it had entered voluntary administration amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin on Friday announced the philanthropists had given the venue a "multimillion-dollar lifeline".

"We are delighted with this outcome," he said in a statement.

"At the heart of it, we are excited for the resident companies of Carriageworks who will also greatly benefit from this announcement."

The NSW government has committed to a 10-year lease and a five-year funding agreement with Carriageworks.

The decommissioned Eveleigh Carriage Workshops site, built in the 1880s, has been used for Sydney's A-list arts events since 2003 and recent major events at Carriageworks cancelled during the pandemic included: the Sydney Writers' Festival, Australian Fashion Week and activities connected to Vivid Sydney.

The board in May said it generated three-quarters of its revenue from private funding, particularly through on-site events and programs.

Such events were made impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic and government funding - roughly a quarter of Carriageworks' revenue - could not fill the gap.

Australian Associated Press