Protesters march on office of Hawkesbury MP over "destruction" of Thompson Square

Protesters have marched on the office of Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet against what they said was the "destruction" of Thompson Square.

About 30 protesters brandished signs and banners as they made their way to Mr Perrottet’s electorate office about 10am Wednesday, September 5.

March: The protesters march on the Richmond office of Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet. Picture: Supplied.

March: The protesters march on the Richmond office of Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet. Picture: Supplied.

Community activist Kim Smith said the protesters were stopped from going inside the office, and instead read out an open letter to Mr Perrottet outside published in the Hawkesbury Gazette (5.9.18, p19).

“[Mr Perrottet] is avoiding community consultation with people objecting to what is happening in the square,” she told the Gazette after the protest.

The protesters were angry over Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) work to remove box drains from Thompson Square - constructed in 1814 on the orders of Governor Macquarie -  as part of the Windsor Bridge Replacement Project, and have called for an immediate halt to the work.

Mr Perrottet was not in his electorate office at the time of the protest, however representative Robyn Preston came outside to address the group.

She spoke with the protesters and listened to their concerns, telling the group she understood the bricks were being carefully removed and would be kept for historical purposes.

Ms Preston gave the group an assurance she would pass on a request to Roads Minister Melinda Pavey to find out where the bricks might eventually be on public display.

A spokesman for Ms Pavey said archaeological experts engaged by the RMS “have started carefully salvaging the brick box drains and are storing retained bricks in an off-site heritage storage facility”.

“Detailed archival recording of the three brick box drains was completed earlier this year. Archaeological experts have identified a one-metre section of the brick box drain and have carefully recorded and dismantled the bricks for future interpretation and potential display in an appropriate location,” he said in a statement.

“RMS will continue to work closely with the community, heritage experts and other key stakeholders to determine the best way to interpret and document the brick box drains and other heritage items for the benefit of current and future generations.”

But Ms Smith said the protesters wanted an immediate halt to the project.

“Too much damage has been done down there, they are digging at the top of the barrel drain,” Ms Smith said.

“They’re destroying our history. The barrel drains should not be getting dug up and destroyed with concrete.

“We want Mr Perrottet to meet with the community, come to Thompson Square, come and have a look at what they’re doing to the electorate, but we can’t get past the watchdog at the front door.”