Maclean Street in Woolloomooloo will be renamed Juanita Gardens in honour of prominent Sydney activist Juanita Nielsen, who disappeared almost 40 years ago while campaigning to protect the area’s heritage.
The City of Sydney’s Council has approved the renaming proposal and the street is being transformed with a new play area and garden as part of an upgrade to the Juanita Nielsen Community Centre, located next door.
“Juanita Nielsen’s activism raised public awareness of environmental and heritage conservation issues in Woolloomooloo so it’s fitting that the City is honouring her,” the Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
“It’s thanks to Ms Nielsen’s outspoken editorials and brave campaigning that heritage-listed buildings such as the adjoining community centre are still here for everyone to enjoy.”
The new Juanita Gardens will provide a 175-square-metre garden and play area for local residents and children using the out-of-school-hours facility at the Juanita Nielsen Community Centre. It is part of the City’s $130-million upgrade program for its parks and open spaces over the next 10 years.
Maclean Street is a short roadway running the length of the Juanita Nelson Community Centre between Nicholson and Wilson Streets, Woolloomooloo.
Juanita Nielsen was a local newspaper publisher whose outspoken editorials galvanised the community in the fight against the demolition and redevelopment of Victoria Street and Woolloomooloo. She supported the ‘Green Bans’ strikes by trade unions and organised labour groups in the 1970s to protect local heritage and conserve the environment.
Green Bans were placed on a number of areas in Sydney, including the entire suburb of Woolloomooloo and Victoria Street, Potts Point, where Juanita Nielsen lived.
Ms Nielsen disappeared on 4 July 1975. It is generally believed she was kidnapped and murdered because of her anti-development and anti-corruption stance.
The City listed Ms Nielsen’s house at 202 Victoria Street, Potts Point, in the City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 to give it heritage protection. The NSW Government also recently included the property on the State Heritage Register.
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