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Sydney’s chancery leaves Polding for Leichhardt

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After more than 21 years as home to the archdiocese, the Polding Centre will close its doors for the last time on Thursday, 31 August this year as the chancery moves to Leichhardt.

All staff will continue their mission to proclaim through deed and word the good news of Jesus Christ at our new home, St Martha’s Renwick St, which has a long and proud history steeped in our faith.

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Executive Director of Administration and Finance Michael Digges is excited by the new chapter in the life of the chancery, thanking all members of our church for their patience and participation in the process.

“Moving home is never easy and when you’re moving hundreds of staff and associated agencies it is a herculean task,” Mr Digges said.

“I am so grateful for our dedicated employees who are adapting to the change unphased and continuing their good work.”

“I am especially grateful to my talented and hardworking committee for guiding and driving the process of this momentous move.”

The St Martha’s Leichhardt site was originally purchased by Cardinal Moran in 1886 and has served the Archdiocese of Sydney since—first as an aged care home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, then by the Sisters of St Joseph as an industrial home for girls, and most recently, as the head office of Sydney Catholic Schools.

“St Martha was a witness to Jesus Christ resurrecting her brother, Lazarus to life, so it is only fitting that with this in mind, we continue to honour her by reimagining a site so ingrained in the Catholic DNA of Sydney,” Mr Digges said. He added that St Martha’s Leichhardt has always and will continue to be a cornerstone of the charitable works of the archdiocese.

“Every morning as employees walk through the front door they will travel along the very same path once walked upon by Australia’s patron saint, Mary MacKillop. I can think of no greater inspiration for service to our church,” Mr Digges said.

Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Director of Property and Infrastructure James Bichard, said the retirement of the Polding Centre was essential step in life of the Archdiocese.

“Demolition of the Polding Centre will commence late in 2023. Staff who have seen St Martha’s are delighted that the offices have so much daylight and views to trees and the gardens there – a very different setting,” Mr Bichard said.

He added that the refurbishment at Leichhardt had been an exercise in reuse and recycling where possible, revealing the best of the old building’s fabric to add to its character.

“We stripped back paint from sandstone lintels to bring back some of the existing materiality inside the old building. An old pin board was removed and revealed a window that had been blocked out and is now restored,” he said.

“We were able to recycle workstations from vacated tenancies at the Polding Centre to save costs where new desks are required. It is a modest set of interventions to create a bright and welcoming new workplace for everyone.”

The property team also worked closely with the Anti-Slavery Taskforce to review the three largest subcontractors and suppliers for their anti-slavery policies, and ensuring the products specified avoided countries of origin with known or at high-risk of modern slavery.
St Martha’s Leichhardt will open to staff on Tuesday, 5 September 2023.

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