Macquarie Street East Precinct Master Plan (MSEP)

The master plan for the Macquarie Street East Precinct, located on Gadi Country in central Sydney, Australia, creates a unified vision for this place of significant political, social and cultural meaning. 

Our team worked in close partnership with Dr Danièle Hromek (Budawang/​Yuin) of cultural design and research company Djinjama and Sharon Veale of GML Heritage. Together, our design process began with a deep grounding, or honest reckoning, with the histories entangled in the place and the attendant memories, meanings and interpretations — especially the impacts that decisions made in the institutions within this precinct have had on First Nations peoples.

A central ambition of the master plan is to ensure that Macquarie Street East Precinct is an authentically public place; that it is welcoming to all people. The master plan focuses on improving access to and through the precinct, opening up and activating public spaces, and identifying where new public buildings might be located. 

[This place] offers a unique opportunity for an honest reckoning and truth telling… a chance to come together to celebrate diversity and embed sustainability. It is a space where the difficult stories can be told and stories can be told and heard. A space for genuine change. If not here, where?”

— Dr Danièle Hromek

The needs of major cultural institutions are balanced with the delivery of greater public permeability, amenity and ownership of the precinct – ensuring that the Macquarie Street East Precinct is both a global destination of culture and a place that supports local enterprise and creativity.

The NSW government’s Connecting with Country Framework has chosen this master plan as a case study. It showcases the proactive inclusion of First Nations knowledge and co-design from the outset, ongoing engagement throughout the master planning process, and the continuous involvement of First Nations designers in delivering specific projects within the precinct.


Property and Development NSW
Department of Premier and Cabinet


Gadi Country
Sydney, Australia


In progress




Djinjama, GML Heritage, Atlas Urban Economics, Coutts Cost Consulting, Diorama, Arterra


David Tickle, Sharon Wright, Katie Hubbard


Hassell and Diorama

An engagement process of yarning with traditional owners (Gadi, Cammeray, Bidji, Dharug, and Dharawal people) and key Knowledge Holders formed the backbone of the principles, strategies and outcomes for the Macquarie Street East Precinct Master Plan (MSEP) site.

Reading Country was conducted in which the traditions, stories, beliefs, ontologies, lifestyles, knowledges, ceremonies and cultural memories of this Country are shared. From Reading Country, the team produced a series of observations and recommendations, including Indigenous interpretation and renaming strategies, rebalancing of public art to include minority faces and voices, use of Country-centred design approaches, and a presentation of the 300 million-year natural history of the land.


Hassell partnered with Djinjama Indigenous Corporation, directed by Dr Danièle Hromek (Budawang/​Yuin). Danièle indigenises the built environment through spatial design, Country-centred design and research. This partnership is ongoing to deliver a program of multi-phase master planning, landscape and architecture projects.


Gadi People (MSEP site), acknowledging and respecting the Gadi, Cammeray, Bidji, Dharug, and Dharawal people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney Basin.


  • Country-centred cultural design and research undertaken by Djinjama Indigenous Corporation, Dr Danièle Hromek
  • Non-Indigenous cultural design and research undertaken by GML, Sharon Veale