Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why has Royal Far West chosen not to sell its site and remain in Manly?
We are deeply and historically connected to Manly and have been for nearly 100 years.
We are not selling our land to a developer for a profit, but rather repositioning our landholdings to ensure the longevity and sustainability of our organisation and specialist paediatric health care services for country kids and their families. Redeveloping our land will also help us give back to the community we will continue to call home.
Q: What are your plans for the redevelopment of the existing site?
To meet the growing demand for our services, we are rejuvenating our landholdings, consistent with our existing Part 3A masterplan approval, to create a new standard of healthcare for country kids and their families.
We are delivering a beautifully integrated health and wellbeing “campus” that is inclusive, open, and innovative. It will be one that draws different people and local businesses together with high-end residential to support our work and create much-needed amenity for the community in which we reside.
The campus will include a mix of health and lifestyle-related functions and services that contribute to our vision of delivering a campus focused on health and wellbeing the whole community can enjoy.
Q: What does the Campus mean for Royal Far West?
In the last decade we have grown ten-fold in the children and families we have supported and in the next decade we’ll have at least the same challenge again, with the impact of chronic drought, bushfires and COVID-19. The Campus is the key to enable us to sustainably grow our services both socially and financially to help many more country kids and families.
Q: Who owns the land?
Royal Far West’s land located on Manly’s South Steyne has either been gifted to us, earnt or purchased in the interests of Royal Far West and is land we own as freehold title.
A public school was established on this site right from the beginning of our operations. It later became known as the Royal Far West School, to cater specially to children who required extended stays at what was formerly known as the Far West Children’s Health Scheme. In December 2018 the school was integrated into the new Centre for Country Kids building on Wentworth Street, Manly.
Royal Far West has now settled with the NSW Department of Education on the sale of the school site. The land was independently valued by the NSW Valuer General and a final valuation at market rate was determined, bringing the matter to a close.
Royal Far West has a responsibility to be a custodian of the assets that we have acquired over many years and the best way we can protect it is to develop it in the interests of country kids and families.
Q: When is the campus redevelopment happening?
The appointed architects and design team have commenced work on high-level design concepts for the campus. It is anticipated that the initial concepts for the campus masterplan will be publicly exhibited in late 2020.
The commencement of construction is dependent upon the relevant statutory approvals. The exact timing of the construction is therefore unknown but it is envisaged that construction will take a couple of years.
Q: Why did you choose the architects?
We chose to partner with Glenn Murcutt and Angelo Candalepas as they are both highly respected and highly awarded architectural talent, both with an acute sensitivity and respect for the environment as well as an innate understanding of what it means to make great places to be.
Glenn Murcutt is an internationally recognised and greatly respected architect. He is Australia’s only Pritzker Prize winning architect (often referred to as architecture’s Nobel Prize). Glenn has a strong affinity to Manly having grown up in Clontarf and is an alumnus of the former Manly Boys High School. This strongly held local connection fortifies Glenn’s great understanding of Manly, its unique micro-climate and the community’s expectations
We believe that our architectural team will bring something special to Manly as well as being a safe and trusted pair of hands. What better gift can we provide to Manly than architects who are not only globally acclaimed, but who also intimately understand the local scenery, landscape and culture.
The combination of these lauded architects will ensure the future campus becomes a beacon for smart, modern and timeless design that respects the context of its surrounds and its immediate proximity to the world-renowned Manly Beach.
Q: Who is the developer?
We understand that creating a new campus that connects with and ultimately contributes to our local community, is of paramount importance. Since 1924 we have worked closely with the Manly community and will continue to do so into the future.
We are yet to determine the exact path in which we will develop our beachfront site, but the community can be assured that we will determine the most appropriate development strategy that ensures the campus will be delivered in a manner that is sensitive to its surrounds.
Q: Are any buildings being demolished? If so, which buildings?
Our Part 3A masterplan, approved in 2013, encompasses the site bounded by the corner of Wentworth Street and South Steyne in Manly. The second stage of our campus redevelopment will include the refurbishment of Drummond House and redevelopment of the old Royal Far West School building and the former medical centre building into an overall campus that can best improve the health and wellbeing of country kids and young people, as well as provide health services to the local Manly community.
Q: What is happening to Drummond House?
Drummond House has and will continue to be used to accommodate Royal Far West families who travel to Manly from remote areas of Australia for paediatric health care.
Drummond House is a critical part of the future campus masterplan. We plan to completely revitalise the concept of the “country guesthouse” by renovating our residential accommodation, to provide a state-of-the-art amenity for our clients, and visitors to Manly.
Q: What is happening to Royal Far West’s old head office (medical centre) on South Steyne?
In the short-term, we have partnered with WOTSO to activate the building for use as a co-working and office accommodation space. Manly has a chronic shortage of office accommodation and we have received very popular feedback to date. If you are seeking office accommodation, please drop by and see if the WOTSO team can help you out.
In the longer-term, we are currently investigating options for the best use of the space and will provide public updates in due course.
Q: Will there be a hotel on the site?
There is no intention to develop the precinct into a hotel.
Q: What will be the impact upon traffic and parking within the town centre?
At this stage, we are consulting with Council to mitigate to the best of our ability any additional traffic on Manly’s road. The majority of the campus will be residential accommodation which typically has less impact than other building types.
When we move closer to the construction period, we will be implementing a detailed traffic management plan to ensure that the impact of vehicle movements associated with construction will be minimised.
The future campus will also include approximately 200 parking spaces that will be provisioned to comply with Council’s requirements.
With regards to public use, the parking will be primarily to accommodate residents and commercial and retail tenants. Given the majority of parking spots are for Royal Far West staff and residents, there should not be a major impost on the surrounds.
Q: Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you do business?
Prior to COVID-19, Royal Far West had already been providing a proportion of our services (Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Psychology) into rural and remote regions virtually via Telecare – in fact delivering over 500 sessions per week.
COVID-19 saw us super-charge our capabilities and we’ve undertaken a major scale-up of our online services, transitioning our traditional face-to-face programs quickly for online. We are proud to say we are delivering 80% of our services during this difficult time to ensure we support as many country children and families as possible.