Col James Student Accommodation

The student accommodation has been named in honour of the late Col James, who was associated with the AHC since its inception.  Col was an architect and Sydney University lecturer, who was dedicated to creating and improving Aboriginal housing. His mission was to make housing a verb.

His work in architecture and housing, especially with Aboriginal people and the disadvantaged was recognised throughout his career.  Col was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994 for his services to architecture and the community.  He received a University of Sydney Alumni Award for his work with Aboriginal groups and the disadvantaged.

Col’s support for the AHC never wavered and he was instrumental in the concept and design of the redevelopment of the Block.  All the work he put into the company was pro-bono and his original ideas for the project will come to fruition.  He always looked at avenues where architectural students could work on projects relevant to health and wellbeing, especially for the Aboriginal community.  He was a force in building links between the University, local community, and the AHC.

The Col James student housing is a significant part of the development and supports NSW Government initiatives to promote new student accommodation in Sydney.  Located within close proximity to universities, and TAFE, major activity nodes and public transport, the student accommodation will support the continued growth of the local and international education sector.  The student accommodation is for all students, but there will be accommodation allotted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

An application was lodged with the Department of Planning in 2016 to increase the student accommodation from 154 rooms to 522 rooms with a proposed building height increase from 6 – 24 storeys.

The Department of Planning issued the Secretary’s Environment Assessment Requirements (SEARS) on 22 December 2016 establishing general requirements, a commitment to design excellence and consultation for the new student housing proposition in Precinct 3 – Pemulwuy Project. The project then went through a process of Design Excellence, facilitated by the “Office of the Government Architect”.

The AHC submitted the Development Application (DA) for Precinct 3, the Col James Student Accommodation of the Pemulwuy Project, to the Department of Planning on the 14th June 2017.  The design of the building has been streamlined to suit the land space, and environment but the accommodation remains at 522 rooms.

Construction of the student accommodation was completed in July 2021, and handed over to “SCAPE”.  They are student accommodation specialists who have leased the “Col James Student Accommodation” long term from the AHC.


Pemulwuy Eveleigh Street, Redfern view