Heritage listing claim for home of campaigner Juanita Nielsen

The state government has stepped in to protect one of the houses that Juanita Nielsen died trying to save.

The anti-development activist disappeared in 1975 after finding herself on the wrong side of the Kings Cross underworld bent on widespread redevelopment of the area.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has noted the Potts Point terrace as having a high level of significance, having been the home and business premises of the late heritage conservation campaigner.

Although the proposed heritage status could impact the value of the property, no one is happier than the new owner.

"Part of my decision to buy it was to be in some way connected to her story," said Robert Nair. "It makes me proud. Now if I speak to people about my purchase, I talk about Juanita Nielsen, not the property itself."

The terrace at 202 Victoria Street is leased for $900 a week and, if accepted on the state register, will attract funding for maintenance. The facade must be retained and any additions must be confined to the rear of the building, with no vertical additions permitted.

Ms Nielsen's father bought the 1850s terrace for her in 1968. She published a local newspaper, Now, from the front room. From 1973, Ms Nielsen used the publication to raise awareness of heritage conservation, the overdevelopment of Victoria Street and Woolloomooloo and the eviction of tenants.

Her high-profile campaign culminated in violent confrontations between developers and tenants and ultimately, her disappearance on July 4, 1975.

A supporter of the green bans in The Rocks and Woolloomooloo, Ms Nielsen was instrumental in continuing the pressure against development in Victoria Street, Potts Point.

Public submissions to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage are due to close on February 10.

"A lot of people want her work acknowledged," said Mr Nair, who plans to eventually pass ownership of the historic property to his son. "I think it is important to acknowledge that she died for her beliefs."

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