Myra Demetriou has a ‘private concierge of three’ as the last resident of the iconic Sirius building which overlooks the Sydney Opera House.
The 90-year-old, legally blind, great-grandmother will be the final resident as of October 16 – and plans to live out the rest of her life in her top-floor flat in the building.
‘I don’t think that it is fair that they’re trying to make me leave, and I am not going,’ Mrs Demetriou said.
‘I am the last one left and they are just going to have to wait for me because I plan to live here for the rest of my life.’
The Department of Family and Community Services, which runs the property, said they are working with her to find an ‘alternative property that meets her needs’.
The eerie building would look neglected if not for the constant movements of the six security guards who protect the grounds 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
‘I think it is ridiculous, spending all of this money on guards – three of them are in the entrance just to sign people in,’ she said.
‘We have a laugh with each other. Every time I come down I say ”good morning gentlemen” and they say ”hello boss”.’
But the guards are there for her safety, the government body said, and they were put in place after incidents of unauthorised access.
‘New security measures, including a concierge, provide a safe and secure building for the remaining residents and their guests.’
Mrs Demetriou has been ‘fighting for her home’ since 2014 when the NSW government launched plans to sell public housing properties in Millers Point, a tiny suburb on Sydney Harbour that is a developer’s dream.
‘They showed me one of the apartments twice – I can’t do stairs, though. Anyway, I don’t think anything will be suitable.’
The elderly woman believes tenants should be moved back into the iconic building.
‘It is such a waste for it to be sitting here empty – why did they have to move the families out? All I can think is that they got greedy.’
The lights of the 79-unit building are left on despite it being a ghost town.
‘But they don’t want tenants like me who pay $100 a week – they want to sell it to someone who can make much more off it, I just think it is greed,’ Mrs Demetriou said.
There is also an expansive – but empty – garage space on the bottom floor.
Letters are stuffed into the Cumberland Street letter boxes but they won’t be collected because there is no-one living in the homes.
The common areas have all been blocked off and recently fencing went up around the outside of the building to ‘protect it from vandals’.
And there are large cracks showing in the brickwork outside the brutalist 1979 building – these are clearly marked with bright pray paint labeling each one on the wall.
One of the three security guards manning the entrance of the building said it is damaged often.
‘One day the same glass panel was pushed in twice,’ he said.
Mrs Demetriou said her apartment is haunted by the tenant who lived in there before her.
‘It was actually left empty for a long time before I moved there because no one wanted to live in a house where someone had died.
‘I feel him walking around the place a lot – and my friend has seen him and won’t stay here anymore.’
But, like the spectacular view from her living room window, Mrs Demetriou has never been able to see the ghost she believes she lives with.
The elderly grandmother says she is not afraid of being the only person in the building, save for her personal security squad, but she takes safety measures.
‘They have to buzz to get in, so if there is a knock on my door up here before I go in then I am not going to open it.
‘And I don’t go out at night,’ she said.
There are currently 60,000 people on the housing waiting list – Myra says she doesn’t understand why the units can’t be fixed to accommodate those people.
The building is currently being assessed for a historical listing which could make it harder to sell as would-be developers wouldn’t be allowed to knock it down.
The Department of Family and Community Services said money from the planned sale would go towards new homes for people waiting for social housing.
‘Millers Point properties will fund more than 1,500 new purpose built homes for people on the social housing waiting list.
‘As of August 2017, the sale of 233 properties has funded a total of 1,077 new homes in areas of NSW where social housing is needed.’
The fencing around the gardens which appears to block off much of the recreation area outside the complex has been done for safety, according to a FACS spokesperson.
‘FACS engaged engineers to inspect the noticeable movement in retaining walls of the gardens around the buildings. To ensure public safety it was necessary for temporary fencing to be installed while further assessments are completed.’