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Snapshot - Town Hall Rehearsals

Published on Tuesday, 7 July 2020 at 3:04:00 PM

Town Hall Rehearsals by Neville Thompson

Away back in 1896, which is 124 years ago for those still counting on their fingers, there was movement in the tiny town of Geraldton to have its own town hall. There was talk but little action until 1905 when Mayor F.G. Armstrong was a strong advocat for the hall.

Support for the project grew, including a referendum favouring it with a two to one vote in support. Architects Oldham & Cox produced plans for the hall with a 48ft frontage to the then Eleanor Street (now Chapman Road) and depth of 125ft set back along Durlacher Street.

The successful tenderer for construction of the hall was James Browlie at a cost of 3778 pounds ($6756). The design hall capacity was for 1100 persons.

Geraldton really celebrated the official opening of the hall on July 12 1907 when W.A. Governor Sir Frederick Bedford arrived in style in a horse drawn carriage.

From that time onwards the town hall was the venue for innumerable functions and this rare early view of the interior is believed to be of a group rehearsing with the accompaniment of a grand piano.

Construction of the Queens Park Theatre resulted in the town hall becoming little used and there was talk of demolition until a vigorous public campaign by Friends of the Town Hall saved the distinguished old building.

 In 1984 local architect Lewis Eves was engaged to prepare plans to convert the town hall for a new role as the regional art gallery, the extensive alterations including removal of the balcony and construction of a second floor level.

Image courtesy of the Geraldton Historical Society, caption by Neville Thompson.

Town Hall Rehearsals

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