Newcastle City Hall (Australia)

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Newcastle City Hall
Newcastle, Australia 022.jpg
Newcastle City Hall in 2008.
Alternative names Newcastle Town Hall
General information
Type City hall
Architectural style Inter-War Academic Classical
Location 289 King Street, Newcastle, New South Wales
Country Australia
Coordinates 32°55′40″S 151°46′20″E / 32.927788°S 151.772158°E / -32.927788; 151.772158Coordinates: 32°55′40″S 151°46′20″E / 32.927788°S 151.772158°E / -32.927788; 151.772158
Groundbreaking 20 April 1928 (1928-04-20) (foundation stone)
Opened 14 December 1929 (1929-12-14)
Owner City of Newcastle
Technical details
Material Steel, concrete, Sydney sandstone
Floor count Three
Design and construction
Architect Henry Eli White
Developer Charles Davis and Son
Other designers J V Rowe (interior)
Awards and prizes Australian Institute of Architects (1981: Best example of building recycling in NSW)
Official name Newcastle City Hall
Designated 27 September 2012
Reference no. 01883

The Newcastle City Hall is a heritage-listed building located in the regional New South Wales city of Newcastle in the Hunter region in Australia.[1] The building served as the city hall for the Council of the City of Newcastle between 1929 and 1977.

Together with the Newcastle Civic Theatre, each site is, individually, of state heritage significance, and they are listed jointly on the New South Wales State Heritage Register as the Newcastle City Hall and Civic Theatre Precinct.[2]

History[edit]

The building, located at 289 King Street, was designed by noted theatre architect Henry Eli White and the foundation stone was laid by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Dudley de Chair, on 20 April 1928.[1] The three-storey building structure is based on a steel frame that supports concrete floors and stone cladding. Local material were used as much as possible, including steel provided at a discount by local steel-maker, BHP.[1] Architectural features include a clock tower, porte cochere, balustrades and stairs, all built with Sydney sandstone. The clock tower is an imposing landmark and distinctive feature of the city sky line, indicating the Civic Centre of Newcastle. The tower is a reinforced concrete and steel framed structure clad in Sydney yellowblock sandstone ashlar with rusticated quoins.[1][3] Interior spaces include a ballroom, concert hall and additional function rooms.[1][4]

The administrative offices of the city hall were relocated to the new Civic Administration Centre in 1977, though the council chambers remain.[1]

The clock tower suffered some damage as a result of the 1989 Newcastle earthquake, however this was subsequently repaired.[1]

Heritage listing[edit]

The City Hall was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 27 September 2012 as a site of state significance with the following citation:[1]

Newcastle City Hall is of historic and aesthetic significance to the State of NSW as an imposing civic building embodying the civic pride of NSW's second city in a restrained inter-war classicism. City Hall is an outstanding example of the Inter-War Academic Classical style in NSW. The building's planning, construction and history of use demonstrates the evolution of local government in Newcastle, reflecting the growth, development and increased power of local government across the twentieth century in New South Wales. The style of the building is illustrative of significant social and aesthetic values of the inter-war period in NSW, demonstrating a desire to hold onto traditional forms of architectural stylism particularly in public architecture, in the face of modernism and social and political change. Locally, the architectural pretensions and central Newcastle site demonstrates the perceived centrality of local government to the City of Newcastle during the interwar years, and ambition of mayors and civic leaders to leave their mark on the city by transforming this previously industrial area into a unique cultural precinct to form the civic heart of the City. City Hall has strong associations with its designer Henry Eli White, an internationally noted theatre architect of the early twentieth century, and JV Rowe, principal designer for the Wunderlich company from 1904 to 1925, responsible for the original interior finishes and decoration. Locally the City Hall has a significant association with Alderman Morris Light (1859-1929), Mayor and businessman, the realisation of the City Hall and Civic Theatre complex being his greatest achievement. The building is also associated with Alderman Joy Cummins, who was the first female Lord Mayor in Australia.

— Statement of significance, New South Wales State Heritage Register.

Current use[edit]

The concert hall, stage and upper gallery is frequently used by a wide range of community and commercial groups as a platform for staging choirs, orchestras, plays or other musical performances. Additional function rooms cater for civic receptions, community gatherings, weddings, national and international conferences, trade shows, seminars, corporate meetings, product launches and social functions.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Newcastle City Hall". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "Newcastle City Hall and Civic Theatre". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  3. ^ Duncan, Carol (13 November 2012). "Newcastle City Hall Clocktower". ABC Newcastle. Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "City Hall". City of Newcastle. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 

Attribution[edit]

CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article was originally based on the Civic Theatre and the Newcastle City Hall and Civic Theatre, listed on the "New South Wales State Heritage Register" published by the Government of New South Wales under CC-BY 3.0 AU licence (accessed on 21 September 2017).