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Warwick Town Hall

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  • 600961
  • 72 Palmerin Street, Warwick

General

Also known as
Town Hall and Footballers Memorial
Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Government administration: Hall—town / city / shire / divisional board
Theme
7.4 Maintaining order: Local government
Architects
Powell, Willoughby
Troyahn, Coulter & Thompson
Builders
Stewart, Law & Longwill
Troyahn, Coulter & Thompson
Construction periods
1887–1888, Town Hall and Footballers Memorial - Town Hall (1887 - 1888)
1887–1917, Town Hall and Footballers Memorial (1887 - 1917)
1917, Town Hall and Footballers Memorial - Honour roll (1917 - 1917)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century
Style
Classicism

Location

Address
72 Palmerin Street, Warwick
LGA
Southern Downs Regional Council
Coordinates
-28.21516232, 152.03348082

Map

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Officially opened in October 1888, the Warwick Town Hall is important in demonstrating the consolidation and importance of Warwick as a business and administrative centre for the surrounding district during the late 19th century.

The Footballers Memorial (1917), a marble World War I honour board mounted on the external front wall of the Town Hall, is important in demonstrating Queensland’s involvement in major world events. War memorials are an important element of Queensland’s towns, and cities and are also significant in demonstrating a common pattern of commemoration across Queensland and Australia.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

The Footballers Memorial is a rare and unusual example of a war memorial that reflects the contemporary parallels drawn between war and sport, and provides a unique historical record of local participation and sacrifice in World War I.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

The Warwick Town Hall, an impressive example of the work of architect Willoughby Powell, is highly intact and retains the principal characteristics of a town hall built in Queensland in the 19th century, including: a central location, classical styling, and an imposing street presence, clock tower, civic office spaces, a council chamber, a hall and a raised stage.

The Footballers Memorial, made by local stonemasons Troyahn, Coulter and Thompson, retains the principal characteristics of a World War I memorial tablet, displaying: fine marble craftsmanship, leaded letters listing the local men who died, a classically-styled form with its pedimented top, pillars and decoration.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Prominently situated on Palmerin Street, this substantial two-storeyed stone building, with its dominating tower, is important for its aesthetic significance as a skilfully designed and constructed public building in a classically influenced style. Highly intact, the building features finely crafted elements of high quality materials including the external stonework, marble memorial plaque and internal timber joinery. It is a landmark building that symbolises the aspirations of the town, and makes an important contribution to the Palmerin Street streetscape and Warwick townscape.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

Used for council meetings from 1888 to 1975, the building continues its long association with the Warwick community as a focal point for social and civic functions and performances.

The Footballers Memorial is important in demonstrating the Warwick community’s involvement in a major world event. War memorials, including honour boards, are a tribute from the community to those who served, and those who died. They are an important element of Queensland’s towns and cities and are also important in demonstrating a common pattern of commemoration across Queensland and Australia.

History

Officially opened in October 1888, the stone Warwick Town Hall on Palmerin Street is important in demonstrating the consolidation and importance of Warwick as a business and administrative centre for the surrounding district during the late 19th century. It is an excellent example of the work of architect Willoughby Powell, demonstrates the principal characteristics of a 19th century town hall, is a landmark, and has a long association with the Warwick community. The Footballers Memorial, a marble honour board mounted on the front of the Town Hall, is a rare and unusual example of a war memorial that reflects the contemporary parallels drawn between war and sport.

The first European pastoralists, Patrick Leslie and his brothers, arrived on the Darling Downs in 1840, and selected the land which became Toolburra and Canning Downs [QHR600525] stations. The New South Wales Government opened the Darling Downs Pastoral District on 11 May 1843, and in 1847 the site of Warwick was chosen as the business and administrative centre for the southern Darling Downs.[1]

Warwick township, surveyed in 1849, developed slowly during the 1850s and by 1857 the population of the parish of Warwick had reached just over 1300. Under the provisions of the 1858 Municipalities Act (NSW), any centre with a population in excess of 1000 was entitled to petition the colonial government for recognition as a municipality. Brisbane was  proclaimed a municipality on 7 September 1859.

By 1859, the year in which the colony of Queensland separated from New South Wales, the township of Warwick was recognised as a major urban centre on the Darling Downs, and when Queensland's new electoral districts (settled areas only) were proclaimed on 20 December 1859, the electorate of the Town of Warwick had its own representative in the Legislative Assembly.

In February 1861 a petition calling for municipal status for the town of Warwick, with 110 signatures appended, was sent to the Queensland Governor, and on 25 May 1861 Warwick was proclaimed a municipality. The municipal boundary followed the original Warwick Town Reserve of five square miles. Warwick was the fifth corporation created in Queensland outside of Brisbane, being preceded by Ipswich, Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Maryborough. The first Warwick municipal election was conducted on 5 July 1861, and at its first meeting on 15 July 1861, the Warwick Municipal Council elected John James Kingsford as the first mayor of Warwick.

At this time the first Warwick Town Hall was established in a slab building at the northern end of Albion Street, which had been constructed in the early 1850s as Warwick's first court house. In 1873 the Council purchased the Masonic Hall, a brick building in Palmerin Street, and this served as the Warwick Town Hall until imposing new premises were constructed in 1887, on a half-acre (2023m2) site in Palmerin Street purchased for £500.[2] During the late 19th century, Palmerin Street gradually replaced Albion Street as the main centre of commercial and public activity in Warwick.[3]

A sum of £2000 was borrowed from the Queensland Government, and a competition for the design of the new Town Hall was held in 1885, expenditure not exceeding £3,500. First place in the competition was won by Clark Bros, a partnership formed in Sydney in 1883 between architect brothers John J and George Clark; the design by Clark Bros coming closest to Council's budget. However, although more costly, the design of second placegetter, Willoughby Powell, was eventually chosen for the new Town Hall.

Powell had arrived in Queensland c1873, and practiced as an architect until c1913. During Powell's architectural career in which he alternated between employment in the Queensland Department of Public Works  and periods of private practice, including working for Richard Gailey, he was responsible for the design of a number of substantial buildings in Toowoomba, Maryborough, and Brisbane including churches, private residences, shops hotels, and the Toowoomba Grammar School [QHR600850]. Powell was also responsible for the winning design in a competition for the (third) Toowoomba City Hall, although he subsequently had to give up supervision of its construction to Toowoomba architects James Marks and Son in order to take up an appointment in the Department of Public Works. Powell died in 1920.

Tenders for the building were called in 1887. Although tenders were called for either a brick and stone or an all-stone building, Council accepted the tender of Michael O'Brien for a stone building, and the contract with O'Brien, for £4810, was signed in March 1887. Warwick had access to quality building stone from a number of nearby locations. As early as 1861 Warwick boasted 16 stone houses. By 1886, there were 14 stone masons working in Warwick, as opposed to four bricklayers. Warwick’s sandstone buildings indicated prosperity and importance, which reinforced its position as the major town on the southern Darling Downs.[4]

Shortly after construction began, O'Brien advised the Council he was insolvent, and arranged for the firm of Stewart, Law and Longwill to take over the work, which they did on 9 July 1887. Work recommenced under the supervision of William Wallace, with sandstone transported from the Mt Sturt quarry for the Palmerin Street elevation, and from the Mt Tate quarry for the back and sides of the building.[5]

The stone work was subcontracted to John McCulloch, a Warwick stonemason responsible for the stone work on a number of prominent buildings in the town including Pringle Cottage (McCulloch’s house) [QHR600945], the Court House [QHR600949], St Marks Church [QHR600943], St Andrews Church, Central School, the Sisters of Mercy Convent [QHR600953], the Railway Goods Shed [QHR600955] and the Albion Street Post Office.

The foundation stone of the new Town Hall was laid on 13 August 1887 by Lady Griffith, wife of then Premier of Queensland, Sir Samuel Walker Griffith. A bottle, sealed with the Corporation seal and containing a copy of a commemorative scroll, copies of the local papers and coins, was placed in a cavity in the stone.

A clock tower was not part of Powell's original design for the new Town Hall. In late 1887, however, it was suggested that the building would be enhanced by the addition of a clock tower. At a meeting of ratepayers in December 1887, a vote was carried in favour of the addition of a tower which was subsequently incorporated into the building. The final cost of the Town Hall was £6317.[6] The clock itself was not installed until 1891-2. It is understood that the Council acquired a bell from St Mary's Church in Warwick, which was eventually installed on the outside of the tower.[7]

Occupied by the Council from September 1888, and hosting its first public performance on 7 September, the new Town Hall was formally opened on 1 October 1888 by the Mayor of Warwick, Ald. Arthur Morgan. The event was marked with a concert given by the local Philharmonic Society. In his remarks, Morgan described the new Town Hall as ‘...a credit to the town… If there  was any truth in the saying that the history of a town was known by the character of its buildings, then the Municipal Council of Warwick had no reason to be ashamed of the page they had contributed to the history of their town’.[8]

The Town Hall faced west directly onto Palmerin Street. It was reported that the front of the ground floor contained, either side of a 30ft by 9ft (9.1m by 2.7m) corridor, two rooms on the south side, each 20ft by 13ft (6m by 4m); and a front room on the north side, with another office behind. The southern rooms were meant for the aldermen, and the northern rooms for the Town Clerk and the rate collector, but these officials instead chose to occupy the first floor rooms. The first floor included two offices, ‘on the right’, each 14ft by 13ft (4.3m by 4m), with a front room extending the width of the building, for the Municipal Chambers. A narrow staircase ascended from the first floor, to a series of steps and ladders within the tower. The hall, with a panelled and coved ceiling and seven windows to each side, was 70ft (21.3m) long from its entrance to the stage, and 42ft (12.8m) wide, with walls 26ft (7.9m) in height. Doors led to the stage on either side of the arched proscenium – which had a 22ft by 18ft (6.7m by 5.5m) opening – and there were two dressing rooms at the rear of the building.[9]

The Town Hall was the venue for a number of celebrations, including a ball for the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. Fireworks were discharged from the tower to celebrate the Relief of Mafeking, during the war in South Africa in 1900, and the balcony of the Town Hall was used to proclaim the declaration of the WWI Armistice in November 1914 and of the City of Warwick on 2 April 1936. A reception was held in the hall in 1923 for the Prime Minister, Stanley Melbourne Bruce, when he laid the foundation stone for the war memorial in Leslie Park [QHR600946].[10]

It was also used by community groups for balls, festivities suppers, concerts and flower shows. The hall’s acoustics attracted travelling performers, including JC Williamson, Peter Dawson and Gladys Moncrief. As well as hosting functions, the Town Hall was used for picture shows, with references to Cook’s Pictures being shown there as early as 1906.[11]

The building has had a number of additions and renovations over the years. Gas lighting was installed in the building in 1889, and was subsequently replaced by electricity c1912-3. In October 1907 Conrad Cobden Dornbusch, architect, called tenders for the addition of a gallery (a tiered balcony for audience seats) and iron escape stairs in the hall.[12]

Dornbusch (1867-1949) trained in England, and by 1887 was employed in the Brisbane office of the Architects Oakden, Addison and Kemp. He was practicing as an architect in Warwick by 1891, where he had an office in the Warwick Town Hall during the 1890s. He was elected an Associate of the Queensland Institute of Architects in 1893, and a Fellow in 1913.[13] He was an Alderman of the Warwick Municipal Council in 1901. In 1910 he entered into a partnership with Daniel Connolly, with their offices located opposite the Town Hall.[14] Dornbusch and Connolly worked on a number of prominent Warwick buildings, including the Christian Brothers’ School; the Mitchner shelter shed at the Warwick General Cemetery [QHR602152]; the Johnsons Building [QHR600960] adjacent to the Town Hall; the Langham [QHR600957] and Criterion [QHR600962] hotels on Palmerin Street; and St Mary’s Church [QHR600959]. The partnership also designed the rest house at the Stanthorpe Soldiers Memorial [QHR601632].[15]

The new town hall gallery designed by Dornbusch was 42 feet (12.8m) by 13 feet 6 inches (4.1m) with five tiers for seating. The balcony fascia was panelled with pressed metal. On the southern side of the gallery was a fire escape door leading to an external iron stair to the alley running down the side of the building. The plans included substantial swing doors leading into the hall from the ground floor foyer, which were built under a separate contract. The contract for the gallery was awarded to HD Miller, who commenced work on 9 December 1907 and promised to have the gallery ready by Boxing Day, for the Caledonian Society’s 35th annual gathering in the Town Hall – a feat which was just achieved. The contract for the swing doors was let in September 1908 to JD Connellan and R Elloyes. Steel girders were installed on the front of the balcony to support these doors which hung between the vestibule and the auditorium.[16]

The Town Hall was also extended at the rear in 1911. Efforts to extend the Town Hall date from about 1907, when new supper rooms at the back of the hall were recommended by the Town Hall Committee. By 1908 the committee also hoped to enlarge the hall. Loans were obtained from the Queensland Government, and in 1910 Dornbusch and Connolly were commissioned to design the additions. The work was undertaken in 1911 by contractors Connolly and Bell (for a tender of £1297), and when the Town Hall Committee inspected the additions in August 1911, it stated that 200 more chairs were required, due to the extension of the hall, and that the area underneath the ‘new dressing rooms’ should be enclosed with corrugated iron.[17]

The Town Hall was also a place for a prominent memorial to remember the war dead. In early 1917 a movement was initiated by James Brown, Patron of the Warwick and District Amateur Rugby Football League, to erect ‘a memorial to honour the Warwick league football heroes, who have given their lives for their King and country (and those who may yet fall)’.[18] A committee was formed, subscriptions collected and a tablet unveiled at a ceremony on 12 May 1917. Inscribed with nine names (later 19) and placed to the right of the entrance to the Town Hall, the tablet was the work of Warwick masons Troyahn, Coulter and Thompson. In unveiling the tablet, the then Mayor of Warwick Ald. Gilham drew contemporary parallels between war and sport, suggesting that ‘There were worse places for young fellows to be than on the football field and places that were not such good training grounds to fit the young fellows for service to the Empire. It was said that Waterloo was won on the cricket fields of England. Probably some of the glories of the war had been contributed to, and to some extent made possible by, the previous practice the boys had received on the football fields of sunny Queensland’.[19]

A tablet/plaque to the memory of Colonel William James Foster CB, CMG, DSO, Australian Staff Corps, was also mounted to the right of the entrance to the Town Hall in 1930.[20] Colonel Foster was born in Warwick in 1881 and died in England in 1927. The memorial was erected by Colonel Foster's brother officers, of the Australian Staff Corps and Australian Light Horse.

Further changes occurred in the Town Hall in the 1920s. Undated plans by Dornbusch and Connolly show that a strong room, 3ft 9 inches by 8ft (1.1m by 2.4m) with a concrete floor, was added to the upper floor adjacent to the gallery, and this occurred between 1925 and 1929.[21] In 1925 there were also plans to turn the Town Clerk and accountant’s rooms into the Council Chamber, and vice versa. Minor alterations to the vestibule were made in April 1926, to plans by Dornbusch and Connolly, and the nosing of the step at the entrance was modified. Tiles were added to the entrance vestibule c1929. On 6 August 1930 a contract was signed with James Straddock to build a ticket office in the vestibule in accordance with plans drawn by Dornbusch.[22]

The Town Hall was again extended to the rear, including the construction of a separate lavatory block, in 1929-30. In 1928 the Town Hall Committee recommended renovations and further additions, including extending the dressing rooms and the back of the Town Hall, and erecting four brick lavatories.[23] The lack of ‘public conveniences’ had been an issue for Warwick for some time. There was only one latrine, in Leslie Park, in 1911, and more public lavatories for Warwick had become part of the local Labor Party’s policy by 1927.[24]

The tender of P Thornton for £2877, for improvements to the Town Hall to be completed in 18 weeks, was accepted in June 1929. The improvements included a new supper room, measuring 42ft by 30ft (12.8m by 9.1m), which was almost finished in September 1929. By that time widening of the Council Chamber – from 13ft to 20ft (4m to 6m) – was about to commence.[25] The new supper room appears to have been added to the rear (east) of the existing 1911 timber extension.

The lavatories were completed by August 1930, when Dornbusch (as architect) and Thornton (as contractor) were in a disagreement about Thornton’s adherence to the building specifications: the joists in the supper room were in many cases over 5 inches (12.7cm) wider apart than specified, while the rafters in the lavatory block were more than double the width apart that was specified.[26] The lavatories were attached to a septic system, as Warwick’s sewerage scheme was not implemented until World War II. The Town Hall lavatory block was seen as ‘out of date’ by 1948, and new public toilets were built on Grafton Street by June 1954 (since replaced).[27]

Warwick was one of the first municipalities in Queensland to have a lethal chamber for exterminating stray cats and dogs with coal gas, and one was added ‘at the rear of the Town Hall yard’ by March 1935. It was said to have been built of concrete, with a removable door and two pipes; one for pumping in the gas, and one for releasing displaced air. Death was supposed to occur within 3-4 minutes, and was seen as an improvement on the previous method of death by hanging. However, no written evidence has been found confirming its exact location.[28]

In October 1935 Warwick celebrated (prematurely) 75 years of municipal government, and at this time the local press popularised the idea of the town being proclaimed a city. The Queensland Cabinet approved the granting of city status to Warwick on 2 April 1936, and this was celebrated in Warwick on 29 June.

By the 1950s there was pressure to extended the Town Hall once more, and £7500 was borrowed, although the City Engineer claimed that £14,000 would be required to ensure adequate seating, stage space and dressing rooms, while completely replacing the supper room and building a new kitchen.[29] This work did not eventuate.

A Council employee, Tom Bryant, recalled that in the 1950s the room on the ground floor to the southern side of the entrance was used by a clerk and two typists, while immediately inside the office was a large public counter. In the 1960s the position of Health Surveyor was created and the room was divided to provide a separate office space. On the northern side of the entry was the committee room which was connected to the Shire Clerk’s Office. Upstairs, office space was provided for the Works Foreman and the Sewerage Foreman, while the Mayor had a private office and retiring room. The room on the southern side was used for Council meetings. A raised podium was provided for the Mayor and part of the room was separated by a rail to form a public gallery which had a separate doorway.[30]

In 1965 the supper room was modernised in accordance with plans prepared by Warwick Consulting Engineer HA Leonard. Between 1962 and 1972 a kitchen extension was added at the rear of the hall, onto the other extensions.[31]

By the late 1960s, the Town Hall was considered generally inadequate for the purposes of the City Council. A new administration centre was erected at the corner of Fitzroy and Albion Streets, and the last meeting of the Council was held in the Town Hall in August 1975.

The Town Hall, after being listed with the National Trust in 1973, was re-roofed in 1975 with a National Estate Grant, and a damp proof course was inserted into the main building in 1976.[32]

Further refurbishments occurred in 1984, when the ceiling and walls were repainted and new incandescent chandeliers replaced the former fluorescent lights. Stage lighting was renewed and improved and a bio box was installed behind the gallery to provide required lighting effects. Carpet was laid on the floor, which was provided with heating, and concrete was poured on the foyer floor. In the 1990s there was a problem with rising damp in the front, northern room, which did damage to the plasterwork, and repairs were made c1998.[33] The rear office on the northern side of the ground floor has also been converted to a men’s toilet at some point.

In July 1994 the Queensland Government amalgamated the City of Warwick and the surrounding Shires of Allora, Glengallan and Rosenthal to form the Shire of Warwick; which was later amalgamated with Stanthorpe Shire in 2008 to form the Southern Downs Regional Council.

The Warwick Town Hall remains in use as a venue for community functions including flower shows, school plays and other entertainment. In 2017 its ground floor offices were used for a tourism office and craft shop, while the upstairs rooms were used by the Southern Downs Regional Council’s Economic Development Unit. The building remains a prominent local landmark in the otherwise low-rise centre of the town.

Description

The Warwick Town Hall is a two-storeyed sandstone building of Classical influence, with a symmetrical principal facade addressing Palmerin Street, the main street of Warwick. This main western facade has recessed colonnaded verandahs to both levels, and a central entry bay emphasised by an imposing clock tower. The stone is laid in ashlar coursing and mostly of tooled finish with polished trims. This western end of the building contains two levels of offices, behind which is the main hall with the stage at the eastern end. Beyond this is a single-storey timber extension of backstage areas.

The central bay to the street facade emphasises the entry with columns and pilasters of Tuscan order, and a segmental pediment with a shield motif at its centre. The upper level of this bay has similar columns and pilasters and a bracketed triangular pediment, with "1888" carved to its centre and "TOWN HALL" to its entablature. To either side at the lower level is a colonnade of segmental arches, and to the upper level is a recessed verandah of semicircular arches with cast iron balustrades and timber handrails. Above is a bracketed cornice and a stone parapet with circular openings, topped with urns. The clock tower is square in plan, with square pilastered corners and a clock face on all four sides. It is capped by a high-pitched truncated pyramid roof of corrugated iron, with horseshoe-shaped louvred vents, decorative iron cresting and a flagpole at its apex.

The lower colonnade has a concrete floor, boarded soffit, and single-pane vertical sash windows with semicircular heads. Within the colonnade are archways to either side of the entry forming a small vestibule. Mounted on the wall is the Footballers Memorial (600964). The returns to this western facade are less ornate, with similar windows, projecting stone sills, string courses, and the continuing cornice and parapet. The exterior to the main body of the hall is less ornate again, with only projecting sills, tall awning windows also with semicircular heads, and a gabled corrugated iron roof with three decorative vents to its ridge. The roof behind the parapet to the western end is hipped, with a protruding stone chimney and dormer window. The chamferboard addition to the rear has an assortment of windows, and a corrugated iron lean-to roof with several skylights.

Entry to the building is through a pair of substantial six-panelled timber doors, which have a smaller segmental stone pediment over, and "TOWN HALL" set into the threshold. The Entry Hall has several four-panelled cedar doors with glazed fanlights to offices on either side. A toilet has been added into the space once occupied by an office, behind the front office on the northern side of the ground floor, and this toilet fitout is not of cultural heritage significance.

A moulded plaster archway leads to the cedar staircase up to the second level. This open-welled stair begins with a curtail step and handrail scroll, and features turned newels and balusters, and a boarded soffit lining. From the second landing is the entry to the Gallery through a similar doorway. At the top of the stair is a series of doorways to offices, formally the "Mayor's Room", the "Council Chambers" and the "Town Clerk", as announced by the painted signs on the doors' lock rails. Above this is a further stair of similar character but of lesser width which leads into the clocktower. The former Council Chamber has glazed French doors with semicircular fanlights leading onto the recessed verandah; a moulded cedar chimney piece; and two panelled cedar bulkheads to the Town Clerk's room, one of which still has its hinged panelled cedar dividing wall. Fixed to the south wall is a timber post, a remnant of a rail which has since been removed. The windows generally to the side wall also have semicircular heads. These rooms have boarded ceilings with fretted roses.

Beyond the stair lobby is a recently altered foyer space giving entry to the main hall. The foyer features two cast iron columns, with two more enclosed in glass cases built into the wall. The toilets on the north side of the foyer are not of cultural heritage significance. Entry to the Hall is through a pair of timber doors with glazed panels etched with "TOWN HALL", which appear to have been repositioned into the new wall alignment. The hall itself is a long rectangular room with the stage at the eastern end. Tall narrow windows with awning sashes and semicircular heads punctuate the walls on both sides. The coffered ceiling is of wide beaded board with beaded timber-clad beams between, and a curved perimeter of narrow horizontal boards. There is a pressed metal ceiling rose in every second coffer. The hall contains a gallery to the western end over the entry foyer. The gallery has a wrought iron balustrade and a pressed metal frieze along the fascia and return with brackets over the columns. There is an exit via a side door and a steel external stair. The modern retractable seating at the back of the hall, below the gallery, is not of cultural heritage significance.

The stage is of timber boards. Over the stage is a proscenium decorated with timber mouldings. Above the stage is a timber catwalk, from which can be seen the substantial timber king-post roof trusses.

Beyond the stage is a single-storey chamferboard extension on timber stumps, which houses backstage areas, change rooms, a meeting room and a kitchen. It has wall linings of fibrous cement and tongue-and groove boards. Parts of these areas have timber brackets and beads to the wall and ceiling linings painted to give these rooms something of a Tudor flavour.

Behind the timber extension at the rear of the Town Hall is a freestanding brick lavatory block with separate entrances into either end: two toilet cubicles for women in the western section, and two toilet cubicles and a urinal for men at the eastern section. These entrances are shielded by L-shaped brick wing walls. The internal fittings are modern, and a concrete block wall has been added to further screen the women’s entrance. The lavatory block is not of cultural heritage significance.Attached to the northeast corner of the lavatory is a later addition, comprising two short remnant wing walls of brick with cement render, on two sides of a concrete slab, adjacent to the men’s entrance. This is possibly a remnant of a lethal gas chamber for exterminating stray cats and dogs. The walls have marks showing that there were probably other walls and a ceiling of masonry, forming a ‘box’ shape, which have been demolished. The lavatory block, remnant walls and slab are not features of state cultural heritage significance.

FOOTBALLER'S MEMORIAL

On the external front wall of the hall is a marble plaque, the Warwick Amateur Rugby League War Memorial to Footballers. It lists nineteen footballers who lost their lives during the World War I. It is an honour board of classical influence with leaded lettering, and decorated with bas-relief carving. The base is supported by two brackets ornamented with acanthus leaves (a classical architectural motif). Pilasters with Corinthian capitals and foliage motifs border the role, joined at the top by a dentil cornice. Above the cornice is a triangular pediment, within which are crossed rifles (symbolizing war) over a football and a crown at its apex.

References

[1] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan, prepared for Warwick Shire Council’, Brisbane, Hassell Pty Ltd, 14 August 2001, p.3; ‘Leslie Park’, QHR600946; ‘Plumbs Chambers’, QHR 601725.
[2] ‘The new town hall’, Warwick Argus 15 September 1888, p.3.
[3] ‘Plumbs Chambers’, QHR 601725.
[4] ‘Plumbs Chambers’, QHR 601725.
[5] ‘The new town hall’, Warwick Argus, 15 September 1888, p.3; ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.5.
[6] ‘The new town hall’, Warwick Argus, 15 September 1888, p.3.
[7] Early photographs suggest that the original clock had Roman numerals, which were later altered to five minute markings around the dial. The original clock mechanism has also been replaced. The bell was cracked, but was recast in Brisbane, and silver was added to improve the tone (‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.8).
[8] ‘Formal opening of the new town hall’, Warwick Argus, 2 October 1888, p.2.
[9] ‘The new town hall’, Warwick Argus 15 September 1888, p.3. This description varies from an early 1887 account of the plans, which mentioned a 20ft by 13ft (6m by 4m) room, and a 14ft by 13ft (4.3m by 4m) room on the south side of the ground floor; and a Council Chamber of 20ft by 26ft 9 inches (6m by 8.2m) on the north side. The main hall was to be 90ft (27.4m) including the stage, and the top floor included a banquet and supper room, with an office for the Mayor on the south side (‘The new town hall’, Warwick Argus, 26 March 1887, p.2).
[10] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.7.
[11] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, pp.7-8; ‘Cook’s Pictures’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 19 December 1906, p.8. An All Blacks’ rugby game against NSW was shown in 1907 (‘Cook’s Pictures’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 28 August 1907, p.5).
[12] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.8;
[13] D Watson and J McKay, Queensland Architects of the 19th Century, Brisbane, Queensland Museum 1994, p.55.
[14] ‘New partnership’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 2 July 1910, p.5.
[15] Application to enter, dated 22 June 2017.
[16] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, pp.8-9.
[17] ‘Proposed improvements by the Town Council’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 7 September 1907, p.4 (supper rooms that could convert to a large dressing room, with sample rooms underneath); ‘Warwick and District’, Brisbane Courier, 4 April 1908, p.3; ‘Town Hall Improvements’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 3 August 1910, p.5 (£700 borrowed by this time, £500 more sought); ‘Warwick Town Council’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 14 January 1911, p.5 (tender of Connolly and Bell); ‘Town Council’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 12 August 1911, p.1 (enclose under new dressing rooms); ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, pp.9, 26.
[18] ‘Footballers’ Memorial. Unveiling ceremony on Saturday’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 14 May 1917, p.5.
[19] ‘Footballers’ Memorial. Unveiling ceremony on Saturday’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 14 May 1917, p.5.
[20] ‘Late Colonel Foster, memorial unveiled, glowing tributes’, Warwick Daily News, 3 December 1930, p.3.
[21] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.10; ‘Town Council, town hall improvements’ Warwick Daily News, 11 March 1925, p.4 (to build strongroom); ‘Warwick’, Brisbane Courier, 12 June 1929, p.18 (strongroom built).
[22] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.10; ‘Town Council, town hall improvements’ Warwick Daily News, 11 March 1925, p.4 (reconfigure offices); ‘Warwick’, Brisbane Courier, 9 September 1929, p.17 (entrance vestibule faced with tiles to a height of 6ft 6 inches).
[23] ‘Town Council, ordinary meeting’, Warwick Daily News, 14 March 1928, p.2.
[24] ‘Public Conveniences’, Warwick Examiner and Times, 14 October 1911, p.5; ‘Town Council, current elections, Labour Policy’, Warwick Daily News, 2 April 1927, p.6.
[25] ‘Warwick’, Brisbane Courier, 12 June 1929, p.18 (tender); ‘Warwick’, Brisbane Courier, 29 July 1929, p.15; ‘Warwick’, Brisbane Courier, 9 September 1929, p.17. Measurements of the supper room were given as 43ft by 32ft in the July article, but 42ft by 30ft in the September 1929 article.
[26] ‘Town Council, the August meeting’, Warwick Daily News, 7 August 1930, p.2.
[27] ‘Town Council, November meeting’, Warwick Daily News, 13 November 1930, p.2 (septic system). Initially, few people were aware of the existence of the lavatories, and by 1934 there were calls for signs to be erected, and for the electric plant of the picture company using the Town Hall to be moved, so that people could access the lavatories along the north side of the hall (‘Town Council, intermittent relief’, Warwick Daily News, 12 September 1934, p.3; ‘Town Council, street improvements’, Warwick Daily News, 13 November 1934, p.5). ‘Committee Reports’, Warwick Daily News, 13 July 1948, p.4 (lavatories out of date); ‘City Council: deputation to seek level crossing in Denham Street’, Warwick Daily News, 22 June 1954, p.5 (new Grafton Street toilets).
[28] ‘New lethal chamber’, Warwick Daily News, 6 March 1935, p.4; ‘Lethal chambers in demand’, Warwick Daily News, 3 October 1935, p.2 (Warwick one of the first); ‘Killing of dogs, Gympie’s lethal chamber, gas preferred to shooting’, Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 28 August 1936, p.6 (only three such chambers in Queensland by 1936, including at Toowoomba and Gympie). Other articles refer to the chamber being built ‘at the rear of the town hall’ (‘R.I.P’, Warwick Daily News, 9 March 1935, p.2) but none specifically say it was attached to the lavatory block. 1950s aerial photographs also seem to show a small structure just east of the lavatory block, on the northern boundary of the Town Hall’s rear yard (DNRM aerials QAP138-38, 1 June 1951; and QAP652-42, 14 July 1956). The 1956 aerial also seems to show another small structure on the southern boundary of the yard.
[29] ‘Town Hall extensions: Expenditure may be increased to £14,000’, Warwick Daily News, 18 December 1954, p.2.
[30] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.10.
[31] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.10; DNRM aerial photographs QAP1258-50, 6 June 1962, and QAP2521-755, 30 June 1972.
[32] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.11.
[33] ‘Warwick Town Hall Conservation Management Plan’, p.11.

Image gallery

Location

Location of Warwick Town Hall within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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