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Gayndah Shire Hall

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  • 602124
  • 32-34 Capper Street, Gayndah

General

Also known as
Gayndah and District Soldiers Memorial Hall and Council Chambers; Gayndah Town Hall; Gayndah Soldiers' Memorial Hall
Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
28 September 2001
Type
Government administration: Hall—town / city / shire / divisional board
Themes
7.4 Maintaining order: Local government
8.2 Creating social and cultural institutions: Cultural activities
8.3 Creating social and cultural institutions: Organisations and societies
8.5 Creating social and cultural institutions: Sport and recreation
8.6 Creating social and cultural institutions: Commemorating significant events
Architect
Hall & Phillips
Construction period
1934–1935, Gayndah Shire Hall (1934 - 1935)
Historical period
1919–1930s Interwar period

Location

Address
32-34 Capper Street, Gayndah
LGA
North Burnett Regional Council
Coordinates
-25.625702, 151.610366

Map

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Significance

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

The Gayndah Shire Hall (1935), is important in demonstrating the pattern of constructing civic buildings by local governments during the 1930s assisted by funding from unemployment relief projects.

Opened in 1935, the hall and council chambers are a tangible expression of a sustained period of prosperity in Gayndah, resulting from the continuing growth of the horticultural – particularly citrus fruit growing - agricultural and dairying industries in the Shire in the 1920s and 1930s.

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

The Gayndah Shire Hall (1935), is an important example of an interwar regional civic building. It was designed by the prominent Brisbane architectural partnership Hall and Phillips and combines council offices and chambers, and a large public hall and theatre with stage, supper room, and dressing rooms. The building, prominently positioned on the main thoroughfare of the township, remains substantially intact and is still in use for its original purpose as the seat of the local government.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The Gayndah Shire Hall has aesthetic significance as a well composed building designed to reflect the progressive nature of the Town Council and makes an important contribution to the streetscape of Gayndah’s main thoroughfare, Capper Street.

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

The Gayndah Shire Hall has a strong and special association with the Gayndah community and has been the focus of social, municipal and commemorative activities since 1935.

History

The Gayndah Shire Hall was constructed in 1935 on the corner of Capper and Pineapple streets by the Gayndah Shire Council. The building was designed by prominent Brisbane architects, Hall and Phillips, and is one of a number of civic buildings designed by the partnership during the interwar period.

Gazetted in 1849, the town of Gayndah initially developed as the centre for a number of large sheep stations taken up in the Burnett region during the 1840s. Gayndah's early growth as a pastoral ‘capital’ is largely attributed to the determination of the squatters, and for a short time, the town reputedly rivalled Brisbane as the capital for Queensland. Gayndah also developed as the administrative centre for the area: a court house and post office were established in the 1850s and a school [QHR 600516] was erected in 1861. A branch of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney was opened in 1864, and a Town Council was established in 1867, comprising a mayor and three aldermen. In 1880 the Rawbelle Divisional Board was established and attended to all business outside the jurisdiction of the Town Council. Gayndah’s tropical climate and alluvial soils provided excellent conditions for fruit growing. Citrus orchards flourished, and together with cattle and dairy farming, provided both the basis for the development of Gayndah from the turn of the century and sustained growth for the shire in the 1920s and 1930s, with citrus growing developing into a primary industry in the 1930s.  In 1922, a new board known as the Rawbelle-Gayndah Joint Board was formed and comprised a delegation from Gayndah. The Town Council and Joint Board merged in 1925 to form the Gayndah Shire Council, which consisted of a Chairman and six councillors.[1]

In 2008, the Shire was amalgamated with those of Biggenden, Eidsvold, Gayndah, Monto, Mount Perry and Munduburra to form the North Burnett Regional Council.[2]                                                                                                  

Like all Australian communities, Gayndah was impacted by WWI (1914-1918). Of the 330,770 Australians who embarked for overseas service in WWI, 58,961 died and 170,909 were wounded, went missing or became prisoners of war. Even before the end of hostilities, memorials were being erected by Australian communities to honour local people who had served and died. A scheme was put forward by the Gayndah Town and Rawbelle councils in 1918 to erect a public hall in Gayndah in honour of the local soldiers who enlisted in World War I (WWI). WWI memorials were erected by Australian communities even before the end of the war and took a variety of forms, including honour boards (from 1915), stone monuments (including obelisks, soldier statues, arches, crosses, columns or urns), tree-lined memorial avenues, memorial parks, and utilitarian structures such as gates, halls and clocks. The proposed memorial hall at Gayndah was of the latter type and once finished, was to be shared by both local authorities whilst also providing a hall for public purposes.[3]                                 

A war memorial [QHR 600517], in the form of a large outdoor honour board designed by leading Brisbane metal artisan Ernest Gunderson, was erected in 1919 at the junction of Capper, Meson and Warton streets. It was moved to its current location on Capper Street in 1988.[4]

The need to replace Gayndah’s existing town hall – built in 1881 – and the community’s continuing desire to build a local memorial hall, prompted the Gayndah Town Council to apply in 1922 for a Treasury loan of £5000 for the erection of a new town hall. A poll was held in May the following year and residents supported the loan application. In December that year, the Treasury stated it was unable to offer the loan until the following financial year. Fundraising for the erection of the new hall became a community effort. The Gayndah sub-branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) and the Gayndah Branch of the Country Women’s Association lead local fundraising efforts throughout the 1920s.[5]

The site for the proposed Town Hall had been acquired by the Gayndah Town Council in 1924 possibly through arrears in rates payments. The block (1376m²) was subdivided in October 1929 and the southern section (652m²) was transferred to the Queensland Country Women's Association.[6]

At a meeting of the local progress association on 29 September 1933, it was resolved to proceed with the Town Hall project, which was supported by the Gayndah branch of the RSSILA and the Gayndah Chamber of Commerce.[7]

In the 1930s, loans and subsidies were being offered to local councils for construction projects with the aim of reducing mass unemployment brought on by the Depression. Across Queensland, town and shire councils took advantage of the economic assistance to construct new civic buildings. An application was made by the Gayndah Shire Council to the Treasury for a subsidy of £3000 and a loan of £3000. The loan was approved and tenders were called in March 1934 for a new concrete Town Hall at Gayndah. HE McDonnell was the engineer for the project and Tom Cullen was the foreman. Construction of the building commenced in September 1934.[8]

The Town Council engaged the Brisbane architectural firm of Hall and Phillips to design the council chambers. Hall and Phillips had formed a partnership in 1929, when Lionel Blythewood Phillips was admitted into partnership with Thomas Ramsay Hall, formerly of Hall and Prentice, who designed the Brisbane City Hall [QHR 600065]. Hall and Phillips continued in practice until 1948 and their projects included the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba [QHR 600978], Southport Town Hall [QHR 601649], and shire offices at Gatton, Murweh, Boonah, Dalby [QHR 601018], and Monto.

The Council Offices were designed to include the council chambers, a general office, a spare office and offices for the Town Clerk, the Health Officer and the Engineer. The hall included ladies and gentlemen's cloak rooms, a ticket office, the hall and stage, dressing rooms and a supper verandah with kitchen. Separate public toilets with a septic system were constructed at the rear of the hall.[9]

The council offices were complete by May 1935 and the hall completed in July. The building, which was named the Gayndah and District Soldiers Memorial Hall and Council Chambers, was officially opened on the 19 July 1935 by the Hon E Hanlon, in commemoration of the employment relief loan the Gayndah Town Council had received from the State Government in order to construct the building. Problems associated with the availability of materials and the quality of the day labour sent to work on the project are recorded in the Council minutes.[10]

The project, which cost £7012 received an additional £500 subsidy and £500 loan from the State Government and excluded the furnishings and fitting out of the toilets. The building, described as ‘a nice example of modern architecture’ in the 12 October 1934 edition of the Building Journal, added a new style of architecture to the town.

The Town Hall Pictures and supper rooms opened on 7 August 1935 and were operated by lessees continually until 1997 when the regular showing of films in the hall was discontinued.[11]

Thursday nights were reserved for functions other than films and various committees held balls and concerts in the hall. The balls were well attended until the mid-1960s and with three different picture programs a week, the Town Hall offered a wide cross section of the community an opportunity for entertainment.

A memorial plaque was installed on the front of the building on Armistice Day in 1938 as a tribute to the district’s fallen soldiers.[12]

In 1974 alterations were made to enlarge the supper room and upgrade the kitchen with funds provided by the Regional Employment Development (RED) scheme. An office and a kitchenette were added to the rear of the council offices at this time. The original lighting was removed in the 1980s but was subsequently reinstated when new lighting was installed. Other changes include the removal of the gates to the vestibules (these are stored on the site) and the construction of a brick toilet block on the corner of Capper and Pineapple Streets in 1970.[13]

In 2017, the Gayndah Shire Hall continues to be used for its intended municipal purpose as the seat for the North Burnett Regional Council. Occasionally, the hall theatre is still used for movie screenings. The hall and the Gayndah War Memorial [QHR 600517], also located on Capper Street, play a focal role in Gayndah’s Anzac Day Services.[14]

Description

The Gayndah Shire Hall is a single storeyed rendered concrete building with corrugated iron roof situated on the southern corner of Capper and Pineapple streets. The building makes an important civic contribution to the streetscape of Gayndah’s main thoroughfare. Along with the Gayndah War Memorial [QHR 600517] and Gayndah Court House [QHR 601294], the Shire Hall is part of a prominent collection of civic structures in the town centre.

L-shaped in plan, the building has a façade composed of three symmetrical bays, the central one projecting beyond the others. The entrances to the Council Chambers and Town Hall Theatre are located in the end bays. Raised signage panels on the parapet denote these functions. The central bay signage panel bears the name, ‘Gayndah Soldiers' Memorial Hall’.

The fenestration comprises pairs of three-light casements and fanlight, which are separated by pilasters with simple vertical detailing and articulated by raised vertical and horizontal rendered concrete bands. The pilasters finish to the underside of a wide string course that projects forward to form a hood at each entrance and at the centre of the building. The parapet is decorated on its upper edge with a string course and another below this, both being decorated with a vertical lined pattern.

The skillion roof to the Council Chambers has sloping parapets at each end that conceal it to the east and separates it from the gable roof over the hall and skillion roof over the bio box behind the façade. The hall roof is hipped at its southern end and has a ventilated gablet at each end.

The hall is entered via stairs to a vestibule with ticket office. The ladies' and men's cloak rooms are located on either side of the vestibule and have cement rendered walls, fibrous cement sheeted ceilings with timber cover battens and timber floors. Inside the Hall is framed with arched timber trusses between which the curved ceiling is lined with fibrous cement panels and timber cover strips. Timber lattice ventilation panels are located in the centre of the ceiling between the trusses. The floor is timber-framed on concrete stumps and is lined with Crow's Ash. The stage has a simply detailed battened proscenium and dressing rooms open off the eastern side. The supper room and kitchen, which have been altered and extended including with floor coverings and banks of louvres, is also located on the eastern side. A structure above the entrance to the hall to access the sound and lighting equipment is a later visually intrusive addition.

The council offices are entered via stairs to a public space that retains its original counter. The offices are divided by timber and glass partitions and the council chambers are lined with timber panelling. The ceilings are lined throughout with fibrous cement sheeting and timber cover battens and the furniture in the chambers dates from the original fit-out.

The 1970 brick toilet block on the north-western corner of the lot has been redesigned to provide disability access. The building has been rendered to match the façade of the hall. A small section of the original fenced lawn is retained south of the toilet block along Pineapple Street.

Free-standing signs fronting Capper Street and an interpretative sign located east of the Council Chambers entrance are not considered to be of cultural heritage significance.

With the exception of the later additions to the rear of the council offices and the supper room, the Gayndah Shire Hall is highly intact.




References

[1] Northern Times, 7 April 1858, p.4; The North Australian, Ipswich and General Advertiser, 8 September 1857, p.4; The Moreton Bay Courier, 12 May 1858, p.2; Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 7 February 1861, p.2; 25 August 1864, p.2; 2 March 1867, p.2; 19 January 1867, p.2; 28 February 1880, p.3; Queensland State Archives, Item ID 275659 (Minute Book – Rawbelle Divisional Board); The Queenslander, 1 January 1931, p.12; 5 February 1931; The Telegraph, 19 May 1938, p.11; Brisbane Courier, 4 February 1922, p. 9. ; QHA 600516.
[2] Media release, ‘North Burnett council to receive top-up amalgamation assistance Thursday’, 15 April 2010.
[3] QHR 650029; Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 1 May 1918, p.6; Inglis, KS and Brazier, J, 2008, Sacred Places: War memorials in the Australian landscape, The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne p.161.
[4] The Brisbane Courier, 9 September 1919, p.7; Converge, 2014, Heritage Impact Statement – Gayndah Shire Hall toilets and sheds, North Burnett Regional Council. p.7.
[5] The Brisbane Courier, 3 August 1922, p.11; 8 September 1925, p.15; Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 24 March 1881, p.2; 17 Jan 1921, p.4; 11 April 1923, p.12; 14 July 1925, p.3; 18 August 1926, p.4; 1 September 1926, p.2; The Daily Mail, 11 December 1923, p.10; The Queenslander, 12 May 1923, p.29.
[6] Historic Title 11577245; Historic Survey Plan Lot 1/RP47353 (Cat. No. 47353); Historic Title 11789210; Queensland Times, 6 January 1922, p.3.
[7] Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 29 Jul 1933, page 3.
[8] Ian Sinnamon, 2001, Putting on a brave front: Queensland between the wars. pp.172-3; Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 2 October 1933, p.3; 7 December 1934, p.2; 20 July 1935, p.7; Queensland Times, 6 March 1934, p.5; Architecture and Building Journal, 10 March 1934.
[9] The Telegraph, Sat 17 Feb 1934, p.9.
[10] Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 4 July 1935, p.9; The Telegraph, 8 Jul 1935, p.5.
[11] Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 15 August 1935, page 3.
[12] Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 15 November 1938, p.4.
[13] Converge, 2014, Heritage Impact Statement – Gayndah Shire Hall toilets and sheds, p.2.
[14] North Burnett Regional Council (2017), www.northburnett.qld.gov.au

Image gallery

Location

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