Town Hall

From The Orange Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

In 1886 Orange Municipal Council decided to build a Town Hall. The site on the corner of Anson and Byng Streets was selected. It was home to Smith Bros Furniture Warehouse and the site was purchased by Council for 11 pounds per foot. A cornerstone was laid on the north front corner by Mayor J.M.Paul dated July 21, 1887.

The first council meeting was held at Town Hall in April 1888. The original building had an iron paslisade fence with gates and sandstone posts – similar to the Court House fence, but this was later removed.

On the southern side of the Memorial Hall there was Mr Archie McGrath’s modern undertaker’s establishment and this is now the northern end of the Orange Ex-Services Club.

An observation desk was constructed on top of the building at the southern end. It was used during World War ll to spot the movements of aeroplanes and was later removed along with an internal staircase.

Just around the corner, in Byng Street, was a garden area with a large pine tree. This whole area was taken over by a shed which housed the gas and electricity departments. Now the area is home to Westpac Bank offices.

By 1956 the Ophir County Council was formed and the electricity section relocated to the corner of Lords Place and Kite Street now the Ophir carpark.

More space was needed as Council’s services to the community continued to develop and there was an urgent need for a cultural and recreational public-meeting place. Orange was also identified as the State’s first growth centre. At the time the State Government decided to create a growth centre in the Bathurst-Orange area for its first major effort in selective decentralisation. So a brief was prepared for the design and construction of a Civic Centre for offices and up-to-date venue for public use and entertainment.

In 1974 the Civic Centre project was launched at a ceremony held at the Hotel Canobolas with a model and plans of the complex officially unveiled for public viewing. The architects Lund, Hutton Newell Paulsen Pty Ltd were appointed from 67 other submissions and the contractor named - Kell & Rigby Pty Ltd.

Vacant land on the corner of Byng and Lords Place, opposite Robertson Park, was the site chosen for the new Council offices.

The Orange Civic Centre complex was completed by the mid 1970s. It was to serve three purposes – provide an administrative headquarters and home for Orange City Council, accommodate a variety of modern stage productions, offer a place for the citizens of Orange to conduct meetings and conferences. A feature of the complex is two central orange tiled stair tower links bringing these functions together yet separating the council offices from the public areas.

Facing Robertson Park in Byng Street, with carparking at the rear, the complex was designed and built at a total cost of $4.6 million.

The building plans were not without controversy as most of the alderman who made the decision to go ahead with the project were thrown out of office. The official foundation stone was laid by Mayor Cr Thomas carrying the names of the incoming councillors who had opposed the construction. It was the second plaque to be unveiled. A small bronze plaque laid by previous Mayor, Ald Dobbin recognised the preceding Council’s support.

Council vacated the old Town Hall in July 1976 after calling it home for 88 years.

On October 9, 1976, the completed Civic Centre is officially declared open to the citizens of the city by his Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler.

Personal tools