Upgrades to extend Town Hall's rich history image

14 May 2018

If walls could talk, Albany Town Hall could share a wealth of stories. The first civic building constructed in Albany, its towering clock and stone architecture has been an icon of York Street for the past 130 years.

Six British monarchs have reigned and all 29 Australian Prime Ministers have held office over this time, Anzac troops have marched past its doors before sailing for World War I, and its theatre has hosted thousands of performances.

Added to the State Register of Heritage Places in 1996, the Town Hall is about to get a new lease of life as the final piece in the City of Albany’s ongoing project to revitalise the city’s civic heart.

“The Town Hall has an incredibly rich history and is a very important building to Albany and the State, but it is underused and urgently needs attention,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sharpe said.

“We want it to be able to serve our community for another century or more and the work we are about to do will respect its heritage while complementing the spaces around it.”

Mayor Dennis Wellington said the Town Hall was a key part of Council’s goal to create a vibrant city heart that celebrated Albany’s heritage and culture.

“With a focus on culture and the arts, we can activate the Town Hall and encourage more community participation which will make our city centre more vibrant, dynamic and engaging,” he said.

Early works will commence with conversion of a dressing room in the Hall to provide temperature-controlled storage of the City’s valuable art collection. This will take about three weeks from late May and will not cause any disruption to existing Hall users during this period.

The Town Hall Theatre will not be available for public bookings from July 1 due to a range of maintenance issues that will be addressed during the project, with full project design and development taking place between July and December this year.

Community will be able to continue to use the Gallery space until construction works begin in early 2019, with the Town Hall expected to reopen in early 2020. While the Town Hall is unavailable, the community will be able to book spaces at Vancouver Arts Centre and upstairs at Albany Public Library as venues for events and functions.

The City thanks Lotterywest for making the Town Hall upgrades possible with a $1 million grant.

Photo: Andrew Halsall