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Kalgoorlie Town Hall

Source: Wikipedia

Prior to the amalgamation in 1989, the town Kalgoorlie and the Shire of Boulder always enjoyed a healthy competitive spirit.  Both towns began talking about building a Town Hall in 1906 and so began the race between municipalities to see who could complete their building first.

Tenders for construction of the Kalgoorlie Town Hall were called in July 1907. After two rounds of tenders, the successful candidate was Messrs Williams, O’Donnell and Co who agreed to complete the work in 12 months at a price of £12,296. There was dissention amongst residents of Kalgoorlie as the decision was controversial as the tender price was the lowest received.  Elected members decided to proceed with the successful tenderer, regardless of the community sentiment.

The Foundation Stone for the Kalgoorlie Town Hall was laid on 6 November 1907.

The Boulder Town Hall was commissioned, and tenders awarded at the same time, but the Kalgoorlie Town Hall looked like winning the race to the competition.  Construction had progressed steadily but was spectacularly interrupted by a severe storm which hit Kalgoorlie in February 1908 and caused the back wall to collapse – this postponed the completion date significantly.

His Excellency the Governor, Admiral Sir Frederick Bedford, officially opened the Kalgoorlie Town Hall on 8 September 1908.

The opening of the grand building was described as ‘a spectacular event’ with plush curtain being raised to reveal a splendid scene. The striking interior was thronged with spectators. At the conclusion of speeches, afternoon tea was served, and a musical programme enjoyed.

The Kalgoorlie Boulder Council Chambers are located upstairs and to this day still in use by the current Council for their meetings.  The Chambers were, prior to amalgamation the meeting room for the Town of Kalgoorlie.  The Chamber has been in use since 1908 and the only Chamber of Local Government to be used continuously for over 100 years.

The main hall is 24 meters in length. 17 meters in width and 10.3 meters high with a covered ceiling.  The Kalgoorlie Town Hall stage in 17 meters by 10.9 meters, with a height of 15.8 meters, Around the wall is a fly gallery, with a provision for a painting frame. The Proscenium opening is 8.53 meters by 7.31 meters and is closed with a handsome crimson velvet curtain, which draws up without rolling.

The Kalgoorlie Town Hall was the premier venue in the town for most visiting shows and artists. Dame Nellie Melba and Percy Grainger were two of the big names to appear at the town hall, theatrical productions from the JC Williamson Company were popular during the 1950’s.

Edgley and Dawe regularly toured, as did the West Australian Ballet and Symphony Orchestra. Winifred Atwell played to an appreciative and packed house in the early sixties on the Town Hall’s grand piano.

Stepping back a number of years, the most spectacular stage shows to present themselves to Kalgoorlie was a ice skating performance from an European based group, the stage of the Kalgoorlie Town Hall was iced over for the performance.

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