Differences of grandeur

My latest article for the Lambton Local is out, this month on Council mergers, and in particular how 11 city and suburban councils merged together in 1938 to form the City of Greater Newcastle Council.

Researching the article got me thinking about the various town halls and council chambers left behind after the 1938 merger, where were they, what happened to them, are they still around today? I’m currently putting together some web pages to document the various municipal council buildings in the Newcastle area.

One thing that has struck me is the stark differences in style and expense in the buildings erected by the various councils. The extremes are best exemplified by the castellated fortress erected by Stockton Council in 1891 , and the simple weatherboard box that Merewether Council erected just three years later in 1894. What were the differences in budgetary restrictions and/or delusional aspirations of grandeur that led to such disparate buildings?  I don’t know the answer yet, but it will be interesting to find out.

Stockton Council Chambers. Newcastle City Council, Hunter Photobank.

Stockton Council Chambers. Erected 1891. Newcastle City Council, Hunter Photobank.

Merewether Council Chambers. Erected 1894. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Merewether Council Chambers. Erected 1894. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.