Stockton Council

Stockton Council was incorporated on 14th October 1889. The council chambers were erected in 1891 on the corner of Clyde and Douglas streets, and officially opened by the Mayor, Alderman O’Mara on Tuesday 24th May 1892.

Stockton Council Chambers. Newcastle Morning Herald, 21 May 1938.

From the 1st January 1939 the land and building was leased to the Stockton RSL sub branch, who later purchased the site in 1958. They renovated the council building in 1962, and it became the Sub Branch’s club house and social club. In 1969 the original council building was demolished and new club house for the RSL was built.

Stockton Council Chambers. Newcastle City Council, Hunter Photobank.

Stockton Council Chambers. Newcastle City Council, Hunter Photobank.

Stockton Council Chamber, NSW. Courtesy of the Ross and Pat Craig Collection, University of Newcastle (Australia)

Stockton Council Chamber, NSW. Courtesy of the Ross and Pat Craig Collection, University of Newcastle (Australia)

The former council chambers in Stockton, was used as an RSL club. Courtesy of the Ross and Pat Craig Collection, University of Newcastle (Australia

The former council chambers in Stockton, was used as an RSL club from 1939 onwards. Courtesy of the Ross and Pat Craig Collection, University of Newcastle (Australia

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.