The lost chambers of Waratah

My next article for the Lambton and New Lambton Local (coming in May) is on the Lambton Courthouse, erected 1879, and demolished in 1937. In researching the article I discovered that in neighbouring Waratah, where they had missed out on a having the courthouse constructed, that court sessions were being held in the Council chambers.

I was aware of three different council chambers/town halls in Waratah, and wondered which one was used for court sittings. It was none of the ones I knew of, and the more I looked the more places I found where Waratah Council had met. Read all the details on my Waratah Municipal Council page.

In a nice coincidence, as I finished writing that page this evening, I realised that it is 146 years to the day since the first ordinary meeting of the Waratah Municipal Council on 21st April 1871.

Waratah Courthouse, originally the Waratah Municipal Council Chambers. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

New Lambton Copper Smelter

Mike Scanlon in today’s Newcastle Herald has an article about the naming of Christo Road in Waratah. In the article he quotes from a letter from a reader, Greg Archbold, who says of John Penrose Christoe

“He arrived in Newcastle about 1869 to establish a smelting works at New Lambton where I believe (the old) Goninans is now located. “

This location is indeed correct, although the various suburbs and names mentioned in connection with the smelter makes things a little confusing.  The smelter was the English and Australian Copper Smelting Company, which operated until about 1917.

Photograph of Waratah copper smelter by Ralph Snowball, 1906. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

The location of the smelter is now in the modern suburb of Broadmeadow, but at the time the smelter was built, Broadmeadow wasn’t a suburb or town – it was a swamp. So the smelter was variously described as being “within a mile of New Lambton” or “near Waratah”, those being the closest townships.  The association of the smelter with New Lambton was reinforced by the fact that the land the smelter was built on was the leasehold property of Messrs. J. and A. Brown, who owned the New Lambton colliery, and who had an exclusive agreement to supply coal to the smelter. For this reason the works were often referred to as “The New Lambton Copper Smelting Works”.

Corporal Barrett’s 1910 map of Newcastle shows the location of the smelter, and also shows that Christo Road was originally called Newtown Road. (Newtown was the original name for Hamilton North.)

1910 Barrett map overlaid on Google Earth, showing the location of the copper smelter near Waratah.

A 1906 real estate poster shows Christo Road mis-spelled as both “Christie Road” and “Christie St”.

1906 map showing Christo Road as “Christie Road”. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

Real estate advertising that doesn’t align with reality is nothing new. The 1906 poster above shows the promise of neatly laid out roads and residential blocks in the Waratah West region near Christo, Creer and Morpeth roads.  However a 1944 aerial photograph of the area I recently obtained from Newcastle Library, shows that 38 years later, there was only Christo Rd and a tiny smattering of houses in the area.

Christo Road Waratah West in September 1944. Newcastle Region Library, Local Studies.

Christo Road Waratah West, 2016.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
6 Nov 1869"The English and Australian Copper Company, who carry on extensive smelting works in South Australia, are about to establish similar works within a mile of New Lambton.
12 Feb 1870Construction of the English and Australian copper smelting works at Broadmeadow has been in progress for three months, and smelting "will be commenced in about two months." (This was a wildly optimistic estimate, as smelting eventually commenced in June 1872, more than two years later.)
The manager is "Mr. Christoe, a gentleman of great experience in copper-smelting."
15 Sep 1870The weather has significantly delayed the opening of the smelter.
"For upwards of two months there was such an accumulation of water at the establishment as to defy the possibility of the works being proceeded with, and thus the company were unexpectedly debarred from carrying out their design in the contemplated time as regards the inauguration of the process of smelting."

The manager of the smelter is Mr. Christoe.
15 Jul 1871Advertisement for a General Manager for the New Lambton Smelting works.
6 Feb 1872Mr Christoe supervising operations at the Burwood Copper Smelter, Glenrock lagoon.
18 May 1872Copper ore has been received, but smelting has not yet begun.
18 Jun 1872Lighting the first fires in two of the coppersmelting furnaces of the English and Australian Copper Smelting Company's works near Waratah.
2 Oct 1917Smelting of ore has ceased.
"The business of the company during the past year had to be conducted under conditions of great risk and anxiety, which finally forced the board reluctantly to instruct the manager in Australia to cease making purchases of ore, to smelt out all copper available, and to close the smelting works, a process that has been carried through."
6 Nov 1919"The long connection of the English and Australian Copper Company, Limited, with the Newcastle district has been finally severed through its having recently sold the land that was the site of the works, known as the Waratah works."
8 May 1920"The chimney stack of the old copper works, which was felled some time ago, gave about 150,000 bricks."

Copper Smelter, Waratah

The Hunter Living Histories site has just published an article on Robert Perrott, including some sketches he did of various places around Newcastle in the late 1800s. Of particular interest is a sketch of the copper smelting works near Waratah.

Copper smelting near Waratah, at Newcastle. (Sketch by Robert Perrott, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW)

This was the works of the English and Australian Copper Smelting Company, which commenced operation in 1872. The Maitland Mercury reported on 18 June 1872

On Tuesday last a very interesting ceremony was performed by the Mayor of Waratah in the presence of the local manager of the establishment and a few gentlemen from Newcastle, namely, that of lighting the first fires in two of the copper smelting furnaces of the English and Australian Copper Smelting Company’s works near Waratah.

The smelter operated for about 47 years, and the land was sold off in 1918 and 1919, as reported by the Maitland Mercury on 6 Nov 1919.

A 1910 map by A. Barrett shows that the smelter was situated in modern day Broadmeadow, where UGL Limited (formerly Goninans) is now located.

1910 Barrett map overlaid on Google Earth, showing the location of the copper smelter near Waratah.

The smelter had two large brick smokestacks, that were highly visible points in the landscape, and often appeared in the background of photographs of the time.

View from New Lambton towards Broadmeadow, with copper smelting stacks in the background. circa 1887. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Stormwater drain construction at Hamilton North., April 1900, looking towards New Lambton. The Waratah copper smelter stack is visible in the background. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

View of Waratah copper smelter from Glebe Rd Hamilton South in 1897. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

An interesting aspect of the Perrott sketch of the smelter, is how some details are quite accurate, but other details not so accurate, probably for aesthetic reasons. When we compare the sketch with a 1906 Ralph Snowball photograph of Waratah taken from somewhere near the present day Mater hospital, we see that Perrott has reproduced the smelter building and stacks reasonably accurately. However in the sketch the smelter appears to be at the base of a hill, but the smelter was actually located on the flat plain of Broadmeadow, and that hill is Merewether Heights some 4km in the distance.

Sketch of Waratah copper smelter by Robert Perrott.

Photograph of Waratah copper smelter by Ralph Snowball, 1906. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
6 Nov 1869"The English and Australian Copper Company, who carry on extensive smelting works in South Australia, are about to establish similar works within a mile of New Lambton.
12 Feb 1870Construction of the English and Australian copper smelting works at Broadmeadow has been in progress for three months, and smelting "will be commenced in about two months." (This was a wildly optimistic estimate, as smelting eventually commenced in June 1872, more than two years later.)
The manager is "Mr. Christoe, a gentleman of great experience in copper-smelting."
15 Sep 1870The weather has significantly delayed the opening of the smelter.
"For upwards of two months there was such an accumulation of water at the establishment as to defy the possibility of the works being proceeded with, and thus the company were unexpectedly debarred from carrying out their design in the contemplated time as regards the inauguration of the process of smelting."

The manager of the smelter is Mr. Christoe.
15 Jul 1871Advertisement for a General Manager for the New Lambton Smelting works.
6 Feb 1872Mr Christoe supervising operations at the Burwood Copper Smelter, Glenrock lagoon.
18 May 1872Copper ore has been received, but smelting has not yet begun.
18 Jun 1872Lighting the first fires in two of the coppersmelting furnaces of the English and Australian Copper Smelting Company's works near Waratah.
2 Oct 1917Smelting of ore has ceased.
"The business of the company during the past year had to be conducted under conditions of great risk and anxiety, which finally forced the board reluctantly to instruct the manager in Australia to cease making purchases of ore, to smelt out all copper available, and to close the smelting works, a process that has been carried through."
6 Nov 1919"The long connection of the English and Australian Copper Company, Limited, with the Newcastle district has been finally severed through its having recently sold the land that was the site of the works, known as the Waratah works."
8 May 1920"The chimney stack of the old copper works, which was felled some time ago, gave about 150,000 bricks."

Waratah Council

Waratah Council was incorporated on 23rd February 1871. During its 67 years of existence, the council meetings were held in quite a few different locations.

The exact chronology and locations are sometimes hard to confirm, and I have had to make some educated guesses based on sometimes fleeting references in newspaper articles retrieved from Trove. The list below is therefore a tentative summary based on the available facts, and should not be regarded as a definitive.

April 1871 Stephens’ Long Room, High St.
May 1871 Mr Dawson’s Assembly Room, Green Gate Hotel, Station St.
1871 – 1873 Former Wade’s Hotel, Turton St.
1873 – 1882 Courthouse building, Georgetown Rd.
1882 – 1889 Stephens’ Long Room/School of Arts, High St.
1889 – 1897 New School of Arts building, Station St.
1898 – 1926 Former Northumberland Hall, Turton St.
1926 – 1938 Hanbury St, Mayfield.

Stephen’s Long Room, April 1871

The first election for alderman in Waratah Municipality took place on Saturday 8th April 1871. The following Thursday, 13th April 1871, there was a special meeting of council for the purpose of electing a Mayor for the ensuing year. The meeting was held in “Mr. Stephens long room, Hanbury”, a building which still exists today at 29 High St. At the meeting, Robert Turton was unanimously elected as Mayor.

The first ordinary meeting of the council was supposed to have happened at this same location on the following Monday, 17 April 1871, however a newspaper report a few days later somewhat cryptically reported …

“The whole of the aldermen composing the Waratah Municipal Council met on Monday evening in Mr. Stephens’ large room, but, in consequence of some clause in the Act, no business could be transacted of an official character ; so that, after an hours’ private conversation as to matters to be brought forward at a future period, and the appointment of next Friday night, at half-past seven, for the next meeting, they broke up.”

One can only wonder which of the clauses in the 1867 Municipalities Act invalidated the meeting that night. The council moved to other premises for their next meeting, but would return to Mr Stephen’s building a decade later. See the section below (1882-1888) for further details.

Mr Dawson’s Assembly Room

On Friday 21st April 1871, the council held their first official ordinary meeting, in “Mr. Dawson’s Assembly Room.” This room was located in the Green Gates Hotel (or Green Gate Inn) operated by Mr. Dawson, as seen in a newspaper report from 29th September 1866.

“On the evenings of Saturday and Monday last the Boston Minstrels gave an entertainment in Mr. Dawson’s Assembly Room, Green Gate Inn.”

In April 1905, an article on the death of Mr. James Marchant reported that …

“Upon his retirement he removed to Waratah, where he kept what was known by the old settlers as the Green Gate Hotel at the Junction of Turton-road and Station-street . Being successful in the business, he had the old building pulled down, and erected the building known as Marchant’s Family Hotel, which was subsequently re-built, and is now called the Town Hall Hotel.”

It is somewhat fitting that the modern day Town Hall Hotel is on the site of the very first ordinary meeting of the Waratah Municipal Council. A second council meeting was held in Dawson’s Assembly Room, on 2nd May 1871. The Ralph Snowball photo below, from the period 1884-1888 shows the site of Dawson’s Assembly Room. The building indicated is almost certainly not the Green Gate Hotel, but Marchant’s Family Hotel, that was rebuilt in 1884 on the same site.

Site of Dawson’s Assembly Room in the Green Gate Hotel, corner of Station and Turton Streets. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Former Wade’s Hotel

The third council meeting was held on 16th May 1871 in yet another location, with the paper reporting that

“On Tuesday, the members of the Waratah Municipal Council sat in their newly appointed chambers, (late Wade’s Hotel.) The room is nicely fitted up, and is furnished with every convenience without being too costly. The aldermen, however, did not appear over comfortable in their new arm chairs, for they (the chairs) appeared rather too low for the height of the table.”

A retrospective on Waratah in a 1940 newspaper article, in listing old hotels, reports that

“William Whiteman had the house known as Wade’s Inn in Turton street from where, in 1887, teams left for the gold diggings.”

A newspaper article in 1866 reported on the Waratah Foot Races, which were held …

“… to open the new running ground …. on the open space between the railway station and Wade’s Hotel”

If the running grounds were where the current sporting fields are, then that would suggest that Wade’s Hotel was somewhere on Turton St between Station and High Streets. Ralph Snowball’s photo of Waratah (1884-1888) contains a large double storey building in this location that could possibly be the former Wade’s Hotel.

Possible location of Wade’s Hotel. Portion of photo by Ralph Snowball or Waratah (1884-1888). University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Courthouse Building

In the following year, the council began debating the need for new council chambers, noting in their meeting of 11th March 1872 that

that the premises at present rented for Council Chambers are, in many respects, very unsuitable for the requirements of the municipality,

and

that it is highly desirable that new Municipal Council Chambers be erected on the ground granted by the Government for that purpose

In the debate Alderman Harper commented that the room currently rented as a council chamber “was simply a closet.”

In August 1872 the plan and specifications for new council chambers was approved by council, and tenders were called for the construction. A month later, tenders were received and evaluated, and the following separate tenders accepted:

G. Gane, stonework completed, £199 ; A. Bung, carpenter’s work, £129 ; Thos. J. Turton, plumbing, painting, and glazing, £31 10s. ; plastering and colouring walls, £16 10s. Total, £376.

The Government Gazette of 18th March 1873 “contained a notice of the grant of one acre of land at Hanbury, Waratah, for Council Chambers”, a date which appears in a map from a 1906 real estate sale poster as seen below.

1906 real estate sale map, showing the site of the first purpose built council chambers for Waratah, dedicated 16 March 1873. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

After many delays in construction, and demands for the contractors to finish their work, the Waratah councillors held their first meeting in the new building on Monday 16th June 1873. It was a rather muted affair though …

The Municipal Council of Waratah held their first meeting in the new council chambers, on Monday night last. The interior presented a most cold and dismal aspect, being insufficiently lighted and furnished, with one table, a few chairs, and a couple of deal forms. From the entire absence of anything approaching a celebration of the event, and the depressing appearance of the inside, the impression conveyed to the observer was that the worthy municipal councillors were thoroughly ashamed of the building, themselves, and the occasion.

In 1873, the NSW Department of Justice had decided to build a district courthouse in Lambton in preference to Waratah, so for court sittings in Waratah they rented out rooms in the new Council Chambers. Within a few years though, the Justice Department were desirous of having a dedicated courthouse building in Waratah, and the council were willing to sell their chambers for £600. The “Waratah Council Chambers Resumption Bill” was passed in parliament on 9th July 1879, and the purchase was completed in September 1879.

Waratah Courthouse, originally the Waratah Municipal Council Chambers. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Waratah Courthouse building in Georgetown Rd, April 2017.

With the building now officially a courthouse, the role of landlord and tenant were reversed, as the council now rented a room in the courthouse to use as council chambers and clerk’s office. By November 1880 the Justice Department had given notice to the council to quit the building, however the Minister for Justice, Sir George Innes, gave reassurance that

“he would do justice to the Council who would not be disturbed within a reasonable time, until other chambers could be found.”

It seems that there was a mismatch of expectations as to what a “resaonable time” was, and the council was still using the courthouse for its meetings 18 months later, and there is a hint of tetchiness in a letter from the Minister for Justice to the council on 6th May 1882, stating that

“representations had been made that the alterations to the Court House were nearly completed, and that great inconvenience arose from the council occupying it; also, that it would be necessary when the alterations were finished for the building to be handed over to the Police Magistrate for the administration of justice.”

This kicked the council into action, and they formed a committee to seek new premises. On Monday 6th June 1882, the council moved back to the premises where their very first meeting had been held 11 years earlier, Stephen’s Rooms in High Street.

Stephen’s Long Room, 1882 – 188?

Variously referred to as “Mr Stephen’s large room”, “Mr Stephen’s long room”, “Stephen’s Assembly Rooms”, or sometimes just “Stephens Rooms”, this was a small double-storey stone building in High St. It was used for various public meetings, and candidates for political office would sometimes make speeches from the second floor balcony. The stone building was constructed by Mr. Henry Stephens, whose occupation was listed as “quarryman” in his nomination for election as alderman in 3rd February 1872. (His nomination was subsequently declared to be informal.)

After vacating the courthouse building, the Waratah Council used Stephen’s Room for their council chamber from 5th June 1882. A month later, the paper reported that

The School of Arts will, in future, be conducted in Stephen’s rooms, High-street. The committee decided upon the removal as the abovenamed rooms are more commodious than those previously occupied.

For the next 7 years, the council and the School of Arts appears to have been conducted from this same building. The ownership of the building throughout this whole period is uncertain, but at the end of this period of co-tenure in January 1889, when the new School of Arts building in Station Street is about to be opened, it is clear that the Council is renting its chambers from the School of Arts committee. The committee wrote to the council

“intimating that they cannot guarantee Council’s occupation of the present room rented by them, as Council chambers, and suggesting that a large room in the new building be used for that purpose.”

The photograph of Stephen’s Rooms below (from University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections) shows a sign mounted on the upper balcony that reads:

Waratah
Municipal Council Chambers
Office Days
Tuesdays & Thursdays
(illegible)

First Waratah Council Chambers, in High Street.

Waratah Council Chambers, in High Street. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Stephens Rooms in High St, April 2017, now a private residence.

Stephens’ Rooms also appears in a Ralph Snowball photograph of Waratah from the period 1884-1888.

Stephens’ Room, High Street, Waratah. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

School of Arts building,  March 1889 – 1897

Land for new School of Arts buildings was granted by the Government in November 1887, having a frontage of 58ft to Station St, and 220ft to Market St.

Portion of 1926 real estate map, showing location of School of Arts on Station St. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Reporting on the laying of the foundation stone by Sir Henry Parkes on 15th December 1888, the new hall was described as an

“… auditorium 35ft x 60ft, and 16ft in height, with a stage 21ft x 16ft, and dressing rooms on either side 7ft x 16ft each. …  The building is of very elaborate design, having frontages to Market and Station streets, and will contain eleven rooms (besides the hall and apartments referred to)
and balconettes on each side.

The laying of the foundation stone was a ceremonial affair, and not the start of construction, as much of the new building had already been completed, and in the following month the opening of the new School of Arts was celebrated by a concert in the hall on 24th January 1889.

Six weeks later on 4th March 1889 the council meeting …

“… was held on Monday evening for the first time in the new Council Chambers in connection with the School of Arts’ Buildings.”

School of Arts Hall, Station St, Waratah, July 2010. Photo by OZinOH (Flickr).

The council continued meeting in the school of arts until 1897 when it was reported that …

“The business of the Waratah council has hitherto been conducted in a portion of the local school of arts, but it has now been decided that the municipality shall have a Town Hall, and for that purpose a building has been secured.”

Northumberland Hall, 1898 – 1926

At a special meeting of the Waratah Council in October 1897, a proposal was put forward …

“… to acquire the present bank buildings in Turton-road, better known as the Northumberland Hall, and convert them into council chambers and offices, making provision on the upper storey for friendly societies and Masonic lodges.”

Northumberland Hall was built in late 1878 and formally opened on 9th January 1879. It was built by the Northumberland Building Society, with the ground floor to be used as offices, and the upper floor as a large hall to be rented out for public meetings. In a strange intertwining of connections, at the time the Society embarked on the building of Northumberland Hall, their office was in a rented room of the Council chambers in Georgetown Rd, premises they were about to lose as the council sold their chambers to the Government for use as a courthouse.

Waratah Town Hall (1897-1926), Turton St. Formerly Northumberland Hall. Newcastle Region Library.

In December 1897 the council purchased the building from the bank and did some renovations, for a total cost of £350. On the day the council took possession of their new town hall, 8th February 1898, the paper reported …

The opinion is general that the council have taken a wise step in acquiring this building. The ground floor consists of a fine suite of offices, providing ample accommodation for the public, the Mayor, and offices. Upstairs is the large hall, providing ample accommodation for council and lodge meetings, with ante-rooms and a spacious balcony. The ventilation is perfect throughout, and the renovation improvements and repairs reflect credit on the architects, Messrs. Sanders and Son, and the contractor, Mr. Thomas Bates, of Hamilton.

On the same day, in the evening, the council met for the first time in the new building, for the purpose of electing the Mayor for the ensuing year. Alderman N. B. Creer was elected unopposed, replacing Alderman H.C. Langwill who had served as Mayor in the preceding year, and whose name appears in the inscription on top of the new Town Hall.

Waratah Town Hall, with inscription on front – “H.C. Langwill, Mayor, 1897”. Newcastle Region Library.

Northumberland Hall appears in a Ralph Snowball photograph of Waratah from the period 1884-1888.

Northumberland Hall, Turton St, Waratah. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

The site of the second Waratah council chambers in Turton Rd, adjacent to the Town Hall Hotel.

The site of the Waratah council chambers in Turton Rd, close to the Town Hall Hotel.

1910 map showing the location of the second Waratah Town Hall.

1910 map showing the location of the second Waratah Town Hall.

The map above shows the Town Hall on Turton Rd, and the Station Master’s residence  on Station St, which is also marked on the following 1926 real estate map.

1926 real estate map of Waratah, showing Station Master's residence.

1926 real estate map of Waratah, showing Station Master’s residence. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Hanbury St, 1926 – 1938

The last Waratah town hall was built on Hanbury St (Mayfield), at the location now occupied by Mayfield Diggers Club. The foundation stone was laid on 20th February 1926, and the official opening was held on Saturday 26th June 1926.

Third Waratah Council Chambers/Town Hall. Hanbury Street, Mayfield. Newcastle City Council, Hunter Photobank.

Final Waratah Council Chambers/Town Hall. Hanbury Street, Mayfield. Newcastle City Council, Hunter Photobank.

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

I’m not sure of when this town hall building was demolished, but it appears to be some time after 1975, as an aerial photograph from 1975 shows a building on the site that matches the size of the town hall, and is clearly not the modern Diggers club.

Waratah/Mayfield, 1975. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Waratah/Mayfield, 1975. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Waratah/Mayfield 2016. Google Earth.

Waratah/Mayfield 2016. Google Earth.

The site of the third Waratah Town Hall, April 2016, now the site of Mayfield Diggers club.

The site of the third Waratah Town Hall, April 2016, now the site of Mayfield Diggers club.

The Town Hall that never was

In addition to all the places where the council did meet, there remains the story of the town hall that never was.

On 23rd July 1891 the council received notification that the Secretary of Lands had approved the council’s request for three portions of land (2411, 2412,  2413) on Turton Rd for a Town Hall, and portion 2410 for a fire brigade station. The dedication of land was officially gazetted on 15th September 1891 along with an adjoining triangular block of land for the Waratah Gas Works, as shown in the map below.

1906 real estate sale map showing portions 2411, 2412, and 2413 on Turton Rd dedicated as a site for a Town Hall, 15th September 1891. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

A fire station was soon built, and officially opened on 14th October 1893, but the town hall site remained unused, as the the council continued to meet in the new School of Arts building in Station St. Eventually, in 1935 a new fire station was built on the corner of Turton and High streets, on the proposed Town Hall site. The new fire station was officially opened on 16th March 1935.

Corner of High Street and Turton Road Waratah, April 2017. The site of the Town Hall that never was.

Timeline of events

Article Date Event DateNotes
13 Apr 1871
8 Apr 1871
First election of aldermen for Waratah Municipal Council.
15 Apr 1871
13 Apr 1871
First council meeting and election of Mayor in “Mr. Stephens long room, Hanbury”.
20 Apr 1871
17 Apr 1871
“The whole of the aldermen composing the Waratah Municipal Council met on Monday evening in Mr. Stephens' large room, but, in consequence of some clause in the Act, no business could be transacted of an official character”.
25 Apr 1871
21 Apr 1871
First ordinary council meeting, in “Mr. Dawson’s Assembly Rooms”.
4 May 1871
2 May 1871
Second ordinary council meeting, in “Mr. Dawson’s Assembly Rooms”.
18 May 1871
16 May 1871
Third ordinary meeting of Waratah Council held "in their newly appointed chambers, (late Wade's Hotel.)"
16 Mar 1872
11 Mar 1872
Waratah council debating the need for new council chambers.
31 Aug 1872
26 Aug 1872
Plan and specifications for new council chambers adopted by council, and ready to be put out for tender.
28 Sep 1872
23 Sep 1872
Tenders received for construction of Waratah council chambers, and preferred tender decided on.
15 Feb 1873
13 Feb 1873
Motion in Waratah Council "That the inscription to be placed on a tablet to be built into the wall, over the entrance to the new Council Chambers, should be as follows : — 'Waratah Council Chambers, erected A.D., 1873.— Robert Turton, Mayor.'"
13 Mar 1873
10 Mar 1873
Contractors G. Gane and A. Burgh ask for an extension of time to complete the council chambers – five weeks is granted.
27 Mar 1873
18 Mar 1873
Gazetting of one acre of land at Hanbury, for Waratah council chambers.
24 Apr 1873
21 Apr 1873
"In reference to the completion of the Council Chambers ... that the contractor be informed that if the Council Chambers be not finished and fit for use on the 1st of May, he will be required to pay the rent of the present room."
21 Jun 1873
16 Jun 1873
First meeting in new chambers in Georgetown Rd.
3 Aug 1878Northumberland Building Society to build a hall in Turton St. Society’s office is currently in Council Chambers building, Georgetown Rd.
11 Jan 1879
9 Jan 1879
A banquet held in celebration of the opening of the new offices and hall of the Northumberland Permanent Building Society.
10 Jul 1879
9 Jul 1879
Passing of the "Waratah Council Chambers Resumption Bill", so that the council chambers could become the courthouse.
8 Nov 1880
5 Nov 1880
A deputation to the Minister for Justice in connection with the council chambers being purchased for a courthouse.
6 Nov 1888
5 Nov 1880
"Waratah Municipal Council had received notice to quit the room used by the Council Clerk in the Courthouse." "Sir George Innes said he would do justice to the Council who would not be disturbed within a reasonable time, until other chambers could be found."
26 May 1882
22 May 1882
Waratah Council still meeting in the courthouse building. A committee formed to find new location.
9 Jun 1882
5 Jun 1882
The council has vacated the Courthouse, and meets at their new chambers, Stephens' Rooms, High-street.
21 Jul 1882"The School of Arts will, in future, be conducted in Stephen's rooms, High-street." This is at the same time that Council commences using this building also.
7 Feb 1885Waratah Council Chambers noted as being in High Street.
17 Mar 1887Waratah Council Chambers noted as being in High Street.
1 Nov 1888Waratah Council Chambers noted as being in High Street.
17 Dec 1888
15 Dec 1888
Ceremonial laying of foundation stone of the new School of Arts building in Station St. (Construction already well underway.)
9 Jan 1889A letter from the Waratah School of Arts Committee, intimating that they cannot guarantee Council's occupation of the present room rented by them, as Council chambers, and suggesting that a large room in the new building be used for that purpose.
26 Jan 1889
24 Jan 1889
Opening of new Waratah School of Arts building in Station St.
6 Mar 1889
4 Mar 1889
Waratah Council meeting for the first time in the new council chambers in connection with the School of Arts building.
31 Jul 1891Secretary for Lands approves dedication of land portions 2411, 2412, 2413 on Turton Rd as a site for a town hall, and portion 2410 for a fire brigade station.
16 Oct 1893
14 Oct 1893
Opening of fire station on High St, adjacent to site of proposed Waratah Town Hall.
13 Oct 1897
11 Oct 1897
Proposal for Waratah Council to acquire Northumberland Hall in Turton St and convert into Council Chambers.
3 Dec 1897"The business of the Waratah Council has hitherto been conducted in a portion of the local school of arts, but it has now been decided that the municipality shall have a Town Hall."
8 Feb 1898Waratah Council takes possession of new town hall – ground floor is offices, upstairs is a large hall.
9 Feb 1898
8 Feb 1898
First council meeting in the new Waratah Town Hall in Turton St.
22 Feb 1926
20 Feb 1926
"The foundation stone of the building in Hanbury-street, Mayfield; which is to be the new town hall for the Municipality of Waratah, was laid on Saturday afternoon."
28 Jun 1926
26 Feb 1926
Official opening of the new Waratah Council Town Hall, in Hanbury St, Mayfield.
18 Mar 1935
16 Mar 1935
Official opening of new fire station on corner of High St and Turton Rd, the site originally dedicated for the Waratah Town Hall.

Questions yet to be answered

  • Where in Turton St was Wade’s Inn? When was it demolished?
  • When was the Town Hall in Turton St demolished?
  • When was the Waratah town hall in Hanbury St demolished?