History

The Horsham Town Hall was a municipal complex built in 1938-1939,  incorporating offices and a council meeting room, an auditorium, supper room, and an associated tenancy. It replaced an earlier complex, with offices of 1886 and a town hall of 1911.

It was designed by the distinguished Melbourne architect Charles Neville Hollinshed (1899-1993), one of Australia’s leading theatre designers and an expert in the interior planning and detailing of auditoria and associated spaces. The contract was given to the builder Rupert F Anderson for the sum of £6,500, and the foundation stone was laid on 21 July 1938 and the building opened on 31 May 1939.

The building was one of the most important civic complexes built outside Melbourne in the inter-war period, and was the subject of a lengthy article in the Journal of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects in June 1939 and in the Sydney-based journal Building in August that year.

The offices were vacated in 1980 when a new civic centre opened.

In 1983 the Horsham Art Gallery was established in the former offices, and extensions to the gallery designed by Heymann, Kolleger & Beyer Pty Ltd opened in 1999.*

In 2006, The Horsham Town Hall and Regional Art Gallery redevelopment was listed as an initiative in the Council Plan.  Having received Federal and State Government funding of $10 million, in 2011 the process began for determining the location for a new Performing Arts Centre and Regional Art Gallery in Horsham.

After numerous consultations, revisions and set-backs opening celebrations  commenced 29 January 2016 with the official opening of the redeveloped Horsham Town Hall occurring on 12 February 2016.

*Courtesy Anthemion Consultancies

The Horsham Town Hall is architecturally significant as an outstanding example of a provincial municipal building of the inter-war period, and as a notable and intact example of the Art Deco style of the late 1930s. Its grand public interiors, including the auditorium, foyers, staircases and supper room, as well as the former council meeting room, are outstanding examples of the style, notable by their molded plasterwork, terrazzo floors and stairs, and the use of anodized metal and polished timber and for the original light fittings.

National Trust of Victoria

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