Sydney's much loved Victorian City Hall



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City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


Sydney City Hall
By Gregor Gosciniak

16 September 2007: The City Hall of Sydney, Australia, is a strikingly beautiful nineteenth-century building. It houses the Lord Mayor’s Office, the Council Chamber, the superb Centennial Hall and its fine reception rooms, as well as the offices of the city’s elected councillors. It was completed 120 years ago and is possibly the city’s only non-religious building to retain its original function and interiors.

But its history was turbulent. In those days the City Fathers sought as much independence as they could possibly get, which was reflected in a collective desire to build their own City Hall. It took decades of negotiation until finally they were able to secure a land grant from the Crown in the former commercial centre of the city. It came as no surprise that the site had to be as remote as possible from the colonial Government House in Macquarie Street.

The plot of land they were able to use was the cemetery of the old St. Andrew's Cathedral. This involved total exhumation and then reburial at cemeteries all over Sydney. A competition was held for the design of the building, and the winner was an obscure architect from Tasmania, Mr J H Willson. The completed building had a large covered entrance for vehicles leading into a courtyard, with its own ring road inside a stone and iron palisade. Unfortunately, this area was destabilised in 1934 during tunnelling for the underground railway and this formal entry had to be demolished.

As a landmark, the tower by the Bradridge brothers was second in scale to Barnet's tower on the General Post Office in Martin Place, while no building to the south or west was taller. City Hall includes a vestibule open to the public, designed by Albert Bond, the City Architect of the time. The vestibule was used as a meeting room before the much larger Centennial Hall was built. The vestibule has elaborately decorated surfaces in plasterwork with stained-glass lanterns and cast metal plaques commemorating official Royal visits to the city.

Centennial Hall was designed by Charles Sapsford and was known at the time as the Great Hall. It was in fact an architectural masterpiece involving a detailed and beautifully structured roof system to meet the span. The ceilings are lined with an early usage of the so-called Wunderlich metal panel system, designed to overcome the fear of plaster panels falling down on the public from vibrations caused by the immense organ – which, incidentally, is still working.

Lord Mayor and Chair of Central Sydney Planning Committee, Clover Moore, has her office in City Hall. She was elected in March, 2004, as the first popularly-elected female Lord Mayor of Sydney. She has been State Member for Bligh area since 1988. She is currently serving her fifth term in the Legislative Assembly of the New South Wales Parliament. Previously she served as a councillor on Sydney City and South Sydney Councils (1980-1987). She is an Independent who has never belonged to any political party.

Clover Moore is committed to working for a better environment than that which exists now. She stands for the protection of public lands and foreshores, and for progressive solutions to tough city problems, as well as political reform.


Organ in Sydney's City Hall


Also by Gregor Gosciniak
Wellington Town Hall
Wellington is not only the capital but also the most important centre of government and culture in New Zealand. In 1900 the City of Wellington held a competition for the design of the new Town Hall that was to be built on Cuba Street. The design by Joshua Charlesworth was selected as the winning entry for its strongly drawn and well-organised design in the classical Renaissance manner.

In June 1901, the Duke of Cornwall and York, the later King George V, laid the foundation stone. Construction began in May 1902. Architect Charlesworth, who was born in Yorkshire, set up his practice in Wellington in his early twenties, designing many important institutional buildings including the New Zealand Post Office Directory between 1885 and 1897. In 1887 he won two competitions, one for the design of the Nelson Town Hall as well as one for building the home for the “Aged and Needy” people of Wellington.

On 7 December 1904 the new Town Hall was officially opened by Wellington’s Mayor Aitken who used a gold and greenstone key for the opening. A programme of events to celebrate the occasion was held. The ceremonies included a choir of seven hundred children and a youth orchestra of 30 players. Wellington residents were very proud of their new Town Hall and felt it would make their city and their local government stronger.

Wellington Town Hall is a fine example of late Victorian municipal architecture, and is both currently and historically an important building for the city of Wellington. It is one of the few landmark civic buildings in New Zealand. The Town Hall was originally fronted by a Roman styled portico topped by a huge clock tower which was a donation to the city and the citizens by John Blundell in 1922, but the clock and its tower were removed in 1934 as a precaution after the 1931 heavy earthquake. More