The old Town Hall

The pictured building is the old Town Hall (Council Chambers). It was close to the corner of Russell and William Streets.

Land had been reserved on that corner for such a purpose since 1865 but financial problems delayed the building of the Council Chambers. Councillors held their meetings in local hotels in the meantime.

The building was opened in 1876. It was designed by local architects, Backhouse Brothers.

While an attractive structure, it was quickly shown to be too small for the business of a growing municipality; although plans to build a larger Chambers were shelved for some considerable time.

There was a plan to move Council business to Howick Street and return most or all of the land to Machattie Park but only the Post Office moved.

The old Town Hall was demolished in 1958 and the Civic Centre was built in the space, taking the bowling green as well. The modern building was designed by D. Trevor-Jones. It was operating by February 1960.

The City Hall (forerunner of BMEC) was built next door in William Street and was opened in July 1965.