Monday, May 24, 2010

Southport Town Hall

Please don't tell anyone, but this week's posts are about places outside Brisbane ;-) The indefatigable mrs tff recently was a lecturer at a medical course on the Gold Coast, and I went along as chauffeur, navigator, baggage handler and complaints resolution officer (the $29 glass of champagne my wife was served after a hard day on the hustings was FLAT! So was the barman after I had a word with him!) It was a tough gig, but I was up to the challenge. So was mrs tff, who has been invited back next year. This week we will be looking at Southport. Southport was Southport long before the Gold Coast was invented, if you catch my drift. The name "Gold Coast" was coined by journalists and developers (particularly Bruce Small, later to become mayor and chief promoter of the area) in the 1950s, and Gold Coast City was proclaimed in 1959. Southport, however, was established as a town way back in 1902 with a population of just over 1,000 (white) people. In fact, there is archeological evidence suggesting that indigenous history dates back at least a further 20,000 years prior to that. The Southport Town Hall was built in 1935, and here is a picture of the official opening on 2nd August 1935.(Photo: GCCC; Image No LS-LSP-CD063-IMG0044)

This wonderful Art Deco building was designed by Brisbane duo Hall & Phillips, and it replaced the former town hall, a timber structure built in the nineteenth century. TR Hall had formerly been in the architectural firm Hall & Prentice who had designed Brisbane's City Hall; subsequently he became a resident of Southport. We will see some more of the Art Deco inspired work by Hall & Phillips on the Gold Coast later. Here is another view of the Southport Town Hall from yesteryear,
(Photo: GCCC; Image No LS-LSP-CD094-IMG0005)

The building continued to be used by the Southport Council right up to the amalgamation of several local councils to form the South Coast Town Council in 1949. The new combined council then used this building as its headquarters until the renamed Gold Coast City Council built its new chambers at Bundall; but this building is still operating as a branch office of the GCCC. Major conservation and refurbishment work was undertaken in 1997, and the building, refreshed, withstands any scrutiny in comparison to other local structures. Here is the way it looks now.

(Photos: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


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