It's been many years since it's hosted a council meeting, but as its name - and historic signage - suggest the Library was once Mudgee's centre of local government.
The Municipality of Mudgee was proclaimed in 1860, along with the Municipality of Cudgegong - later Shire. However the former went two decades without a Town Hall, with stop-gaps used including the former court house and the Wells building in Lewis Street.
Tenders for the building were considered in 1880, with the contract eventually being taken over by Messrs McFarlane and Henry. The foundation stone laid by Mayor Thomas Clark in August of that year.
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Town Hall days
The Town Hall was opened on December 15, 1881, and soon became an important venue. The theatre - which was part of the original plan for the building - hosted its first concert in March 1882, by teachers and students of Mudgee Public in aid of the District Hospital.
Because the Council had put itself in a precarious financial position in order to build it, they would go on to lease parts for commercial premises. Indeed in the old photos [above] signage for 'R.J Richardson Watchmaker and Jeweller' can be seen.
Originally only a meeting room and the mayor, town clerk and general offices, were used for Council purposes, before work was completed on the ground floor in 1903. Although it would still host other tenants over the years, including the Agricultural Society and Ulan County Council.
One for the books
Mudgee Municipal and Cudgegong Shire councils amalgamated in 1975 and became Mudgee Shire Council, with meetings held at the former Cudgegong chambers. The administration building at 86 Market Street was completed in 1979.
The ground floor of the Town Hall was renovated and became the Library - relocated from the Mechanics Institute building - along with the Mudgee Tourist Office which moved when the current Visitor Information Centre was finished. The Victorian shop frontages were also re-installed during the work.
In 1983 the building was extended at the rear. Which increased the floor space of the Library and enabled further facilities to be added to the theatre.
The Town Hall as we know it today is the result of an extensive refurbishment in 2012-13 that doubled the Library - including over multiple levels at the rear - and added new equipment and furniture for the theatre, which began screening movies soon after. The building is listed by the National Trust of Australia.
- This article was produced from the archives of the Mudgee Historical Society, including John Broadley's Historic and Architectural Study, and the Mudgee Guardian/The Weekly.