Statement of Significance
The Geelong Town Hall, including the original 1855 (southern) wing fronting Little Malop Street, consisting of a bluestone building with freestone facade set on a rusticated podium; 1917 (eastern and northern) wings, the northern containing a central colonnade which projects beyond the side pavilions to include the council chamber and a reception room; principal facade fronting Gheringhap Street dominated by a central hexastyle Ionic portico; and landscaped setting; western wing with an entrance to Little Malop Street, constructed 1968-69. Remnants of nineteenth century wallpaper survive in the 1855 wing.HOW IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
The Geelong Town Hall is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria's cultural history.
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects.WHY IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
The Geelong Town Hall is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
The Geelong Town Hall is of historical significance as Victoria's earliest surviving municipal building and for its long-serving role as a centre of local government. The Geelong Town Council has occupied the site since 1855 and the southern section has been continually used for municipal purposes since this date. The building, as completed in 1917 in accordance with Joseph Reed's original design, clearly demonstrates the importance and growth of municipal governance in the State. [Criterion A]
The Geelong Town Hall is of architectural significance as an early and intact representative example of a municipal building in Victoria and one of prominent Melbourne architect, Joseph Reed's, earliest designs. The southern facade, constructed in 1855, and the balance of Reed's design vision, completed in 1917, demonstrates the adoption of the Renaissance Revival style in the design of an important public building and is a fine example of a classically designed town hall in Victoria. [Criterion D]
GEELONG TOWN HALL - History
Geelong was declared a town in 1838. In 1854 a competition was held to design a town hall. A £100 prize was awarded to winning architect, Joseph Reed. The foundation stone for the new town hall was laid on 9 April 1855 and construction of the first stage, which included the southern frontage facing Little Malop Street and the central hall, commenced. In 1915-17, the building was finally completed by local architect, T D Slevin, substantially to Reed's original design. It involved the construction of a large section of building to the north of the existing wing, the completion of the east facade facing Gheringhap Street, and a northern facade that was slightly amended from the original design. The exterior of the building remained largely unchanged until further works were undertaken in 1968-69. This involved the construction of a west wing and internal modifications of the earlier building, which included the replacement of the original hall. The architects Buchan, Laird and Buchan were responsible for this work.
GEELONG TOWN HALL - Permit Exemptions
It should be noted that Permit Exemptions can be granted at the time of registration (under s.38 of the Heritage Act). Permit Exemptions can also be applied for and granted after registration (under s.92 of the Heritage Act).
General Condition 1
All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.
General Condition 2
Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of works that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such works shall cease and Heritage Victoria shall be notified as soon as possible.
General Condition 3
All works should ideally be informed by Conservation Management Plans prepared for the place. The Executive Director is not bound by any Conservation Management Plan, and permits still must be obtained for works suggested in any Conservation Management Plan.
General Condition 4
Nothing in this determination prevents the Heritage Council from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
General Condition 5
Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the relevant responsible authority, where applicable.
Under s.38 of the Heritage Act 2017 the Executive Director may include in his recommendation categories of works or activities which may be carried out in relation to the place or object without the need for a permit under Part 5 of the Act. The Executive Director must not make a recommendation for any categories of works or activities if he considers that the works or activities may harm the cultural heritage significance of the place or object. The following permit exemptions are not considered to cause harm to the cultural heritage significance of the Geelong Town Hall.
Specific Permit ExemptionsExterior - 1855 Building and 1917 Building
Minor patching, repair and maintenance which replaces like with like.
Removal of non-original items such as air conditioners, pipe work, ducting, wiring, antennae, aerials etc and making good.
Installation or repair of damp-proofing by either injection method or grouted pocket method.
Painting of previously painted surfaces provided that preparation or painting does not remove the original paint or other decorative scheme.
Removal of non-original glazing to windows, and replacement with clear or plain opaque glass.Exterior - 1968/69 Building
All repair and maintenance works to the 1968/69 building which replaces like with like (including replacement of door, windows, roofing material and the like).
Repair, removal or replacement of all services including security, water, sewerage, heating/cooling, rainwater goods and the like.Interior - 1855 Building and 1917 Building
Minor patching, repair and maintenance which replaces like with like.
Painting of previously painted walls and ceilings provided that preparation or painting does not remove original paint or other decorative scheme.
Installation, removal or replacement of non-original carpets and/or flexible floor coverings.
Installation, removal or replacement of non-original curtain tracks, rods and blinds.
Installation, removal or replacement of hooks, nails and other devices for the hanging of mirrors, paintings and other wall mounted art.
Demolition or removal of non-original stud/partition walls, suspended ceilings or non-original wall linings (including plasterboard, laminate and Masonite), non-original glazed screens, non-original flush panel or part-glazed laminated doors, aluminium-framed windows, bathroom partitions and tiling, sanitary fixtures and fittings, kitchen wall tiling and equipment, lights, built-in cupboards, cubicle partitions, computer and office fitout and the like.
Refurbishment of existing bathrooms, toilets and kitchens including removal, installation or replacement of sanitary fixtures and associated piping, mirrors, wall and floor coverings.
Removal of non-original tiling or concrete slabs in wet areas provided there is no damage to or alteration of original structure or fabric.
Installation, removal or replacement of ducted, hydronic or concealed radiant type heating provided that the installation does not damage existing skirtings and architraves and that the central plant is concealed, and is done in a manner not detrimental to the cultural heritage significance of the place.
Installation, removal or replacement of electrical wiring provided that all new wiring is fully concealed and any original light switches, pull cords, push buttons or power outlets are retained in-situ. Note: if wiring original to the place was carried in timber conduits then the conduits should remain in situ.
Installation, removal or replacement of public address systems, detectors, alarms, emergency lights, exit signs, luminaires and the like on non-decorative plaster surfaces.
Installation, removal or replacement of bulk insulation in the roof space.
Installation of plant within the roof space.
Installation of honour boards and the like.
Removal or installation of notice boards.
Installation of new desks, built-in cupboards and the like in existing office spaces providing no alteration to the structure is required.
Replacement, repair and upgrades of existing compactuses.
Removal of non-original door and window furniture including, hinges, locks, knobsets and sash lifts.Interior - 1968/69 Building
All internal alterations that do not impact on the structure of the building or the mural in the entrance foyer.
External service corridor at the western end of the 1968-69 Wing
Maintenance, replacement and installation of electrical, water, IT, fire, rubbish disposal, air-conditioning, heating, security and other necessary building services.Landscape
Repairs and maintenance to existing hard landscaping surrounding the heritage place.
The processes of gardening and maintenance of existing shrubs, trees and plants.PublicSafety and Security
The erection of temporary security fencing, scaffolding, hoardings or surveillance systems to prevent unauthorised access or secure public safety which will not adversely affect significant fabric of the place provided that temporary structures are removed within 30 days of erection.
Emergency building stabilisation (including propping) necessary to secure safety where a site feature has been irreparably damaged or destabilised and represents a safety risk. Note: Urgent or emergency site works are to be undertaken by an appropriately qualified specialist such as a structural engineer, or other heritage professional.Signage and Site Interpretation
The erection of non-illuminated signage for the purpose of ensuring public safety which will not adversely affect significant fabric or obstruct key views to the place. Note: Signage and site interpretation products must be located and be of a suitable size so as not to obscure or damage significant fabric of the place, and signage and site interpretation products must be able to be later removed without causing damage to the significant fabric of the place. The development of signage must be consistent in the use of format, text, logos, themes and other display materials.
GEELONG TOWN HALL - Permit Exemption Policy
The purpose of the Permit Policy is to assist when considering or making decisions regarding works to a registered place. It is recommended that any proposed works be discussed with an officer of Heritage Victoria prior to making a permit application. Discussing proposed works will assist in answering questions the owner may have and aid any decisions regarding works to the place.
The extent of registration of the Geelong Town Hall in the Victorian Heritage Register affects the whole place shown on Diagram 184 including the land, all buildings (exteriors and interiors), wallpaper, trees, landscape elements and other features. Under the Heritage Act 2017 a person must not remove or demolish, damage or despoil, develop or alter or excavate, relocate or disturb the position of any part of a registered place or object without approval. It is acknowledged, however, that alterations and other works may be required to keep places and objects in good repair and adapt them for use into the future.
If a person wishes to undertake works or activities in relation to a registered place or registered object, they must apply to the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria for a permit. The purpose of a permit is to enable appropriate change to a place and to effectively manage adverse impacts on the cultural heritage significance of a place as a consequence of change. If an owner is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that Heritage Victoria be contacted.
Permits are required for anything which alters the place or object, unless a permit exemption is granted. Permit exemptions usually cover routine maintenance and upkeep issues faced by owners as well as minor works or works to the elements of the place or object that are not significant. They may include appropriate works that are specified in a conservation management plan. Permit exemptions can be granted at the time of registration (under s.38 of the Heritage Act) or after registration (under s.92 of the Heritage Act). It should be noted that the addition of new buildings to the registered place, as well as alterations to the interior and exterior of existing buildings requires a permit, unless a specific permit exemption is granted.
Conservation management plans
It is recommended that a Conservation Management Plan is developed to manage the place in a manner which respects its cultural heritage significance.
Aboriginal cultural heritage
If works are proposed which have the potential to disturb or have an impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage it is necessary to contact Aboriginal Victoria to ascertain any requirements under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. If any Aboriginal cultural heritage is discovered or exposed at any time it is necessary to immediately contact Aboriginal Victoria to ascertain requirements under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.
If any suspected human remains are found during any works or activities, the works or activities must cease. The remains must be left in place and protected from harm or damage. Victoria Police and the State Coroner's Office must be notified immediately.
Please be aware that approval from other authorities (such as local government) may be required to undertake works.
Any works that may affect historical archaeological features, deposits or artefacts at the place is likely to require a permit, permit exemption or consent. Advice should be sought from the Archaeology Team at Heritage Victoria.
Cultural heritage significance
Overview of significance
The cultural heritage significance of the Geelong Town Hall lies in its design as an early and intact representative example of a municipal building in Victoria and one of prominent Melbourne architect, Joseph Reed's, earliest designs; and as Victoria's earliest surviving municipal building and for its long-serving role as a centre of local government. Remnants of nineteenth century wallpaper survive in rooms of the 1855 wing.
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