The Southport Town Hall is situated on the corner of Nerang and Davenport Streets, Southport and was built to reflect the increased size and popularity of Southport. It replaced a modest timber Town Hall building constructed in 1899 for the Southport Divisional Board which had previously met in the courthouse.
Prior to the construction of the new Town Hall, the original timber building was removed and transferred nearby where it remained in use by elected representatives until construction of the new building was completed. It was subsequently used for store rooms although it may also have served as the Southport Fire Station.
Designed by Hall & Phillips, with construction managed by Mr W. Cheetham, the Southport Town Hall is an Art Deco influenced building which was financed by a loan made available by the Queensland Government to alleviate unemployment during the depression and an additional loan of £3000.
Construction began on 11 January 1934 and the building was officially opened by the Queensland Premier, William Forgan-Smith on 2 August 1935.
The ground floor included four offices for rent and public toilets while the first floor, reached by a curving stair, was set aside for offices and the council chamber which had custom made silky oak furniture and parquetry floors.
In 1997 a large conservation project was undertaken which included the removal of a front porch added in 1955. During the extensive work on both the interior and exterior of the building many original features, including the front doors and moto over the front entrance ‘Pro Bono Publico’ (For the Public Good), were revealed for the first time in many years.
The following year the building was added to the Queensland State Heritage register. The Town Hall served as the base of the South Coast, and later the Gold Coast City Council, until the construction of Evandale in 1976.
Since then the Art Deco building has been used as the Southport branch of Council and the office of Councillor Dawn Crichlow. In 2014, the office of the Mayor relocated to the first floor. Official names used for the Southport Town Hall include: Southport Town Hall (former), Gold Coast City Hall, Gold Coast Town Hall, South Coast Town Hall.
Sources of information and further reading
- Gold Coast Local Heritage Register.
- “Secret Room Reveals Early Council History.” The Gold Coast Sun, [Gold Coast, Qld.] 23 Jul 2009, p. 32.
- Gold Coast City Council Community Services Guide and Events Calendar, 1997, p. 168.
- Southport Town Hall, Qld Heritage Register, Qld Heritage Council, The Courier Mail, 2 Aug 1935, p. 14.
- “New Town Hall for Southport.” The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954) 2 Aug 1935: 14. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36758471
- “Gold Key and Pipe.” The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947) 3 Aug 1935: 8 Edition: LATEST FINAL CABLES. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180632016
- “Southport’s New Town Hall.” The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947) 9 Oct 1934: 17 Edition: SECOND EDITION. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article182390798
- Queensland Heritage Register, Southport Town Hall. https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/detail/?id=601649