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The Civic Centre: Our cultural hub

Friday, 23rd March, 2018

The Civic Centre The Civic Centre

By Paul Armstrong

The story continues...

The Civic Centre becoming a reality in May, 1969.

The Cultural Centre being constructed for the City Council at the intersection of Blende Street and Chloride streets is taking on a more solid shape as concrete is poured around the steel framework. The building will include a main auditorium capable of seating 1,000 people. There will also be a large conference meeting room and a “function room” incorporating a fully electric kitchen for catering purposes. The orchestra pit can be hydraulically raised or lowered, and will serve as a freight lift to lower stage settings to a storage area beneath the stage. Art galleries, a mayoral parlour, meeting rooms and dressing rooms will be provided on the first floor.

By October 1969 Broken Hill’s Cultural Centre is taking on a finished appearance, and gives promise of being an architectural highlight among the city’s tourist attractions from 1970 and beyond. The site once held the Ozone picture theatre. (Note: The Civic Centre opened on 16th of May 1970, the builder was Peter Budini and the final cost was $1.19 million) - (Picture 3).

The Civic Centre in February, 2018. Note how the magnificent trees have grown over time - (Picture 4). 

In February 2016, tenders were called for a makeover and remodelling. The State Government granted $5.1 million towards to project, but after many months of troubled building outcomes, the public amenities were not up to required standard. Court cases ensued with legal decisions still pending. City Council placed the project under the care of Okane Management Group to bring it to fruition for the frustrated community. The project has now lasted longer than the original building of the Civic Centre 45 years ago.

I am sure we are all hoping for a great result and we can safely use the centre for what it was built for - a cultural centre for the people of Broken Hill. There is no use pointing the finger of blame now; it is just necessary to get it right so that we can be proud of a state of the art Civic Centre that will be for the benefit of the public and bring many and varied conferences and entertainers to the city. 

Will it open soon? The 100th Anniversary is in 2070.

* (The photos and story line to the pictures were done in 1969 by the photographer Bunny Bindley and editor of ORE-BITS magazine, Dick Kelly).

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