I hope you can join me on Saturday for the reopening of the heritage-listed Glebe Town Hall.
The $6.8 million project was the first major upgrade in the building's 132 year history. The City has lovingly restored the building's unique historical features as well as boosted the building's sustainability credentials.
The careful restoration has transformed the building into an accessible and sustainable community venue with modern facilities.
The elegant rooms of the hall have played host to social and civic events throughout Glebe's history, from wartime balls and evening concerts, to debating clubs and political meetings.
During the restoration, heritage experts uncovered 19th century sgraffito plaster carvings and these have been made an impressive feature of the hall once again.
The two-year project rescued heritage features such as salt and water damage to the faÃ§ade, restored the clock tower to working order and replaced roof tiles with Welsh slate to match the originals.
Accessibility has also been improved with a new street level entry on Lodge Street, a pram and wheelchair ramp from Mt Vernon Street and new access to The Lodge from the ground floor of the town hall.
A new lift services all floors and the southern foyer and features a glass faÃ§ade embossed with a white flying fox artwork by design collective Collider.
New tenants in the building include the Glebe Early Childhood Health Centre and other community-run organisations.
There are also meeting rooms and hire spaces that can be used for art, workshops or dance classes, business and enterprise training, support groups and counselling or weddings and other parties.
We've improved the environmentally sustainable features by:
- Using recycled and re-used materials where possible;
- Installing new lights to reduce energy use;
- Improving natural light and ventilation to reduce demand for air-conditioning; and
- Adding rainwater collection for re-use in the bathrooms and garden.
The renovation has also created two refuges for the Superb Fairy-Wren, in consultation with the Glebe Blue Wren Group.
Designed by Ambrose Thornley Junior, and built in two stages in 1880 and 1891, the building comprises the main town hall, council chambers and The Lodge - an erstwhile residence for the Town Clerk.
The complex, which is on the State Heritage Register, sits on one large block, with frontages on St Johns Road, Lodge and Mt Vernon streets.
Visitors on Saturday will be able to enjoy a free gelato at the Town Hall and a free coffee or drink at a number of places on St Johns Road.