Sep 2, 2008

Clocktower Centre History

The Town Hall in Moonee Ponds is an important landmark in the history of Moonee Valley. It has gone through many phases and for a long time, it has been known as the Essendon Town Hall. Now after many years it is an entertainment centre known as the "Clocktower Centre".
Built as a Mechanics Institute and opened by the Mayor Cr. J. Parry in September 1880, the building was used as a place of learning for the working public. Two years later Flemington and Kensington wards separated.
Officially opened to the public on 4th February 1886 as the Essendon Town Hall, a banquet was organized, Alfred Deakin was present who later became Prime Minister of Australia. Between the years 1910-1911 after 24 years serving as the Essendon Town Hall, the building was considered to be too small and the Council proposed to add a new Town Hall and offices. By November 11th 1913, the foundation stone for the renovated hall was laid and reopened to the public on the 14th July 1914 by Mayor Cr. J. F. Henderson. By 1930 the tower had been built and a place was allocated for the clock to be installed. Between 1972-1976 there were plans to demolish the building and the land to be sold. However, it was decided that it would be better used as a Community Centre and it began to function as such in 1973. On January 16th 1978, an unfortunate fire took place, the fire burnt much of the interior but was fortunately brought under control before causing further damage, it was rebuilt in 1979 and some of the old features were kept, the tower is the only original structure remaining today. After more than 120 years of history and now known as the Clocktower Centre, this remarkable building has gone through many phases.

2 comments:

yplocalhistory said...

Congratulations on the new family local history blog.
Heidelberg also has a clock tower town hall - now known as "The Centre". History at:
http://thecentreivanhoe.com.au/docs/history.pdf

bibliophile said...

Thanks for this post. We attended a concert at the clocktower last week and were wondering about it's history.