Heritage nomination

WINGHAM Town Hall has been nominated for inclusion on the NSW State Heritage Register.

Greater Taree City Council has voted to have the nomination lodged with the NSW Heritage Branch, in the hope that a decision on the nomination will be made in conjunction with the ANZAC centenary in 2015.

The hall's place as a 'unique example of a rural war memorial' combined with its role as a local government administration centre meant it was included in the heritage register nomination together with the clock tower.

The nomination, prepared by the Strategic Heritage Advisory Committee, said the building "demonstrates the exceptional vigour and high level of commitment displayed by small rural communities in honouring their WWI volunteers."

The Wingham Town Hall is built in the Californian Bungalow/Arts and Crafts style of the 1920s. Designed by Sydney architect James Thomson Chambers the building was described by Suters Architects Snell in the 1990 Greater Taree City Council Heritage Study as "an architecturally unique building."

The Wingham community initiated fundraised for the building of the hall during World War I, and after the war the project was continued by the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League (RSSL).

Wingham Municipal Council borrowed 4000 pounds to enable the hall to be completed.

The Manning Valley currently has four State listed heritage items - the Old Bar airport, the railway bridge over the Manning River at Mount George, Taree Railway Station and the Wingham Post Office.

If the Wingham Memorial Town Hall is State listed it will mean any extensions/works would need to be considered by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

The brick outbuilding and childcare centre at the rear of the site have been excluded from the listing, as they were not part of the original building design.

"An advantage of the state listing can be greater access to grant funding to undertake restoration works. Recent trends indicate that heritage grants are focusing on heritage places on the State Heritage Register, rather than local registers," a report to to a recent council meeting said.

Council agreed to have the nomination lodged with the NSW Heritage grant, and also voted to thank Penny Teerman of the Strategic Heritage Advisory Committee for her work in researching and completing the nomination form.

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