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Weld Hall, 13 Queen St, Busselton, WA, Australia

Photographs View Photo Database Record
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Identified through State processes
Place ID 9492
Place File No 5/02/046/0026
Statement of Significance
Weld Hall, a single storey brick building with a galvanised iron roof in a simplified Victorian Italianate style has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:

the place is associated with various organisations, including the Mechanics Institute, the Returned and Services League, the Weld Repertory Club and to a lesser extent the Working Mens Association, and reflects the important public educational role of such organisations
in Busselton;

the place is one of the oldest remaining structures in Busselton;

the place is a physical reminder of the Mechanics Institute ethos, which
was to promote the educational and cultural development of communities throughout Western Australia and elsewhere. Once widespread, the majority of Mechanics Institutes have been replaced by the public library and adult education systems and their social function has all but disappeared;

the place contributes to the Busselton community's sense of place. It has served as a community and town hall, a rehearsal and performance venue for the local district band and in a formal educational capacity as a substitute classroom. It has continuing associations as a venue for local theatre;

the place has aesthetic value in its symmetrical form with its dominant large arched windows and simple decorative features; and

the place is associated with the growth of Busselton as a major regional centre and is a representative example of the type of building stock considered appropriate for public reading rooms.

The toilet block, constructed in 1962, and recently erected shed are considered to be of little heritage significance.

The criteria adopted by the WA Heritage Council in November 1996 have been used to determine the cultural heritage significance of the place.

Weld Hall has some aesthetic value in the symmetrical form of the building, with its dominant large arched windows and simple decorative features, although this has been somewhat compromised by unsympathetic additions and cracking due to the failure of footings.

Weld Hall has historic value for its association with early social and community development of Busselton. The evolution of the building illustrates the early patterns of growth in the region, which were characterised initially by the financial support of families and organisations such as the Mechanics Institute, and later by the Municipality of Busselton.

Weld Hall is a physical reminder of the Mechanics Institute ethos, which was to promote the educational and cultural development of communities throughout Western Australia and elsewhere. Once prolific, the majority of Mechanics Institutes have been replaced by the public library and adult education systems and their social function has all but disappeared.

Weld Hall is associated by name with the Frederick Aloysius Weld, Governor of Western Australia from 1869 to 1875. It is associated with several organisations, in particular the former Mechanics Institute, the RSL and the Repertory Club.

Weld Hall has social significance as it has occupied an important role in the cultural and social life of Busselton for over 100 years. It is highly valued by members of the local community as a venue dedicated primarily to cultural, artistic and literary development and is demonstrative of early reading rooms and libraries. It has associations with various organisations, including the Mechanics Institute and Returned and Services League, which have made significant contributions to the local community.

Weld Hall has served as a community and town hall, a rehearsal and performance venue for the local district band and in a formal educational capacity as a substitute classroom. It has also achieved contemporary social value as a theatre, contributing greatly to the sense of place of the region.

The place represents a distinctive way of life and custom, epitomised by organisations such as the Mechanics Institute and Working Mens Association, that no longer exist in the State. (Australian Historic Themes: 6.1 Forming associations, libraries and institutes for self-education; 6.5 Educating people in remote places; 8.5 Forming associations; 8.5.4 Pursuing common leisure interests; 8.10 Pursuing excellence in the arts and sciences)

This place is entered in the WA Register of Heritage Places. (14/12/2001) The Australian Heritage Commission recognises the standards of historic assessment of the Heritage Council of Western Australia and therefore acknowledges that this place has National Estate cultural historic values.
Enquiries concerning the assessment or conservation of this place should be directed in the first instance to Heritage Council of Western Australia. Commonwealth authorities and bodies should contact the Australian Heritage Commission directly if any Commonwealth action is proposed to
this place.
Official Values Not Available
Description
HISTORY

The Weld Hall is one of the oldest remaining structures in Busselton and is associated with the early social and community development of the town. It is on the corner of Queen and Adelaide Streets and was built in 1881 for the Weld Mechanics Institute.

It is associated by name with Frederick Aloysius Weld, Governor of Western Australia from 1869 to 1875 and with several organisations, in particular the former Mechanics Institute, the RSL and the Repertory Club.

Since 1881 it has been used for many purposes including a town hall and a classroom and has been leased by the Busselton Repertory Club since 1960.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

Weld Hall is a single storey brick building with a galvanised iron roof in a simplified Victorian Italianate style and is one of the oldest remaining structures in Busselton.

The place is associated with the growth of Busselton as a major regional centre and is a representative example of the type of building stock considered appropriate for public reading rooms and features elements such as the large arched windows, typically associated with buildings of this type.

The plain, largely unadorned, facade treatment is characteristic of the restraint of an era experiencing steady, rather than burgeoning, population growth, constructed with limited funding due to the Shire being in its infancy.

The toilet block, constructed in 1962, and a shed erected in recent times are considered to be of little heritage significance.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
CONDITION

Despite a period of apparent neglect and the threat of demolition, Weld Hall is in a good condition. The practice of piecemeal additions, typical of country localities, is in evidence here, particularly at the rear of the building. However most renovations appear to have been undertaken with adequate funding and an appropriate degree of professional expertise. (2001) Refer to the State Listing for further information.

INTEGRITY

The integrity of Weld Hall has been retained throughout the evolution of the place and the uses of the place have to date been compatible with the building and its original intent.

A reasonable degree of authenticity remains in the facade. Alterations to secondary elevation, particularly at the rear, have compromised authenticity. Inside, individual decorative elements exist however the context has been considerably altered. (2001) Refer to the State Listing for further information.
Location
13 Queen Street, corner Adelaide Street, Busselton, as entered in the State Heritage List on 14/12/2001.
Bibliography
Robin Kornweibel Architects, Weld Hall Busselton: An assessment of the cultural significance and Conservation Plan for the Shire of Busselton Western Australia, June 1999.

Report Produced  Tue Sep 2 08:26:13 2014