Wednesday, June 2, 2010

THE ALBERT HALL

Until 1928 the population of Canberra had only one venue for entertainment, the Causeway hall (post here). The new City of Canberra's population soon far exceeded the capacity of the Causeway Hall. In July 1927 construction of the 'Assembly Hall' commenced and the Albert Hall was born.

The Albert Hall is an elegant example of the ‘Federal Capital’ style of architecture of the 1920s. The Albert Hall's notable features are the arch-headed windows, the pillars and the Roman tiled roof.  The Hall seats 580 in the auditorium and 128 in the gallery. Once called the Assembly Hall, it was renamed the Albert Hall when opened on the 10th of March 1928 by Prime Minister SM Bruce (1883-1967)(bio here) and was named to honour Albert, Duke of York, who opened Federal Parliament in 1927. The hall was also compared culturally to the Royal Albert Hall in London (website here).
















Apart from being an entertainment and cultural venue the hall also hosted Australia’s first citizenship ceremony in 1949 conducted by Ben Chifley (1885 - 1951)(bio here). The hall became the stage for the Petrov Royal Commission (known as the 'Petrov Affair' (info here) in 1954 and during the 1960s it was the National Tally Room for federal elections.
















Other assets include a Compton theatre organ that was built in 1933-34 (info here). The organ came to Australia in 1967-68 and is now cared for by the Australian Organ Society. Two atlas cedars, three London plane trees and three pines and some elements of the rose garden remain. A sundial pedestal from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster England resides in the front garden.  The Albert Hall continues to be used for a wide range of community, commercial, and cultural events and the hall is located on the Corner of Commonwealth Avenue, Kaye Street, Yarralumla.
















The Friends of the Albert Hall is a national network for groups and individuals interested in the future of Canberra's historic Albert Hall.  Our Albert Hall (website here)

Conservation Management & Landscape Plan (here pdf)
ACT Heritage Register entry (here pdf)
ACT Government hiring infomation (website here)
Wikipedia article (here)


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