13 June 2008

Art Centre


The Gosford Times. December 23, 1898. "One of the institutions of Gosford of which the town and district can be justly proud is the School of Arts. In these days of learning when it is generally agreed brains and brawn and recreation and toil are factors as inescapable as they are indispensable to the attainment of the fullest and best results of life and labour, the town that cannot boast of a School of Arts is either a very insignificant place or extremely tardy in the march of progress. If Gosford is somewhat back in other respects, an allegation we won’t deny, it has certainly nothing to be ashamed of in its medium for disseminating light and information and providing honest and instructive recreation. In this respect, at least, it can vie with many towns of much greater pretensions. The Gosford School of Arts was established in 1888, and, as will be seen from the illustration, is rather an imposing structure. It is substantially built of brick and stone and with furniture etc. cost something like £1,500. The building comprises a first class library room, containing about 800 volumes; a reading room (free), which is supplied with all the latest papers and periodicals, chess and draught table etc; a large meeting room, at the disposal of the public at a very nominal charge; and chambers used by the Municipal Council and the Oddfellows Lodge. Then on the street level there is a spacious hall capable of seating about 250 people, fitted with a roomy stage, piano, scenery etc. etc. As showing the readiness of the committee to meet the growing needs of theatricals and the public generally we may say that during the last five or six years, the stage has been considerably enlarged and scenery and drop curtains etc. provided at a cost of about £60, so that it may now fairly lay claim to being one of the best equipped halls in the colony for the size and importance of the town. There are members on the committee of management today who have been connected with the institution continuously since its inception 10 years ago, and it speaks well for their interest and enthusiasm in its welfare and the management exercised by them, when we say that not withstanding the heavy expenses incurred in improvements to the hall, additions to the library and otherwise increasing the general utility of the institution, the debt has been reduced to £240. Although the School of Arts receives a fair amount of patronage, the membership roll if the library is not so large as might reasonably be expected, considering the advantages offered. In our advertising columns will be found the rates of subscription etc. and we trust the new year will bring an increased membership list and that long before another ten years the building will enjoy the position of being free from debt altogether."

What a shame that the building is now lost to the people of Gosford, and closed to the public. The possibility of restoring it to be a Centre for Contemporary Art has been raised with Debra Schleger, Marie Andrews and Belinda Neal. More action is planned.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

But where is it?

Woy Woy Steve said...

I painted this building once about 15 years back , nice old girl she is
oh hi I'm Steve