It was at a meeting of the council on the 1st September 1877 that a decision was taken to apply for the site on which the gaol yards and cells at Oatlands were standing for the purpose of erecting a new Oatlands Town Hall. It was decided that should the application be successful, a special meeting of council would be called. However, the first choice site was not available and at the following October meeting of council, Coucillor R.D.Lord and the Council Warden J.R.Roe were empowered to find a suitable site on which to build the new Town Hall. It was these two gentlemen that ultimately chose the site on which the building stands today.
The issue of the Town Hall does not appear in the council minutes again until February 1878 when it was decided that the amount to be raised for the purchase of the land and the construction of the building would 1800 pounds. At the following meeting in April, the Warden was empowered to communicate with William Henry Lord, Architect, with a view to drawing up plans for the proposed building.
By the 1st May 1880, things were starting to take shape on paper as the council were officially shown the plans by the architect. The council were evidently impressed and no major alterations were requested. The final plans were then readied and presented again to council on 5th June 1880, with final specifications readied by the following Tuesday at which time the architect placed the advertisement for tenders. This was duly done in “The Mercury” of 23rd June 1880.
6 tenders were eventually received but all were considered to be too high and it was decided to ask the architect to redraw the plans and that a special meeting of council would consider fresh tenders in accordance with the altered plans. Three fresh tenders were received but still the council was not satisfied with the tenders. The council had raised 1800 pounds to buy the land and build their Town Hall, had paid somewhere in the vicinity of 600 pounds for the land and so the Town Hall had to be built for 1200 pounds and the tenders had been significantly higher.
There appears to have been a fair bit of discussion back and forth between the council, the architect and the tenderers regarding the costs and further alterations. During this process, a Mr W. Duncan appeared as the front runner to have his tender accepted and on 20th July the Warden met with the architect and if the architect approved of suggested alterations, the council would accept Duncan’s tender.
The architect then sat down and prepared altered plans that were presented to council and on 18th September 1880, a letter was received from the architect advising the council to accept Duncan’s tender. Now, after 3 years and 1 month after a new Town Hall was first mooted, the council started the ball rolling and the contract with Duncan for the erection of the Town Hall was signed on 2nd October 1880.
In his contract, Duncan stated that he would complete the construction of the building within 9 months and so on 9th June 1881, he wrote to the Council Clerk applying for the balance of the money owing him on the completion of the building. Finally after some defects had been rectified by the contractor, the brand new Oatlands Town Hall was officially opened at 12 noon on Saturday 17th September 1881. It continues to serve its community to this day.
Main Text & Information Source –
“A History Of Oatlands” – J.S.Weeding