City Hall’s iconic front entrance on Gheringhap Street was finished in 1917.
City Hall’s iconic front entrance on Gheringhap Street was finished in 1917.

City Hall turns 100

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

This year our beloved City Hall turns 100 and as we celebrate this iconic Geelong building, we take a brief look at its construction.

City Hall as you see it today was finished in 1917, although the first stage of the building (facing Little Malop Street) was built in 1855.

Geelong City Hall is Victoria’s earliest surviving municipal building and has been Geelong Council’s headquarters, and used by the community, since 1855 – just five years after our first council meeting in 1850.

The building, including the symbolic six-columned entrance portico, is a fine example of the Victorian classical style. It was designed by prominent Melbourne architect Joseph Reed – who also designed Melbourne Town Hall and the State Library of Victoria. However, it was local architects Black and Slevin who finalised the designs in 1915, albeit largely following Reed’s original designs.

A show stone was laid on 1 December 1915 to signal the start of construction of the final stages of the building.

Construction started without much fanfare, probably because the First World War was underway.

The council at the time involved local students from the Gordon Technical College to complete timber carvings in the council chamber.

A large stained glass window was also commissioned as part of the building. Designed by Arthur Pittock, a former art student of the Gordon, the window was removed in the late 20th century and is currently languishing in the City Hall basement. We’ve put forward a proposal to Heritage Victoria to restore and display this proud piece of heritage in the City Hall foyer.