Bingara School of Arts / Soldiers' Memorial Hall / Gwydir Shire Council Office

World War 1 Memorials Project

Bingara School of Arts / Soldiers' Memorial Hall. Image courtesy of Gwydir Shire Council.

Bingara School of Arts / Soldiers’ Memorial Hall. Image courtesy of Gwydir Shire Council.

Bingara is a small town of 1000 people located on the Gwydir River in the New England region, 450km from Sydney.

The Australian Town and Country Journal of Saturday 27th July 1889 published a feature article on the town of Bingara. In this article, Bingara and its environs are described as a rich field for geologists to explore; containing, as they do, every indication of gold, silver, tin, copper, and diamonds. The article goes on to say that the town itself is beautifully situated, and has several fine public buildings, including a School of Arts.

After WW I the citizens of Bingara, like the citizens of many other Australia communities, decided to build a Soldiers’ Memorial Hall attached to the School of Arts. This new building, which opened in 1922, provided, as well as the hall, a library, a reading room, a meeting room, and a card and billiards room.

Victor Peacocke, a Gallipoli veteran and sometime mayor of Bingara operated the “old” Regent picture show in the School of Arts and Soldiers’ Memorial Hall during the 1920s and early 30s. In 1935 Peacocke’s New Regent, a purpose-built picture show, opened.

Post WW II, use of the School of Arts and Soldiers’ Memorial Hall declined drastically and the building fell into disrepair. Eventually, the building was transferred from the Trustees to the local Council. The Soldiers Memorial Hall, with some later additions, is now the Gwydir Shire Council Office.

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