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Mechanics' Institute, Katanning


Shire of Katanning

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


22-24 Austral Tce Katanning

Location Details

now part of Town Hall Complex

Other Name(s)

Agricultural Hall

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1896

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
State Register Registered 07 Oct 1997 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 25 Jan 1996 Category 1

Category 1

• Possible state or national significance. • Highest level of protection appropriate.

Statement of Significance

The Town Hall has high historical and social significance. It has been the centre of many important institutions in Katanning, such as the Mechanics' Institute, the Roads Board and the Agricultural Committee, as well as providing an important social venue for the local community.
Although it has undergone many modifications and changes, the original hall building is still the main feature and has significant architectural value.

Physical Description

Originally a single storey building, the second storey was added in 1928. The library was added during 1944. The hall is of brick and corrugated iron roof and has ornate plaster ceilings.


The foundation stone for the Katanning Town Hall was laid on 22nd August 1896 by the Hon F H Piesse, MLA. The building was made possible through the donation of 10,000 bricks by F & C Piesse, government subsidy and voluntary labour to cart the bricks, sand and lime. The opening ceremony was reported in the Australian Advertiser:
A photograph of the tout ensemble was then taken by the representatives of Messrs Nixon and Mirrilees, Fremantle, and then the casket containing town records ....a copy of the West Australian of August 21st, and of the Australian Advertiser of August 22nd, together with all the silver coins of the realm, was sealed and securely cemented at the back of the foundation stone, which was a block of granite suitably inscribed, [AA, 27/8/1896]
The agricultural hall cost £3000 to build, the contractor being Mr George Thomas, and the contractor for the woodwork was Mr Andrew Stewart. It was officially opened in 1897.
In 1899 it became known as the Mechanics' Institute and Public Hall after it was decided at a public meeting to amalgamate the Mechanics' Institute and the Agricultural Hall committee. Improvements were carried out to the hall at this time, giving the Mechanics' Institute members permanent quarters. By 1903 some ill feeling had developed between the institute members and the agriculturalists over the suggestion to change the name to the more simple "Mechanics' Institute (inc,)". The Roads Board also leased a room in the hall for their office.
In 1907 a new Mechanic's Hall was erected next to the old one, which was by now in a state of disrepair and included "four shops, a main entrance, a spacious cloakroom, a ticket office, a large stage and dressing rooms". [Bignell, p 238] Elaborate wrought iron gates (made by B Makutz) were also added, "scenic stage backdrops designed by P Goatcher and a panelled ceiling, the work of a Mr Tindale - all well-known Perth contractors - while the intricate electric light system was personally supervised by F T R Piesse". [Bignell, p.38] The architect for this work was J Herbert Eales and the contractor was Alex Thomson.
The existing hall was also renovated at the same time, using brick partitioning and incorporated a reading room and library as well as a billiards room and caretakers quarters. Not long after this work, the Roads Board offices were also refurbished.
Extensive additions and alterations were completed in 1928, which included the addition of the second storey. The architects were Eales & Cohen of Perth, the contractor was Alex Thomson and the contract price was £6495. With the completion of these additions and alterations, the building was now more commonly referred to as the Town Hall. Inside the hall was housed the Road Board offices and meeting room, and a large modern hall with a gallery. A library was added in 1944. The building is rendered in a mannered classical mode.
In 1979 additions and alterations were carried out in a Post-war Functionalist style. The architects were Henderson and Thompson, and the supervisor was V C Philpott.


Fair - Good


Name Type Year From Year To
Henderson & Thompson Architect - -
J Herbert Eales, Eales & Cohen, Architect 1907 -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
"Katanning's Jubilee: a complete history of the progress of the town and district from 1889 to 1939". p.23 Great Southern herald; 1939
"Newspaper Article". p.4. Australian Advertiser , 1/8/1896
"Newspaper Article". p.4 Australian Advertiser 27/8/1896
Bignell M; "A Place to Meet: a History of the Shire of Katanning Western Australia". UWA Press 1981
"Mechanic's Institute, Katanning, Conservation Plan," Considine & Griffiths Architects Pty Ltd, 1995

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
1512 Mechanics Institute Katanning: conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1995
5063 Mechanics' Institute, Katanning. Final report. July 2001. Report 2001

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use GOVERNMENTAL Town, Shire or District Hall
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Agricultural Hall
Other Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Mechanics Institute

Architectural Styles

Federation Free Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Cultural activities
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities

Creation Date

10 Feb 1993

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.