Narembeen Public Hall


Shire of Narembeen

Place Number



Cnr Latham & Longhurst Sts Narembeen

Location Details


Other Name(s)

Memorial Hall
Town Hall

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1960, Constructed from 1939

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 31 Jul 1995 Category 1
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994
Classified by the National Trust Classified 07 Aug 1995

Statement of Significance

The Narembeen Public Hall is important to the community's sense of place as it can demonstrate the pivotal role it played in the social and cultural life, for over half a century, in the lives of the Narembeen community. It demonstrates the diversity of social and cultural activities in the social and community development of Narembeen. It represents a time of prosperity and enthusiasm in the region. The site demonstrates a close association with the pioneers of Narembeen, the CWA, and Australia at war. The place demonstrates a cohesive streetscape of a "civic precinct" and is a distinctive corner landmark and contributes to the townscape character. The Narembeen Public Hall is a unique architectural example of the period.

Physical Description

The Narembeen Public Hall has been designed specifically to address the prominent intersection at which it is located, and is dominant within a Civic precinct which comprises the Road Board Building and Lesser Hall. The architects had previously undertaken considerable works in the contemporary modern art deco design ethos in the city and the regional areas. The Public Hall was a purpose built structure. The entry statement wraps the corner site and addresses the two major streets that converge on the site. The roof is concealed by uninterrupted smooth parapet walls and a horizontal emphasis is designed into the sweeping curve, the faceted windows, the cantilevered eyebrow and the banding in the bio box parapet. The front piece of the building is an asymmetrical structure from any angle, but the balance and design proportion finds a symmetry in many of the relationships of the elements. The walls are curved into the entry space. Small ticket box openings are located in the entry space. The Bio Box on the upper level extends to a parapet wall and has three recessed horizontal bands emphasising the curve in the parapet section of the wall. Stylised lettering is integral within the wall treatment. The interior ventilators and ceiling details were designed in a geometric abstract manner consistent with the contemporary art deco style. The stage area is very functional with external and front hall access doors to left and right stage. Large ledge and brace style wall/doors swing into position on both sides of the stage to provide dressing room facilities. The proscenium is curved into the stage as is the ceiling detail above the stage, a clever design device directing the eye in the direction of the stage. An original light fitting remains insitu in the foyer.


After the Great Depression, the rural sector had improved by the late 1930s with wheat and wool prises rising. Signs of the recovery were evident throughout the Narembeen district when the Narembeen Road Board built the hall in an enthusiastic burst of renewed confidence, which proved to be short-lived with the on set of World War Two in the same year that the hall was being constructed. The land was originally part of Tom Savage's farm and was also the site of the first shop and post office in Narembeen, when it was just a railway siding. After Connelly and Hale purchased the Narembeen townsite land from Tom Savage in 1922, they donated the site to the Roads Board for community purposes. The Narembeen (Lesser) Hall was built in 1923. The hall opening in February 1940 was a huge affair with a Perth orchestra. At a public meeting at the Hall in 1940, 80 men offered their services to the Volunteer Defence Services. The VDC provided a great moral boost and community interaction during the war years. In the early 1940s most community and social activities in Narembeen responded to the war effort. Every Saturday night there was a dance in Narembeen or one of the surrounding towns. Transport was a problem with the war rations. For social events the farmers pooled their rations and Moppet's school bus did a community milk run to pick up the young people for the dances in Narembeen and the surrounding towns. Within an hour of the announcement by the Prime Minister, that World War Two was over, there was a parade of RSL members and the Road Board organised a dance that night. The Narembeen Public Hall has several memorial plaques in the foyer of the building and every year an ANZAC memorial service is held at the hall. Paddy Baker the picture show man provided the other major source of entertainment. He screened movies in the hall every Wednesday night and always attracted a full house. The Country Women's Association organised numerous community functions including Debutante Balls. The first was held at the Hall on 20 August 1946 when the people of Narembeen were eager for the excitement and glamour of such a grand event after the wartime austerity. The CWA ran regular "old time family dances" and balls. The 1950s was a time of affluence, there were more social choices. By the 1960s there was a marked decline in the popularity of the dances and the regular movie shows had ceased in the Hall. On 7 September the Kindergarten Committee organised the first of many cabarets in the district. In November 1963 a ball was held at the hall to celebrate the opening of the Narembeen Memorial Swimming Pool. The 1970s was a period of rural depression and the lack of social functions at the Hall reflects that situation in the community's social life. Faster cars and city accessibility meant a lot of the families celebrated weddings and family functions in the city or in a range of other venues developing in the town. In 1974 the Narembeen Repertory Club staged their first production, after a considerable break. The annual Balls continued to be celebrated in the Narembeen Public Hall; the Lions held their Charter Dinner in 1979, and the Hospital celebrated their Golden Jubilee Ball. During the 1980s the Recreation Centre became the main venue for the community social and sporting functions. However, in 1983 the Karrinyup Symphony Orchestra appeared with pianist David Helfgott, and in 1988 The Year 10 students from Narembeen Junior High School held their Graduation Dinner Dance in the Public Hall. In 1995, as for other years, the ANZAC service was held in the hall. The Old Time Dance group revives the spirit of the place with their monthly dances. The Badminton Club plays on Tuesday nights under the expert eye of the sprightly octogenarian Mr Peter Walker. The recent "Go Narembeen" competition highlighted the town and a specific mention was made of the "art deco in Narembeen" Negotiations are underway between Suburban Cinemas Organisation and the Shire of Narembeen with regard to recommencing movies in the hall on a regular basis.


Integrity: The integrity of the place is exceptional. The extensions by the original architects complement the original design and intent. Authenticity: High degree


Very Good


Name Type Year From Year To
Cameron & Chisholm Architect 1939 1940


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
"Newspaper Article". The Merredin Mercury 22/05/1974
"Newspaper Article". The Merredin Mercury 11/05/1967
"Newspaper Article". The West Australian 12/08/1968
"Newspaper Article". The West Australian 25/03/1995
"Newspaper Article". The Merredin Mercury 20/03/1968
"Newspaper Article". The Merredin Mercury 17/06/1970
Bristow I; "Seedtime & Harvest A History of the Narembeen District 1888-1988". Shire of Narembeen 1988
PR7662 History of Narembeen Country Women's Association." Battye Library
Gray L; "Conservation Plan". 1995

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
3528 Narembeen Public Hall CIP Program 1997 Heritage Study {Other} 1998
11849 Narembeen Public Hall Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2020
9711 Oswald ("Ossie") Victor Chisholm, FRAIA, FRIBA (1903-1989). Journal article 2010

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other Community Hall\Centre
Present Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other Community Hall\Centre

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Cultural activities

Creation Date

13 Feb 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


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