Bowral Memorial Hall

Consultation has concluded

This page provides information about Council's plans to redevelop the Bowral Memorial Hall, including the historic School of Arts building, into a modern concert hall for music which will be:

  • acoustically excellent
  • comfortable
  • accessible
  • well equipped

The redevelopment will also address essential upgrades and repairs to the building.

Although the key objective of the project is to create an acoustically excellent concert hall suited to the performance of unamplified music, the Hall will continue to be available as a cultural and community venue for a wide range of uses.

GREAT NEWS! Council’s application to the Regional Cultural Fund for the redevelopment of Bowral Memorial Hall has been shortlisted. Read more...

Learn more

Displays and fact sheets have been prepared to provide additional information about the project. These and the DA documents can be viewed in the online document library and the Civic Centre in Moss Vale as well as Bowral and Mittagong libraries.


For further information please contact Council’s Cultural Development Officer, Jenny Kena, on 02 4868 0855.

This page provides information about Council's plans to redevelop the Bowral Memorial Hall, including the historic School of Arts building, into a modern concert hall for music which will be:

  • acoustically excellent
  • comfortable
  • accessible
  • well equipped

The redevelopment will also address essential upgrades and repairs to the building.

Although the key objective of the project is to create an acoustically excellent concert hall suited to the performance of unamplified music, the Hall will continue to be available as a cultural and community venue for a wide range of uses.

GREAT NEWS! Council’s application to the Regional Cultural Fund for the redevelopment of Bowral Memorial Hall has been shortlisted. Read more...

Learn more

Displays and fact sheets have been prepared to provide additional information about the project. These and the DA documents can be viewed in the online document library and the Civic Centre in Moss Vale as well as Bowral and Mittagong libraries.


For further information please contact Council’s Cultural Development Officer, Jenny Kena, on 02 4868 0855.

Tell us what you think about the proposed redevelopment of Bowral Memorial Hall.


NOTE: Comments made will NOT be used when officers consider the development application (DA). You can make an official submission about 

DA No. 17/1174 

addressed to the General Manager, Wingecarribee Shire Council, PO Box 141, Moss Vale 2577. A disclosure statement of Political Donations and Gifts must accompany the submission.

The need for a significant venue for music and related arts performances in The Highlands is beyond dispute. Two points. First, having been involved in many musicals, presented both in the Frensham Hall and The Playhouse, I am concerned that insufficient thought has been given to the diverse needs of such productions. Sightlines from conductor to the stage are critical but from the plans appear to be obscure. Second, the acoustics mention participation by bands and orchestras but not choirs. This is a serious oversight - choirs generally do not currently use the hall because of its acoustic challenges (and probably hiring cost).To have a facility offering excellent seating, pleasant catering but inadequate sound would be counter-productive, considereing the costs involved. If altering an existing facility is the best we can afford, attention really needs to be given to the quality of sound for both performers and audiences in all genres. Could I suggest arranging with a local choir to do a sound 'test' in the hall before work begins, to assess current standards, and shed some light on future needs?KF

gorgeous about 2 years ago

I agree with the comment about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. It is a shame that this building - formerly the School Of Arts building, could not be renovated as the art gallery the council is eager to build. The performance space that this is supposed to satisfy, could then be built from scratch to accommodate all of the performing arts groups in the region that are so desperately seeking a venue, larger than the Mittagong Playhouse, to perform in.I have to admit that these plans are at least better than the original drafts a few years back however, whilst it accommodates (at least I am guessing it does) the choirs and orchestra/bands in the area, it is not so user friendly for dance schools and in particular, theatre companies.Firstly, the stage is not as large as the one at the very hard-to-book Frensham, which is important for large dance troupes and also large musicals. At Frensham, if you can get in, you can accommodate 50 performers (chorus) or a large dance ensemble on stage at once but that would be impossible here. I am guessing that there will be wings (side curtains not marked on the plans) which will reduce the stage size again but if not, then that is a problem for dancers or actors needing to get on stage especially from stage right. If there are wings (which I suspect there will be) then there is also not a lot of space at the sides for groups of performers to gather before going on and also, given there are only stairs up from the greenroom at stage left, then there would be considerable manoeuvres to get groups of people on and off quickly and quietly. A lack of space at the sides also makes manoeuvring props and sets very difficult to near impossible, with limited time and performers moving around an additional impediment. Dressing rooms downstairs add to the chaos when large casts and dance troupes are organising to come on and off and potentially could lead to missed entrances.On the topic of sets, there is no drive up, large scale entrance to the side or back to bring them in and so lavish full scale backdrops would be a thing of the past. Not only is unloading and delivering them through the front door on Bendooley Street (or via the pedestrian area in the courtyard to the side) going to be a major inconvenience for drivers waiting to pass the truck; having to carry them up the small stairs at the side of the stage will make certain designs unworkable. (I see a backstage door into the courtyard but no indication of it's height, stairs etc?) No doubt it will also lead to chips and scuffs in the foyer as bulky sets are brought through.Seating for the Mittagong Playhouse from memory is around 175 seats. This project anticipates around 300 seats and Frensham seats around 450 on the floor and another 200 or so in the balcony. Whilst this project falls far short of what Frensham seats, not many shows fill Frensham so the seating is, I would guess, just adequate but I would add that the anticipated floor plan for small musicals would be more like what is anticipated in the floor plans for small to large music ensembles as some of the musicals produced in the area utilise quite a large band or small orchestra. Thus the seating would drop to around the mid 200's - which is not so different to what is already available in the Playhouse.Given WSC does not have endless funds, I would rather see them channel money into a project that can satisfy all performing arts groups, rather than spend around 3.5 million PLUS exclusions (things like theatre fit-out, sprinklers and the list goes on {.... is seating covered - I can't see it}) when what they will deliver is not too different to the Mittagong Playhouse. I agree that the Bowral Memorial Hall is a lovely building and deserves a facelift but I can see better (and less expensive) uses for it. P.S. Parking across the road at Coles will suffice for evening performances (is that owned by Coles and if so do they have a problem with this?) but I can see people giving up with trying to find parking nearby for a matinee. Perhaps another venue, not so hedged in without parking would be better.

Nicole about 2 years ago

I note that the architect (and Clive Lucas is a renowned heritage architect) speaks of the existing portico to Bendooley Street as being "discordant" which is architectural for "it doesn't suit my design". His report indicates that the portico was added sometime in the 1980's. This of course is incorrect with it being at least 40 years old. It has acquired a status of its own and is in fact very useful.There are many "discordant" features which are to be maintained and I am at a loss as to why this one, which is such a useful addition, should be singled out and demolished. There is no other shelter from inclement weather and although the works will doubtless be of great value it is a pity that there will be a loss as well.The architect notes that the streetscape is uneven as it has always been and to remove what has become an identity point would be a loss. I doubt that the designer would have spent much time in Bendooley Street whilst the weather was inclement. Users of the facility would have done just that. To be true to the original building the work would include far more demolition and reduce the building's usefulness and size. If this is not the purpose then it is purely a matter of judgment - and usefulness should be a significant criterion. The Portico is both usful and has some history.

cliffrob about 2 years ago

Thank you TA for pointing out the error in the label in one of the Perspective drawings. You are right, it is a view to the side of the Hall from Bendooley Place. The label has been updated now. Apologies for the confusion!

Cultural Development Officer about 2 years ago

Congratulations, this is a much needed upgrade of seriously outdated venue. A stage-venue which serves a growing need in the community . Wonderful improvements to seating, acoustics insulation/heating/air-conditioning and especially the stage lighting which is currently the equivalent of leaving the house lights on.Hopefully the mentioned 'smart LED lighting' will not be the current dreaded blue-white ‘daylight’ LEDs ?By the way, under ‘Drawings" on the pdf marked “Perspectives”, the picture titled 'VIEW TO THE ENTRY' is actually the covered double glazed north wall . This needs to be corrected before it cause anymore confusion ( as it already seems to have with some respondents )

TA about 2 years ago

I strongly support the Cultural Development Officer: "there is no mention of Performing Arts/Theatre. The need for a genuinely workable medium-sized theatre in the Region is significant." This proposal will improve on what we have, but will fall very far short of what we need - which is a multi-purpose cultural centre - gallery/theatre-performance space/concert hall. The current proposal really is trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. My fear is that this project, if undertaken, will soak up whatever energy there is for change - and lead to the creation of the kind of facility we really need being delayed for decades. Suggest doing a survey of the number of residents who now go out of the Shire to access ensemble theatre, chamber music and recitals, touring art exhibitions etc which cannot be accommodated in local venues - this may help to establish potential patronage for such an arts complex. It would be worth asking local arts patrons to what extent they would be prepared to contribute to the realisation of such a project

dion about 2 years ago

I am not happy about the proposed upgrade of the Bowral Memoral Hall to a 'modern concert' hall as I do not feel it is in the appropriate location, wouldn't it be a better idea to upgrade the Mittagong Playhouse to a 'modern concert' hall - when the beauty of a place has been destroyed I do not feel it can be recreated unfortunately.

FR about 2 years ago

This is an excellent addition to Bowral's facilities. It should attract some great music and other performers!

Robby about 2 years ago

Fantastic use of a tired old building.Future generations will benefit enormously from this much needed infrastructure.Plans look very exciting.

KenStreet about 2 years ago

Overall a positive development. A couple of comments:The "new entry" 3D view shows the entrance from the side of the building directly into the auditorium - hopefully the restored entrance will be used accessing the foyer.Not sure what will replace the current front entrance - hopefully something more interesting than a single doorway.The stackable raked seating is a good solution - but there should be more rows of raked seating for better overall sight lines. The view of the stage from the rear of the raked seating is actually taken from the upper gallery area I suspect - the seating could be taken up to this level and higher.Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

ormsby about 2 years ago

Here is some thoughts already passed on by other community members........"Well done! It looks great and it will make a wonderful addition to life in the Southern Highlands.""Great news, badly needed upgrade. Hope council acknowledges the work and money contributed by Richard Ruhfus into this project in the early days.""Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed upgrade to the Bowral Memorial Hall. I am pleased to see that consideration has been given to energy efficiency in the upgrade with the plan including double glazed windows, wall and ceiling insulation and LED lighting. I would only add that the roof of this building appears to be ideal for rooftop solar. Given the increased electricity consumption resulting from the installation of air conditioning, and the rapid payback time for rooftop solar, I think this would be an obvious inclusion in the redevelopment plan.""Just read through the latest email from WSC and the announcement of the development of the Memorial Hall in Bowral. It's great that there shall be a venue for music, but it's fundamentally disturbing to me to discover that there is no mention of Performing Arts/Theatre. The need for a genuinely workable medium-sized theatre in the Region is significant."

Cultural Development Officer about 2 years ago