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Local government’s headquarters has come a long way

A civic reception for the visiting Duke of Gloucester in front of the Maroochy Shire Chambers in 1934, three years after the building opened.


Local government’s headquarters has come a long way

The Sunshine Coast’s new City Hall opened to great fanfare in Maroochydore and, recalls AUDIENNE BLYTH, is a long way from our local government’s humble beginnings.

The council has met in very different buildings over 144 years of local government.

Sunshine Coast residents have recently witnessed the grandest building of all – the new City Hall is open and for $100 million, it is impressive.

Our beginnings were humble. There were two very large areas – Widgee and Caboolture Divisional Boards were formed in south-east Queensland in 1879.

Caboolture Divisional Board members who represented the area from Eumundi to Kedron Brook, met in the Temperance Hall in Caboolture.

In 1890, the Maroochy Divisional Board was excised from the Caboolture Divisional Board and the first meeting was in Carroll’s hotel at Nambour’s Showground Hill.

By the end of 1891, the Board was meeting in its own hall in Brookes Street, Nambour.

Maroochy Shire Council was formed in 1903, following a Government Act in 1902.

Master builder Walter Lanham built a new council headquarters known as the Nambour Town Hall next to the railway station in 1913. It was destroyed by fire in 1929.

A grand council chambers was opened in 1931 in Currie Street. It was damaged by fire but re-opened in 1960. It was again devastated by fire in 1986, and eventually demolished in 1989.

In 1978, the prime minister Malcolm Fraser opened an impressive new building on the corner of Bury and Currie Streets in Nambour as the offices of Maroochy Shire Council.  It was later named the Eddie De Vere building and is used by Sunshine Coast Council.

Although it was designed for future expansion upwards, Nambour’s days as the administrative centre were numbered.

The building that was Landsborough Shire Council Chambers opened in 1924 and served until 1968 when new council buildings opened in Caloundra. These still serve as Sunshine Coast Council offices.

Landsborough Shire Council Chambers is now a historical museum.

For many years residents looked to Nambour as the administrative capital. However, grand plans were in place for council to relocate its main offices to Maroochydore, and to much fanfare on Saturday, December 10, Sunshine Coast Council Mayor, Mark Jamieson opened City Hall at Maroochydore.

He said its 10-storeys would ultimately feature retail and community spaces, venue hire for community groups and businesses, and large, open workspaces as well as communal facilities.

Said to be inspired by the Glasshouse Mountains, the building is a landmark in Maroochydore’s city centre.

The Mayor said that the community would be able more clearly to see governance in action with the Council Chamber, located on Level 1, easily accessible and visible externally to the building.

The top floor offers views from the hinterland to the coastline. It will be used for a wide range of council-hosted and sponsored events, citizenship ceremonies and community engagement workshops, as well as being available for hire for specified community and business events.

Residents are invited to visit council’s Customer Contact Centre and Development Services on the ground floor. There is assistance with any council-related enquiries such as rates, animal registration and a variety of applications.

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