Monday 13 March 2023

Agricultural Hall, Camden, NSW

Camden Agricultural Hall 

(former Drill Hall)

191 Argyle Street
 Lot 2, DP 922667
-34.054018305845325, 150.69303418365882

Camden Agricultural Hall frontage on Argyle Street (Camden Council, 2023)

History and Description

The hall was built in 1894 by George Furner, 125 ft by 50 ft built under the direction of Major AJ Onslow Thompson for Captain Onslow and cost £1000, as a drill hall for the Camden Mounted Rifles (HNSW; Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 2 March 1895)

The hall was used for a variety of community events over from its inception, including the annual show. The Mounted Rifles held their annual AH&I banquet (Daily Telegraph, 28 November 1896), Camden Town Band social (Camden News, 2 January 1896), community farewell to the manager of the Camden Refrigeration Works (Freemans Journal, 1 October 1898), fundraising social for St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church (Camden News, 3 August 1899), farewell for Camden Mounted Rifles headed to the Queen's Jubilee in England (SMH, 13 February 1897) and the annual show (Evening News, 22 March 1900).

The drill hall changed its name to the agricultural hall in 1910 when it was sold to the AH&I committee for £500 (CN, 7 July 1910) and was let for roller skating (CN, 14 July 1910).

Sydney architect Adrian Bolot designed new brick extensions to the front of the 1890s drill hall for £400 (CN, 19 March 1936). This was part of general improvements to Onslow Park in preparation for the 1936 jubilee show, including the construction of a new grandstand (CN, 15 August 1935)

The agricultural hall is still the focus of the district's rural activities, with the annual show held in autumn each year and a range of community events.

Heritage NSW describes the hall’s construction this way:

The nucleus of this hall was built with timber cantilevered trusses in the roof. The exceptionally long spans of the roof joists are of particular interest. The more recent front is of brick and tile construction. The building has a corrugated iron gabled hip roof and has sixteen pane double hung windows the bottom sash of which is textured glass. The early part of the building is constructed of timber on a brick base. (HNSW)

Condition and Use

The hall retains good integrity and intactness. (HNSW)

Heritage Significance

An important part of town life since 1894 and continues to be the focus of the district's agricultural activities. (HNSW)

The agricultural hall is part of rural place-making in Camden and contributes to the community’s sense of self and identity.

Heritage Listing

Local Environment Plan 2010 LEP Item 116

NSW State Heritage Inventory 1280010

Read more  

Camden Heritage Walk Tour