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Sutherland Memorial School of Arts

Suitable for all types of theatre shows, concerts, exhibitions and other occasions. The hall has a capacity of 195 (seated). With a stage, orchestra pit, kitchen, two large courtyards, dressing rooms and air-con throughout, this hall is ideal for private functions and community events.

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HERITAGE

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Interest in establishing a School of Arts in Sutherland started after World War One. The purpose of such buildings was to provide a place for and a way to promote community education and recreation. It was decided to erect a building in Sutherland on the western side of the railway line which would serve as a memorial to the men of C Riding or Sutherland area who had volunteered to serve in the war. Money was raised for the cause in 1921 primarily co-ordinated by local Sutherland resident Charles Diston. The building was designed by architect Esmond B Wilshire. A foundation stone was laid by the then Governor of NSW Sir Walter Davidson on May 28 1921. The building was erected by local builder Ralph Brinsley and completed in 1922. The official opening was held on 5 August 1922 by the then Minister for Education A Bruntnell. An honour board made of Queensland white maple displaying the names of 93 soldiers was duly unveiled. The hall was primarily used for billiards, euchre tournaments and provided a space for a library of books numbering over 400. Local groups booked the hall for public meetings, dances and celebrations. The school of arts movement was popular across the state but had reached its peak by the 1950s. Following years saw reduced use of the building to the point where the assets were handed to Sutherland Shire Council. It was used for other purposes until 1984 when Council decided to restore the building. It was opened by the then Shire President Councillor Kevin Skinner on 9 August 1986. The newly renovated building provided premises for a theatre group and the Sutherland Shire Historical Society Museum.

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