Prepared for Wollondilly Shire Council 26th February 2010


Architects, Heritage Consultants, Urban Designers

Statement of Heritage Impact for demolition of the Menangle School of Arts Hall, which is not a listed item by Wollondilly Shire Council, however is assessed by the study steam as having local significance. It is not included in Council’s LEP and is not within a conservation area.

This report forms part of a Development Application to Council for demolition and removal of the Menangle School of Arts hall.


The extant Menangle School of Arts Hall, constructed c.1890, has been assessed by McPhee Architects as having cultural significance to the local community.

The Hall and its setting are not heritage listed under the Wollondilly Shire Council’s LEP, however it is assessed as being of historic value through association with use since c^1890 by the local population.^ The built fabric however is in partially intact condition with structural faults. Changes to the planning and fabric have been carried out to the Hall since its initial construction which detracts from its intactness and value.

A number of heritage management options have been canvassed however, given poor condition, it is recommended that the Hall be demolished. Prior to this occurring, we further recommend that:

•        An archival recording be carried out in accordance with standards established by Planning NSW and the NSW Heritage Office

•        An interpretative plaque with text and graphics be affixed to a selected wall of any replacement structure at the site to inform the general public and allow an appreciation of the Hall in its former setting

•        Essential salvageable components be identified for removal and retention by Wollondilly Shire Council.

These recommendations are suggested by way of conditional development consent.


1.1         REPORT SCOPE

This report was commissioned and prepared for Wollondilly Shire Council to accompany a Development Application for the removal of the Menangle School of Arts Hall.

The scope of this Report is in two parts:

Part A: Assessment of Significance

This section establishes suitable criteria for assessing the significance of the place and its component parts, including analysis of the documentary and physical evidence relating to the history of the place, the stages of evolution of the building and site and its associations with local people. This section includes a statement of cultural significance identifying the major elements of heritage value being: the setting, the Hall itself, and the streetscape.

Part B: Heritage Impact Statement

The second section of the Heritage Report examines the impact of the environment on the removal of the Hall. In preparing this statement, we have examined:

Requirements for retention or removal of items of cultural significance.

Options for retention, adaptive re-use or conservation of the item

Future management of the place.


This report has been prepared in accordance with the NSW Heritage Management System described in the NSW Heritage Manual and follows procedures and approaches outlined in Historical research for Heritage and Assessing heritage significance and Statement of Heritage Impact.1 Its purpose is to investigate the history of the Menangle School of Arts Hall to assess the heritage significance of the site and examine the impact of demolition on the place and area. This work includes a contextual history of the Hall and its surroundings and evaluates the heritage significance of the Hall as derived from the historical sources examined and a view of the site. Both primary and secondary, published sources form the basis of this investigation.

1 NSW Heritage Office and Department of urban Affairs and Planning. 1996. NSW Heritage Manual, HO/DUAP, Sydney. Manual update: 2001 Assessing heritage significance and Statement of Heritage Impact. NSW Heritage Office.2000. Historical Research for Heritage. NSW Heritage Office, Parramatta.

The following brief Scope of Services has been established and agreed.

  • Obtain background information and existing documentation.
  • Carry out a limited field survey.
  • Prepare a draft report providing recommendations.
  • Obtain feedback.
  • Prepare and issue a final document.

This Report examines the history and significance of Menangle School of Arts Hall and its site. A Heritage assessment forms part of this report. A Statement of Heritage Impact has also been prepared which provides options for future actions.

1.2.1        Site Survey Report

Our assessment is based on research and analysis which investigates proposed change to a building and its setting. The subject property is not listed under Wollondilly Shire Council’s LEP nor identified as being within a conservation area. This Report outlines an assessment of the cultural significance of the property and management of the item.

  • Preparation of the Report by the consultant team involved:
  • A site inspection
  • An inspection of the extant structures and items within the site
  • Preparation of an assessment description
  • Identification of the significance of the site.

The site survey does not include detailed measured drawings or detailed documentation, and is intended to allow the assessment of significance to take place within a current framework of information.

1.2.2        Heritage Assessment

The report provides an assessment of the heritage significance of Menangle School of Arts Hall and its setting.

It also involved the preparation of a brief statement of significance for the site and comment on the relationship of any proposed work.

This assessment does not include the preparation of a full Conservation Management Plan and is based on inventory data and information available from Wollondilly Shire Council, the current owners of the property. The provided information was found to be adequate in enabling a Statement of Heritage Impact to be adequately carried out.

1.2.3       Further Development

An assessment has been made as to the need for any management actions for the item or adjustment to the proposed works and comments provided where appropriate.

1.3          METHODOLOGY

Historical research included the investigation of both primary and secondary sources. The cultural significance of the Hall and its site has been provided on the basis of information available and observations made during site visits.

1.3.1        Consolidation of Existing Information

History sheets and town planning data has been made available from Wollondilly Shire Council, in particular we have referred to Council’s LEP, although there is no record of the property having an assessed cultural significance. There are no listings on Council’s LEP.

1.3.2       Site Survey and Investigation

Surveys of the site were undertaken by our study team 21st January 2010, and the results are presented in Section 3.0 and 4.0 of this report.

A structural engineering report has been previously prepared by others and is referenced as part of this report.

1.3.3        Below-ground Investigations

No below ground investigations have been carried out, nor have industrial archaeological or sub-base level investigations of potential sub-surface remains been prepared.

1.3.4       Previous Heritage Authority Input and Planning Issues

Discussions have been carried out with representatives of Wollondilly Shire Council during December 2009 and January 2010.

1.3.5        Evaluation of the Development Proposal

An assessment of significance and statement of significance has been prepared to assist in evaluating the management of the Hall.

State Heritage Inventory Criteria established by Planning NSW and the NSW Heritage Office were referred to in the formulation of this assessment, as well as criteria from the Burra Charter, of ICOMOS Australia. A Heritage Listing Sheet by the study team is not provided in this report.

1.3.6       Heritage Impact, Archaeological Sensitivity, Management Strategies

This report has considered the constraints imposed by the assessment of significance. It offers comment relating to appropriate future heritage management of the site, if necessary.

1.3.7       Recommendations

Recommendations are presented which provide a clear opinion of heritage requirements for the site and the impact of proposed development relative to identified constraints and opportunities.

1.3.8       Report format

This report has been prepared in a format suitable, with minor adjustments, for issue to Wollondilly Shire Council as an attachment to a Development Application for the property.

1.3.9        Exclusions

In accordance with the Brief requirements, our report does not include assessments of

(i) Indigenous Heritage, cultural or archaeological

(ii) Industrial or Historical archaeological sites


On site investigations and photographic analysis was provided by Nathanial Hughes, Photographer.

The history component of this report and significance assessment was written by Wayne McPhee, with the assistance of Ben Wharton.

The Heritage Impact Statement has been prepared by Wayne McPhee.


The project team wishes to acknowledge the professional reports prepared by previous consultants.

We also wish to thank the following for meeting with the study team on site and their comment:

•    James McFarlane, Menangle

•    Joe Cartes, Menangle.


2.1        MENANGLE

Menangle is a small town located in the Macarthur Region of NSW in the Wollondilly Shire. Its name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘a place of swamps and lagoons’.

Located beyond the urban sprawl of south-western Sydney, it is within close proximity of the three major towns of the Macarthur Region: Campbelltown, Camden and Picton.2

The town grew to service the operations of the Camden Park Estate and was a ‘private village’ associated with the Macarthur family and the Macarthur-Onslows, whose lineage has continued in the area to the present day. It is likely that Camden Park is the oldest post-1788 property still owned and occupied by descendants of its original family, the present owners being the Macarthur-Stanham family.

The date of establishment of the Village of Menangle is difficult to ascertain, although the 1828 Census shows a local population whose abode and assignment is to John Macarthur, others to J.B. De Harrietta. The location was known as Riversford, an important place on the road south, and the Nepean River was ‘forded’ at Bird’s Eye Corner.

By the 1850s, the ‘Village of Menangle’ was clearly established. A bridge had been built and there were three shops, two schools – one Church of England, the other Catholic – and a hotel.

In 1863 the railway was opened, enabling overnight milk deliveries to the Sydney market; the railway bridge over the nearby Nepean River is one of the oldest in use in New South Wales today.

The John Horbury Hunt designed St. James Church located on the crown of a hill to the south of the village, was completed in 1878. This exhibits a fine use of brickwork and slate roof forms.

St Patrick’s Catholic Church, also built in masonry, was constructed c.1880 at Menangle Road.

The local population expanded c.2000 through creation of the Durham Green residential community at the south of, and adjacent to, the main town.

The historic importance of Menangle, as a township, is reflected in the number of heritage-listed buildings, including the Sulman and Powers designed Menangle Store at the crossroads of Menangle and Station Street, at the centre of town.

! Wikipedia *


The corrugated iron roofed single storey timber framed School of Arts Hall is sited adjacent to the Menangle Store, fronting Station Street.

Its extant form and detailing although altered over time, shows evidence of construction c. 1890 although its exact date of construction, the name of the architect and builder is unknown.

The only relevant information found in relation to the site is a newspaper article dating from 2002 stating that the Hall was built by 18933

Constructed by the Macarthur-Onslow family for use by the local inhabitants of the village, the. School of Arts hall was an important social centre for Menangle. The building was used for fund raising for the Menangle Roman Catholic Church and the Australian Land Army used the Hall during World War 11.4

’36. Recreation Hall/School of Arts. There was a library and billiard room attached.

Used for local dances, church bazaars, Agricultural Bureau meetings and

shows of fruits, vegetables and flowers, voting day, wedding receptions, occasional

cinema, public meetings and Christmas parties’ 5

The Menangle General Store constructed in 1904, is adjacent and to the west of the School of Arts Hall. Activity generated by local trade at the corner shop, gave increased prominence to this area of the town.

‘Another community building of great importance in earlier times was the School of Arts. Buildings such as these date back to the early 1900s, when Government encouraged their formation to make for great community interaction. In the late 1920s and in the 1930s, certainly the School of Arts at Menangle was used for functions such as dances and for the production of plays and musicals. In 2005, the building externally appears to be in reasonable condition, with a painted brick facade and side walls of timber. There are both front and side entrances. It still has a community noticeboard at the front where, presumably, events of interest to the people are displayed.’6

Following establishment of the Theatres and Public Halls Act 1908, the Hall was modified to provide additional side exits to improve safety to the occupants.

A number of changes were carried out to the building fabric of the Hall during the twentieth century as the local population increased, including:

  • Alterations and Additions c.1960 to provide new double hung windows on the southern

facade, damaged due to weather exposure

  • Major refurbishments to the hall during 1984 to provide new internal fibre linings, new

male and female toilets, kitchenette and projection room7

  • Alterations c.1994 to provide new hardwood tongue and groove flooring8 throughout the

main body of the hall, concrete landings and steps to the western exit doors

3 Telephone discussion, Kate Holmes Picton Historical Society 28th January 2010

4 Email correspondence, Doug Barrett, Honorary Secretary, Camden Historical Society

5 Grist Mills Vol 5 No 1,1985

6 DVD record of early photos of the Starr and Ryder families, Menangle.

7 Correspondence “Menangle School of Arts – History of Events, by James McFarlane, 2002

8 Meeting and discussion with Joe Cartes, Menangle, 21st January 2010 who constructed the new floor.

From the mid 1970s, the condition of the Hall gradually deteriorated and a number of actions were carried out to resolve licensing, ownership and building repair matters.

The following sequence of events is a history of the issue of Council resuming the Menangle School of Arts Hall and appointment a S355 Committee.

On February 25th 1975, the Committee for the Trustees of Menangle School of Arts Hall received a ‘notice’ served on them by the Department of Services for works needed attention on the Hall or have their Public Hall Licence revoked.

On February 3rd 1983, Council received a letter from the Hall Committee informing Council that because of lack of funds to regain their cancelled Public Hall Licence, or for ongoing maintenance costs of the Hall, they requested Council fund the necessary improvement works and consider the possible acquisition of the Hall.

Council, at its meeting held on Monday February 27th 1984, resolved to obtain approval from the local citizens for it to be appointed Trustees of the Hall.

July 10th 1984, Council convened a public meeting at Menangle seeking the local citizens approval to be appointed Trustees of the Hall and to appoint a S.355 Management Committee to care, control and manage the Hall. It was also stated in the minutes of that meeting by Cr. W. Rofe that, if Council were appointed as Trustees of the property, he could then legally allocate funds necessary for the repairs and maintenance of the building.

Council, at its meeting held on July 23rd 1984, resolved to appoint 12 local residents elected at the public meeting on July 10th to the S.355 Committee of Menangle School of Arts hall. Council also further resolved that: (a) Mr. Stanham and Mr. Curry (trustees of the Hall) submit their written resignations as Trustees of the Hall to Council, in order that the legal process may be commenced for Council to be appointed as Trustees of the Hall; (b) That the Menangle School of Arts Hall be appropriately covered under Council’s insurance policies.

August 20th 1984, Council received written resignations from the Trustees of Menangle School of Arts Hall.

In 1984, approximately $26,000 was spent on repairs to the Hall by Council to have the Public Halls Licence reinstated; since that date Council has regularly provided maintenance to the Hall.

Following discussions with the Department of Local Government and the Ministry of Arts, several problems arose with Council being appointed as single Trustees of the Hall and it was recommended that Council acquire the Hall by resumption under Section 482(1 )(c) of the Local Government Act 1919.

Council, at its meeting held on Monday March 25th 1985, resolved that, in accordance with the resolution of the Public Meeting held at the Menangle School of Arts Hall on Tuesday March 12th 1985 (to discuss Council’s intention to resume the Hall), Council now proceed to acquire by resumption under Section 482(1)(c) of the Local Government Act 1919, the Menangle School of Arts Hall for use and hire by the public.

From 1998 through to October 1999, there were several reports to Council on The Reason for Appointment of a Sec 355 Committee, The Status of Menangle School of Arts, Council’s Obligation to Menangle School of Arts Hall.

On November 6th 2000, following the submission of a petition from the local community of Menangle, Council resolved to acquire Lot 1 in Deposited Plan 306368 at Menangle (Menangle School of Arts) by compulsory process pursuant to Section 186(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Act 1991).

Council immediately began the process of compulsory acquisition, obtaining permission from the Minister of Department of Local Government and advertising to the local community of Council’s intentions to acquire.

November 12th 2001, Council resolved to note the completion of the Acquisition of Menangle School of Arts, the Certificate of Title was received by Council on September 6th 2001; that a further report come back to Council on the Classification of the land.

November 26th 2001, Council resolved to commence the process of classification of the Menangle School of Arts land with the intent of classifying this land as ‘operational land’9

Due to concerns regarding the safety of the Hall, Council instigated a number of investigation reports which included the following:

•     ‘Structural Engineering Assessment for Wollondilly Shire Council in relation to School of Arts hall, Station Street, Menangle’ by Forrest Engineering Solution Pty. Ltd., 16th June 2005.

•    ‘Building Assessment – Menangle School of Arts Building’ by John McDonald Building Services, 13th April 2007

Council discussed with the local residents the use of alternative venues for Hall activities mid-2000.

During December 2009, McPhee Architects were engaged by Wollondilly Shire Council to prepare a Heritage Report on the Hall.

‘ Menangle School of Arts – History of Events by James McFarlane, 2002.

2.3        MAPS

Plate 1: Menangle in the 1930s from ‘Grist Mills Vol. 5 No. 1’

Plate 2: Shire Map

Plate 3: Department of Lands Record, 2010


3.1        SITE LOCATION

The Menangle School of Arts hall is located at Station Street, Menangle. It is a distance of some 69.5 kilometres south west of Sydney and is situated in the Parish of Camden, County of Camden, Wollondilly Shire. The Hall site includes Lot 1, DP 306368.


The property is sited at Station Street and is aligned in a north/south direction. Entry to the single-storey, timber-framed and metal-roofed building is via concrete steps leading up to a small vestibule with hallway beyond, central the gable facade.

An adjoining outbuilding associated with the Menangle Corner Store aligns its facade with that of the hall, such that there is a consistent setback for each gable form at Station Street.

There is no significant vegetation at the site and external spaces are utilitarian.

The single-storey timber hall was constructed c.1890 as a social meeting place for the residents of Menangle. The architect and building contractor are unknown, although it is reasonable to believe that work was carried out by a local cottage builder for the Macarthur family, given the village was part of their estate.

Sited within a rectangular plot of land addressing Station Street, this single-storey Victorian-style structure was designed in the late nineteenth century. This style of construction was prevalent in New South Wales c.1850-1890.

Early photos of other timber structures in the locality from the “Star Collection” indicate a consistent, simple built form, found typically throughout New South Wales in Victorian times:

•    Isolated brick piers with lime mortar, no ant caps, hardwood bearers and joists

•    Tongue and groove flooring

•    Feather-edged weatherboards, hardwood

•    Panelled ‘stone’ proportioned facing boards to the street facade, this being the only ‘decoration’ to the exterior of the building

•     Battened fibro gable end with rectangular timber ventilator to street facade and finial at ridge to fascia junction

•    Twelve pane, painted timber, double-hung windows

•    Ledged and braced side and rear exit doors

•    Custom orb profile corrugated iron roofing with quad gutters and circular diameter downpipes.

The Hall exhibits an overall form and detailing type of Victorian style cottage and small scale commercial structures in NSW. Interiors are plain and free of decoration. The street facade is symmetrical, having a monopitch verandah extending towards Station Street and sheltering two double-hung windows, equally spaced around the central entry door.

3.5.2    Structural Condition

The construction methods employed for Menangle School of Arts Hall were traditional and the structural design was conservative. It remains in basic, altered, not fully-stable condition. Engineering inspections have raised concerns as to the stability of the building generally.

On inspection, there is evidence of some structural damage:

•    Some isolated masonry piers which support timber bearers and joists have subsided over the decades.

•    Subsidence has caused the area adjacent to the raised stage to drop and cause bowing to floors in this area. Discontinuity of framing and timber damage has resulted in damage to the Hall.

Additionally, dry rot damage is evident in timber window frames and some of the timber wall plates. Decayed timber window ashes in some cases have been propped with sticks to keep them in a closed position. Refer to separate engineering reports at the Bibliography section of this report.

3.5.3    Alterations – External

The Hall has been subject to much change since its construction, c.1890. These changes include:

•     Extension of the hall at the rear towards the southern and western boundary.

•     Renewal of sections of side and rear wall cladding.

•    New rainwater goods.

•    Removal of metal roof ridge ventilations.

•    Renewal of double hung timber windows on the eastern facade.

•    New side exit doors, landings and balustrades.

3.5.4    Alterations – Internal

•    Modern interior refurbishments, fitments and fixtures to male and female toilets, c.1984

•    New ‘Bio-box’ projection room, c.1984

•    New kitchenette, c.1984

•    New tongue and groove timber flooring, 1994

•    New partitioned office space at the southern area of the Hall, c.1984.

Generally those areas of the Hall not directly affected by c.1960s, 1984 and 1994 alterations, remain in relatively intact, although run-down, condition.

3.5.5    Building Condition – External

The original c.1890 built fabric remains in run-down condition and needing extensive work to:

•    Fitting of ant caps to piers throughout

•    Re-levelling the floor structure via use of new isolated brick piers

•    Renewing structural timber damage

•    Renewing rotted and ant damaged timber work to windows

•    Renewing of gutters and flashings

•    Removal of the asbestos cement cladding

•    Refixing panelling at street facade

•    Repainting previously painted surfaces.

3.5.6    Building Condition – Interior

The interiors of the building require repair work, including:

•    Repairs to window trim and frames

•    Renewal of damaged wall linings

•    Repairs to flooring where they are out of level.

3.5.7    Colour Schemes

Original exterior and interior colour schemes are not evident, however, some interior finishes are extant in the raised stage area

Paint scrapes of the original fabric have not been carried out to determine the original colour scheme.

3.5.8    Open Service Area

A side accessway to the east of the Hall permits vehicle access to the side of the Hall and two in-ground septic tanks are located in this area.



The “Victorian” Hall was constructed c.1890 on land which was originally part of the Camden Estate.

The existing single storey, timber-framed structure is in a partially intact form.

The exterior, except at its eastern fagade, part of its northern facade and new roof cladding, has suffered change by way of additions and alterations, although some of its original architectural features are evident at its western and street facade.

The interiors have also suffered change, especially in relation to significant alteration works carried out, c.1984 and 1994.

The interior spatial arrangement of the Hall at the front or northern area has changed to accommodate male and female toilets, kitchenette and projection room.

The aesthetic quality of the gabled facade at Station Street, exterior walls and roof form is evident. The rear, or southern rooms, have been altered to form two office spaces, c.1984.

4.2        SIDE ACCESS

The level surface area at the east of the Hall continues to provide pedestrian access and vehicular and hard surface for vehicles.

Two in-ground reinforced concrete septic tanks are present at the north east area.

To a great extent the Menangle School of Arts Hall ‘form’ and its setting has remained predominantly intact.



The item having cultural value is located at Lot 1 DP306368, Station Street Menangle, and includes all stages of evolution of the site, dating back to its c.1890 original construction.

Cultural significance has been defined as “aesthetic, historic, scientific or social value for the past, present or future generations:. Several heritage authorities have produced conservation guidelines that have the objective of establishing criteria to determine significance. The most widely accepted guidelines by both government authorities and conservation practitioners are set out in the Burra Charter, produced by ICOMOS Australia. In addition to these criteria the Planning New South Wales has established a state heritage inventory, to be based on a standard methodology for the assessment of heritage significance. The State Heritage inventory (SHI) has developed criteria for assessment.

The SHI criteria do not depart fundamentally from the methodology recommended by the Burra Charter, which has been adopted for this assessment.

The criteria listed in the Burra Charter deal with the nature of cultural significance. These categories encompass the general themes of historic, social, scientific and aesthetic values. A second set of criteria is employed in the SHI system (and adopted in our evaluations) to interpret the degree of significance. These criteria are intended to establish whether the item or place under consideration is:

Rare                     –           Concerned with the uncommon or exceptional

Representative        –           Concerned with the typical or characteristic

Associative            –           Concerned with links and connections

As the last step in the assessment of significance, each of the categories of significance may be rated in terms of whether this characteristic is considered significant for: The Locality; the Region; the State or the Nation.

The following Table 1 is a useful guide in determining the level of heritage significance of heritage items (NSW Heritage Office 2001).

Table 1     Level of Heritage Significance of Heritage items

Grading Justification Status
Exceptional Rare or outstanding element directly contributing to an item’s local and State significance Fulfils criteria for local or State listing
High High degree of original fabric. Demonstrates a key element of the item’s significance. Alterations do not detract from significance Fulfils criteria for local or State listing
Moderate Altered or modified elements. Elements with little heritage value, but which contribute to overall significance of the item Fulfils criteria for local or State listing
Little Alterations detract from significance. Difficult to interpret. Does not fulfil criteria for local or State listing
Intrusive Damaging to the item’s heritage significance Does not fulfil criteria for local or State listing

5.2        SHI THEMES

The criteria used in this statement of significance conform to the standards set by Planning NSW and also correspond to the State Heritage Inventory (SHI). The themes most relevant from the SHI list for the Menangle School of Arts Hall are those of:

•     Historic

•    Aesthetic

The principal areas of heritage significance are the above-ground resources of the Hall.


6.1        THE SITE

The site at Lot 1 DP306368 Station Street Menangle, forms part of the Menangle township which contains a building having heritage value.

The site is not within a Conservation Area having local or state significance.

The Hall and its setting have changed since original construction c.1890; there are no landscape or site improvements.


The historic significance of the Hall must be viewed in the context of the early development of Menangle.

The following sections identify reasons for significance of the Hall based on criteria listed in the Burra Charter produced by ICOMOS Australia and the State Heritage Inventory.

6.2.1     Historic

(1) The Menangle School of Arts Hall was built by the Macarthur Onslow family as part of their land holding at Camden Park. Menangle was a private village.

(2) A centre for dairy production, Menangle was an early township having direct links with Sydney CBD via the establishment of the rail link in 1863.

(3) The Menangle School of Arts Hall was a social centre of the township in its early days and would have been used by persons of note as well as local townspeople.

6.2.2     Aesthetic

(1) The extant “Victorian” style Hall, significantly altered c.1984, remains in partly original plan form and condition.

Aesthetically, the Hall exhibits a consistent “Victorian” style in form and detailing, which has been altered. The quality of the remaining built fabric, however, is considered to be of low value externally.


6.3.1     Significance of the Site and Setting

The Hall and its setting are assessed as being of local value. The Hall is of historical value for the following reasons:

•    The Hall and its setting are associated with the early settlement of Menangle during the 1890s and its subsequent subdivision and development. (Historical).

•    The building and site have historical associations with local residents. (Historical)

•     Built c1890, the Hall was designed in the “Victorian” style. The timber structure was built using local materials and tradespersons. (Historical/Aesthetic)

•    The site is representative of an area of land developed as part of the MacArthur family estate.

6.3.2    Statement of Significance

The Menangle School of Arts Hall forms an integral part of the early settlement, subdivision and development of Menangle.

Although altered a number of times between c.1890 and the present day and suffering structural fabric damage, the “Victorian” style of the building is evident and some of its original aesthetic qualities may still be seen. Sited at Station Street, the Hall is of local cultural value due to its historical associations.





The Menangle School of Arts Hall is sited close to and adjacent to the northern boundary of its allotment at Station Street Menangle. The Hall is highly visible from Station Street.


The subject site is zoned 5A (Special Uses) under Council’s LEP.


The Hall is not listed as an individual item on the Register of the National Estate.


The Hall is not listed on the State Heritage Register, nor the National Trust Register (NSW).


Under this Heritage Report, the Hall is assessed by the study team as having local heritage



The Hall has undergone three distinct changes:

Phase 1:           Construction and early use                       c. 1890

Phase 2:           Major refurbishments                               c 1984

Phase 3:           Disrepair                                              c. 2000 to present

8.2       THE HALL

The Hall essentially retains its “Victorian” aesthetic. During 1984, alterations to the building on its north and west sides changed the original “Victorian” fabric. These changes reduced the aesthetic and historical significance of the Hall. To the north and at its entry facade, the Hall has retained its integrity. The Hall reflects continued community use from c.1890 to c.2000.

8.3        THE SITE

Although the Hall has continued to be changed over time, the exterior spaces have remained open, un-landscaped utilitarian areas.


It is proposed by the owners’, to dispose of the current site of The Hall to allow future development of the site.

The reasons for this are as follows:

•    The existing Hall remains in dilapidated condition, having a loss of structural integrity.

•    The premises in their current form constitute a fire safety and OH&S risk to users.

•    As a Public Building, the services and facilities provided are poor.

•    The cost of making good current structural and building defects in the building would exceed the cost of constructing a new facility.

Council have examined and identified alternative Hall functions for the local residents elsewhere in Menangle.


The following heads of consideration have been addressed from TABLE 1, Statement of Heritage Impact Guideline, DUAP.

Have all options for retention and adaptive re-use been explored?

The following options have been examined:

1.         Retain the Hall as existing

2.         Relocate the Hall

3.         Demolish the Hall.


This option proposes retaining the Hall in its current form and carrying out conservation work in accordance with agreed policies.

Evaluation Comment 1:

This would not comply with the user requirements in that substantial reconstruction work would be required in order to provide a building which is structurally sound having windows, doors, cladding and enclosing elements which are of an acceptable standard.


This proposal would entail dismantling the essential original c.1890 elements and to reconstruct them either at another site in Menangle, or elsewhere on Station Street having a similar contour level and site area.

Evaluation Comment 2:

This proposal is less than ideal for the users due to construction difficulties and the expense in careful dismantling, site preparation and reconstruction. Structural engineering reports note the relatively frail condition of the building fabric in part and such a proposal may not, in fact, be feasible. Should this option be chosen, detailed specification and specialised conservation policy would need to be established prior to works being commenced.


To demolish the Hall would deplete Menangle of an item of local value.

Evaluation Comment 3:

Given the poor structural condition of the built fabric, this option is considered the most realistic and, although the Hall would be removed, its local changed context and site would remain. Alternative accommodation for the building users would need to be found for the Hall function to continue.

Can all of the significant elements of the heritage item be kept and any new development be located elsewhere on the site?


Architectural and structural assessments indicate that the timber ‘balloon’ framing, which forms the structure, is discontinuous and suffering dry rot damage. In attempting to retain significant elements, further damage may ensue, thus contradicting the conservation intent.


Given the limited site area, available building land to suit the scope of new development proposed is in short supply.

The existing Hall is located such that it covers a large central proportion of the available site; the footprint of the existing Hall is relatively large in relation to the land it occupies.

In summary, retention of significant elements is possible, if not problematic, in a practical sense, and new development is only possible on or about the site of the existing Hall due to land size constraints.

Is demolition essential at this time or can it be postponed in case future circumstances make its retention and conservation more feasible

A number of concerns regarding the condition of the Hall have been identified by Council during various building surveys from c.2005 to the present.

“Ravinda and JN agree that the building should be temporarily closed pending further advice, this opinion is based on

1.     Potential injury to persons through trip or falling hazard as a result of un-even ground, door thresholds missing or sudden failure of building components.

2.    Poor, dangerous and obstructed emergency egress as a result of broken or obstructed doors, non-existence of emergency lighting, failure of exit lighting to work, need to pass back along building to access open space on street and the obstructed or blocked access path on both the eastern and western sides of the building. THIS COULD RESULT IN THE DEATH OF PERSONS SHOULD THE BUILDING CATCH FIRE.”10

Structural Engineering and OH&S Reports were carried out previous to Council Officers’ assessment of 2005.

In the meantime, the condition of the structure has continued to deteriorate, making salvage of what original fabric remains difficult to achieve.

Has the advice of a heritage consultant/specialist been sought? Have the consultant’s recommendations been implemented? If not, why not?

This Report, as prepared by McPhee Architects, registered Heritage Consultants, seeks to advise on heritage issues.

Specialist recommendations to the Client are noted herein.

A number of heritage management options have been canvassed:

(1) The Hall be demolished, or

(2) The Hall be demolished, dismantled and re-erected elsewhere on site.

‘ Inspection report by Justin Nyholm 1st June 2005

(1) The Hall be demolished

Should the Hall be demolished due to loss of short- and long-term structural stability, we recommend that:

•     Its essential salvageable components be retained by the Picton Historical Society.

•      An archival recording be carried out in accordance with DUAP requirements.

•     An interpretative plaque with text and graphics be affixed to a future structure constructed at the site to inform the general public and allow an appreciation of the heritage item in its former setting.

(2)  The Hall be demolished, dismantled and parts of it re-erected elsewhere on site

Should the Hall be dismantled and re-erected elsewhere on site, we recommend that:

•     Its original c.1890 form be reconstructed on the same site having similar contour levels and being sited in the same axis of direction as the existing.

•    Its future use be such that the general public may appreciate the Hall in a similar setting to that which existed in c.1890.

Of these two (2) options, Option (1) Demolition, is considered by the heritage consultant and specialists as being the optimum solution, due to the practicality of reconstructing damaged building structure elsewhere at the site and therefore destroying that structure aimed at being conserved.



The Menangle School of Arts Hall

The study team has determined that the timber” Victorian” Ha\\ and its setting are of local heritage value.

The original Architect and Builder are unknown.

Both Hall and setting are not listed as being of local significance by Wollondilly Shire Council and the site is not within the Conservation Area.

Although the Hall is assessed as having value, it is not in intact condition save for its c.1890 form and part of its street facade. Changes carried out, including those c.1984 and 1994, have depleted the item of its heritage significance.

The Menangle School of Arts Setting

The site and setting of the Hall remain as an open area of land fronting Station Street with a centrally-placed, roughly rectangular plan-shaped timber structure fronting Station Street.


A number of heritage management options have been canvassed and, after due consideration, it is recommended that:

The Hall be demolished and

•     An archival recording be carried out in accordance with standards established by Planning NSW and the NSW Heritage Office

•     An interpretative plaque with text and graphics be affixed to a selected wall of any replacement structure at the site to inform the general public and allow an appreciation of the Hall in its former setting

•     Essential salvageable components be identified for removal and retention by Wollondilly Shire Council.

These recommendations are suggested by way of conditional development consent.


NSW Heritage Office and Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. 1996 NSW Heritage Manual, HO/DUAP. Manual update: 2001 Assessing Heritage Significance and Statement of Heritage Impact NSW Heritage Office. 2000. Historical Research for Heritage. NSW Heritage Office, Parramatta.


Telephone discussion, Kate Holmes Picton Historical Society, 28th January 2010

Grist Mills Vol 5 No 1, 1985

DVD record of early photos of the Starr and Ryder families, Menangle

Correspondence “Menangle School of Arts – History of Events’, by James McFarlane, 2002

Meeting and discussion with Joe Cartes, Menangle, 21st January 2010, who constructed the new floor

Menangle School of Arts – History of Events by James McFarlane, 2002

Inspection Report by Justin Nyholm 1st June 2005-

Structural Engineering Assessment, by Forrest Engineering Solutions Pty. Ltd., 16th June 2005