Thursday, November 20, 2008

Historic Lawson Hall Saved !!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Association of Concerned Mid Mountains Residents (ACMMR) and Save Our Hall Group congratulate the new Blue Mountains Council on their decision to surrender the development application (DA) to demolish historic Lawson Mechanics Institute, and accept an RTA plan that will allow the new highway to circumvent the hall. This act represents a solid recognition of the importance of the built heritage of the Blue Mountains, and a new vision for the Mountains that reflects awareness of future generations. It is a milestone for locals who have campaigned hard for over 5 years to save the building from demolition, and a positive outcome for the whole Blue Mountains community and visitors, many of whom contributed by writing letters, signing petitions and donating to the campaign. Thank you one and all!

The fight to save the hall echoes that in Moruya on the south coast where determined residents' action recently saved a rare late-19th century Mechanics Institute. Like Lawson's, this historic building is also aesthetically important for its design and its contribution to the townscape. Locals helped restore it and it now thrives as an arts and display centre. The larger Lawson Mechanics Institute however has something the Moruya one does not have - a stage.

There is still much to be done before the hall will be back in operation, but the community is ready to work with the Council to form a management committee to oversee the repair and restoration of the building for use by the public and local groups. ACMMR has a business plan that includes the names of a number of groups who have expressed interest in using the hall. Also individual qualified tradespeople have indicated they will supply labour and/or materials for maintenance or repair. Fund raising will be important for the future of the hall and there are a number of possibilities that the Blue Mountains Council is aware of. Already the National Trust is waiting to set up a Donations Appeal.

If anyone wants to make a donation in the interim they can send a cheque to ACMMR, PO Box 54, Lawson 2783.

Receipts will be sent by mail, so please include a stamped, addressed envelope.