As the widening of the GWH approached Lawson back in 2007, efforts were made to save the Old hall from demolition. In those days, I was working with Phil Koperberg, former Member for Blue Mountains.
Efforts were made to convince then Minister for Roads to remove the front portico & save the hall, given considerable community interest and advocacy to do so.
In May 2014 the Friends of the Mechanics Institute Lawson was formed as a community organisation with a vision of overseeing the preservation of this historic Blue Mountains building.
Through dedicated independent community fundraising and the support of a NSW Government Community Building Partnership Award, this vision was realised.
Since 2015 extensive electrical, lighting and audio works have been undertaken with the assistance of the Blue Mountains City Council, once again breathing life into this iconic building.
The Mechanics Institute was built by the community in 1903. It has considerable local cultural significance and is representative of the continuing sense of community so present in this Blue Mountains village.
On Saturday 22nd July I attended the official re-opening of the Lawson Mechanics Institute - a day celebrating the building itself, the local community and honouring all those who’d campaigned to save the hall.
David King gave an incredible welcome to country: setting the tone & weaving stories & connections to community.
Julius Timmerman, Erst Carmichael, Teresa Lock, Leila Wedd, Colin Steele, Nyla who once worked in the Library, Barrie Ward, Bluey Quilty, Warren Baker, Chris Venn and John Sheehy are some of those community members involved– thank you all for your unfaltering dedication to bringing this “great old hall” back to life.