Exeter School of Arts Hall | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Exeter School of Arts Hall

Item details

Name of item: Exeter School of Arts Hall
Other name/s: Exeter Hall
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Community Facilities
Category: School of Arts
Primary address: 10 Exeter Road, Exeter, NSW 2579
Parish: Sutton Forest
County: Camden
Local govt. area: Wingecarribee
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
10 Exeter RoadExeterWingecarribeeSutton ForestCamdenPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

Exeter Hall is significant on a number of levels: associations with community life and and activity; through its strong associationswith the history of the village; important contribution to the streetscape and visual character of Exeter; andinteresting construction design and technical qualities.
Date significance updated: 07 Apr 10
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Sydney Architects Slatyer & Cosh
Builder/Maker: William Jones of Moss Vale.
Construction years: 1902-
Physical description: Located within Exeter Park and opposite St. Aidan's Church. Exeter citizens, Arthur Yates of The Headlands (now Invergowrie), Frank Nelson Yarwood of Apolima and Frank Badgery of Vine Lodge became joint tenants of a half-acre block of land on which the School of Arts was to be built. Sydney Architects Slatyer & Cosh designed the building but due to lack of funds, only the small hall was built as part of the original design. The Builder was William Jones of Moss Vale. The official opening of the Exeter School of Arts was 19 December, 1902. It has been used for community activities including balls, concerts, celebrations and farewell parties. Methodist Church services were also held in the hall from the late 1930s.

A Federation style hall of brick construction with stuccoed exterior walls. It has a pitched tiles roof with gables which have a Tudor style decorative treatment. The upper sash of the windows are divided into small panes. There is an entrance porch with a flat roof, projecting rafters and shingles.

1930s building with Federation period influences. Queen Anne detailing in roof, including Marseilles-pattern tiles. Main hall has Arts and Crafts references in roof, with polychromatic brickwork laid in English bond. Front of the building has been pebble dashed. Small porch at front with a flat roof. Panelled, framed entry door with diagonal boards in panels. Coloured glass in windows, double hung windows have 12 panes in upper sash, single sheet of obscure glass in lower sash.
Modifications and dates: Rear additions c.2016 - previous additions demolished and replaced - see Wingecarribee Shire Council Application No. 15/0870


Historical notes: In 1900 the local residents took the first steps towards the formation of a School of Arts. Arthur Yates of The Headlands (now Invergowrie), Frank Nelson Yarwood of Apolima and Frank Badgery of Vine Lodge became joint tenants of a half acre block of land on which the School of Arts was to be built. The land was purchased from Dalgety & Co for £7.10.0 on 20th April 1901. As members of the School of Arts Committee they engaged Sydney Architects Slatyer & Cosh to design a suitable building, with both a large and small hall, a library and offices.

Frank Yarwood was a driving force behind the project, both with the organisation and financial support, but ultimately only a part of the original design, the small hall, was ever built due to a lack of funds.

Tenders were called and in March 1902, contracts for the building of the hall were signed with the lowest tenderer, William Jones of Moss Vale. The tender price for the building contract was £490. The building was completed within the specified time, the total cost of the project rising to £630.

The official opening was held on 19 December 1902 and was celebrated with a concert. Frank Yarwood gave an opening address, the text of which will never be known as the reporter from the Wollondilly Press arrived late due to the train from Moss Vale not running to time!

The School of Arts has been used for community activities ever since. Balls, concerts, celebrations and farewell parties were regular events and the focus of community life. When Henry Neville, the Stationmaster at Exeter for more than 20 years, retired from the railways in September 1911, a social was held in honour of he and his wife, Martha, the Exeter Postmistress. Frank Badgery presented Henry with a purse of sovereigns and Martha with an easy chair and silver teapot.

During the 1920s Wilson-Sinclair Motion Pictures showed ‘the latest up to date pictures’ every Saturday night and later still, during the 1930s and 40s, amateur theatricals were popular with the locals. Methodist Church services were also held in the hall from the late 1930s.

During the Second World War the Army moved in, requisitioning the buildings and oval for use by the 52nd Division Ordnance Corps for workshops and as a recovery depot. The tenancy was a short one, from April until the end of July 1942 and was not entirely to the satisfaction of the Arts Committee. John Moorcroft, the Honorary Secretary, wrote to Army Headquarters in August 1942 requesting compensation for damage to the park fences and 78 units of power at 2d per unit which was not included in the original contract of £78 per annum. Nor was he amused at the bill for the lighting in the hall which was not included in the rental agreement and our account for lighting was increased by roughly four pounds. The surviving correspondence fails to record the outcome of the wrangle with the Australian Army.

Ethel Heath was the resident caretaker from the late 1940s until she moved to Honeymoon Cottage on Vine Lodge in the late 1950s. She and her daughter, Nancy Grey, and granddaughter, Pam Cleary, lived in the caretaker’s residence. The caretaker’s responsibility was to look after the School of Arts Library and Hall in return for use of the adjacent cottage and an allowance of 12 shillings a week, light, power and sanitary services. In about 1970 the cottage was removed and the area at the rear of the hall, which once housed the library, was demolished.

Very early in its life, the School of Arts Hall became a part of a wider vision that included the use of the surrounding land as a park and venue for social and sporting activities. In 1895 Frank Yarwood, Arthur Yates and Thomas Knox, the Managing Director of Dalgety and Company, purchased from Dalgetys 11 acres of land that surrounded the School of Arts block, for which they paid £180. By 1904, with some boundary adjustments that increased the size of the park to 13 acres, Exeter Park had more or less gained its present shape.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWLEP 2010I59316 Jun 10   
Local Environmental Plan - Lapsed  26 Nov 04 1878756
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Wingecarribee Heritage Study1991WI0593JRC Planning Services  Yes
Data base updating as part of Heritage Adviser duties.2007 Peter Kabaila and the people of Wingecarribee Shire.  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenEmery, Linda2002Exeter School of Arts Hall 1902 - 2002

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2680593

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