by Cathy Jones
The Council of the Municipality of Enfield operated for 60 years between 1889 and 1949.
The former Enfield Council Chambers and Town Hall were built in 1930 on Liverpool Road Enfield at the intersection of Coronation Parade, Liverpool Road and The Boulevarde. The Chambers are one of three remaining Enfield Municipal Council properties still in existence; the others are the Enfield Olympic Pool in Henley Park and Coronation Arch in Plymouth Street.
The west ward of Enfield Council was transferred to Strathfield Council in 1949 and the Chambers building was located in this ward. After the ceasing use as a Council Chambers, Strathfield Council has maintained ownership and the building has had a variety of uses. It is currently privately leased.
The former Enfield Council Chambers and Town Hall are heritage listed on Strathfield Council’s Local Environment Plan. The Enfield War Memorial is located at the front of the Chambers.
Enfield Municipal Council
In 1888, the population of Enfield had reached 1500 and local residents submitted a petition to the NSW Governor requesting the formation of a municipality. Enfield Municipal Council was incorporated on January 22 1889 and the first elections were held on March 23 1889.
The boundaries of Enfield Council, according to the 1890 Sands Sydney Directory, were described as ‘From the corner of Greenhill Street and Liverpool Road; thence southerly along the west side of Greenhill Street to the George’s River road; thence westerly along the north side of the George’s River road to the Burwood road; thence southerly along the west side of Burwood road to Cook’s river; thence along the north bank of Cook’s river to the bridge on the Liverpool road to the point of commencement of Greenhill Street’.
Enfield Council Chambers
Enfield Council initially rented premises in Tennyson Parade before moving to a new Town Hall on the corner of Liverpool Road and The Parade in 1893. This site later became Greenwood Hall and was later used as children’s library.
The final Enfield Council Chambers was built on the corner of Liverpool Rd and Coronation Parade (then known as Punchbowl Road) in 1930. The land was given to the Council near the Broadway Enfield with an estimated cost of the building was £2675 (SMH 1930).
The foundation stone for the new building was laid in March 1930 by the Minister for Local Government Mr Buxner and the Mayor Ald. Stanley Lloyd (SMH March 1930). The former Mayor Ald. Ebenezer Ford was praised for securing the land free of cost from the Main Roads Board (SMH March 1930)
The architects of the 1930 Council Chambers were DT Morrow & Gordon. This firm undertook design of numerous Municipal buildings including extensions to the Strathfield Council Chambers, design of the Strathfield Council Baby Health Centre Redmyre Rd Strathfield (late 1940’s) and the former Strathfield Branch Library in High St (1956) and many buildings for Burwood Council. The builder was Mr Udall.
The Chambers were described as (SMH July 1920):
The building was designed in a simple but dignified manner which follows the colonial style. The outside is of O.K. bricks with cement trimmings, and the roof is covered with semi-glazed tiles of the French pattern. The elevation towards Liverpool-road is distinguished by a columned entrance porch with a clock tower above, in which is being installed an electric clock with dials on three faces. This tower is surmounted with a copper cupola roof. The offices comprise a general office with strongroom, and private offices for Mayor, Town Clerk, overseer, and health officer. The council chamber, with its domed ceiling and Queensland maple table, seating and panelling, will be one of distinction. The council table, which is semi-circular, is placed in the centre of the chamber and on a level slightly lower than that occupied by the Mayor and his officers. Public seating is provided around the walls of the chamber. The aldermen will have their own room, which is fitted with the various necessary conveniences. Messrs. Morrow and Gordon were the architects, and Mr. Udall the builder.
At the time the Chambers were built, the Enfield to Mortlake and Cabarita Tram service was still in operation and ran alongside the eastern side of this building.
In 1947, the NSW Labor Government legislated the ‘Greater Sydney Plan’, which advocated the amalgamation and reduction of 67 shires and municipalities in the County of Cumberland to 39. Many small Councils were amalgamated at this time such as Rookwood with Auburn Council, Mascot with Botany Council, Vaucluse with Woollahra Council and Homebush with Strathfield Council.
Enfield Municipality was split with the west ward of Enfield Council joining Strathfield Municipality and the central and east wards joining Burwood Municipality. The last meeting of Enfield Council was held in December 1948 and on 1 January 1949 the western ward of Enfield formally transferred to Strathfield Council.
‘Enfield Council Chambers’ (1930, January 9), Sydney Morning Herald, p5.
‘Enfield Municipality, New Council Chambers’ (1930 March 3), Sydney Morning Herald, p16
‘New Council Chambers. Erected at Enfield’. (1930 July 22). Sydney Morning Herald, p5
© Cathy Jones 2006, updated 2017. This article is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without permission of the author.