You might be wondering why Kandos Community Centre is the header image of this website. It’s a distinctive building don’t you think? It’s also a hallmark of Kandos.
If you drive up Angus Avenue, you can’t miss it. Sitting on the high side, it is majestic and perhaps a little overconfident, having been refreshed a few years ago with a paint-job, new roof and landscaping, thanks to Mid-Western Regional Council. The town square, in front of it, was redesigned with paving, seating and plantings and the kitchen was refurbished. On the left of the image you can see part of a curved war memorial wall (erected in 2010) to complement the memorial obelisks at the entrance to the driveway (dedicated in 1954). As you can see the centre has adjusted to the times.
Kandos Community Centre was one of many enthusiastic projects begun throughout Australia, following a bleak depression and war. The newly created Joint Coal Board helped fund it with £14,000 (part of the board’s role was to safeguard the welfare of workers and that often meant providing facilities). The cement companies also contributed, as did Rylstone Council.
The most impressive thing though, was how the community got behind it. Most employees gave a shilling a week from their pay over some years. Others made an annual contribution of £2/12/-. In addition, locals supported fundraisers like balls, street stalls, raffles, tournaments, concerts and carnivals. The project took ten years from concept to completion.
The architect of this magnificent centre was Reginald John Magoffin, a “modernist” who designed a number of civic buildings in NSW including Wollongong Art Gallery. He gave the centre some elegant features. It has a large auditorium 31 by 12 metres, overlooked by a gallery at one end and a stage at the other. There are cloakrooms, dressing rooms, storerooms and terraces. It has multiple entries and graceful external staircases. Originally there was a large supper area underneath but that is now the local library.
Kandos Community Centre is, to me, a reminder of what can be achieved in a small, generous community. Moreover, it contains 60 years of Kandos history. It has hosted flower shows, speech nights and art exhibitions, held displays, performances and boxing tournaments, and turned migrants and refugees into Australian citizens. In 2014 Governor David Hurley, freshly inaugurated, made Kandos his first public visit and attended the Centenary Ball here.
In recent years the centre has rolled out the carpet for a number of talented drawcards including the popular, but now sadly deceased, John English. It is just itching for another community event.