The Albert Hall: a timeline

1926 Designs for an ‘Assembly Hall’ prepared by Federal Capital Commission architect David Limburg
1927Bertram Mackennal sculpture of Bellona installed on Commonwealth Avenue at entrance
Construction of Albert Hall commenced
1928February: Institution of Engineers Australia Conference at (incomplete) Hall
Canberra Musical Society formed in merger of Canberra Musical Society and Canberra Philharmonic Society (1926)
10 March
Opening by Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce
31 March-2 April Congress of Australian College of Surgeons
10 April Canberra Golf Club Ball
13 April Cricket Ball – Federal Capital Territory Cricket Association
23 April NSW MRB Lecture Room
24 April Meeting Social Service Association [see Canberra Times 13 & 22 March 1928] 25 April Canberra’s first Anzac Day service – GG Stonehaven takes salute, Chauvel
26 April Diggers’ Ball
Monday 30 April SA&L meeting Lecture Room [CT 1 May 1928] 8 May Conference of Federated TB Soldiers & Sailors Assn of Australia
11 May Prime Minister SM Bruce & Ethel Bruce at opening of Canberra Society of the Arts and Literature production of Much Married – parking area established
18 May Artists Society first annual Ball [CT 1 April, 2 & 19 May 1928] May Mothercraft Society Ball
21 May Musical Society special general meeting
28 May Public Rally on parliamentary representation – Representation League becomes Citizens League [CT 25 May 1928] Wednesday 30-31 May Newspaper Proprietors Conference – Bruce address [CT 31 May 1928] 2-3 June PM Bruce opens Rotary Conference [CT 4 June 1928] Friday 8 June St Gabriels Ball [CT 9 & 11 June 1928] 22 or 29 June RSL Grand Benefit Ball
23 June Russian Cherniavsky trio violin, cello, piano [CT 11 July 1928] 28 June Canberra Bowling Club Annual Social
30 June Society of the Arts and Literature stage Her Husband’s Wife [CT 26 May] 7 July Burns Club & Highland Society Ball (for Tasmanian flood relief)
17 July public meeting – Federal Capital Territory Citizens League call for measures to relieve distress
19 July Grand MUIOOF Ball – Eric Attwell’s Syncopators
22 July Sunday afternoon concert relief fund
24 July:  NSW Conservatorium of Music benefit concert – Frank Hutchens [CT 24 July 1928] 30 July Canberra City Band – Relief Fund for the disadvantaged in Canberra
10 August Catholic Ball
18 August Australian baritone John Brownlee with soprano Elena Danieli, accomp. William James [CT 10 August 1928] 21 August St Gabriel’s school concert
29 August FCT Licence League rally
1 September Frank Hutchens & Lindley Evans duo pianos – with contralto Heather Kinnaird & bass Raymond Beatty [CT 3 Sept 1928] 3 September Kenneth Oliphant lecture ‘Architecture’ to Arts Society
8 September Welcome to transferees of the Public Service Board, Statistics & Electoral Branch
18 September Canberra Housewives Association meeting  [CT 17 Sept 1928] 26 September:  British Empire Forestry Conference opened
26-28 September Alan Wilkie Shakespeare Company
29-30 September Constitutional Associations Convention – Bruce address [CT 2 October 1928] 6 October Bachelors’ Ball
8 October Juvenile Ball
10 October Church of England Ball
16 October Billed as the Canberra City Band’s first public concert
30 October St Christopher’s Convent School Ball
2 November Poppy Day appeal afternoon meeting – Lilian Butters
8 November Poppy Day Dance
13 November Canberra Tourist Association formed
17 November Exhibition of women’s work including model club room
22 November Royal Australian Ornithologists Union Lecture
26 November Halford Oration
27 November Metropolitan Press Proprietors’ Conference
30 November SA&L performance in auditorium, previously Lecture Room – Me & my Diary
4 December Dr Robin Tillyard – anti-fly campaign lectures
6 December St Christopher’s Queen Competition Coronation Ball
11 December Canberra Musical Society’s Christmas Concert: The Messiah & carols, Handel and Schubert
12 December St Christopher’s School Concert
192916 January meeting City Area Lessees Assn formed
25 February CMS concert soprano Molly de Gunst Riga Opera Company [CT 22 Feb & 1 March 1929] March 2nd conference of 65th District of Rotary International
30 March CMA concert pianist Jascha Spivakovsky [CT 1 April 1929] 23 April CMS concert Gwen Selva [CT 8 March 1929] 25 April ANZAC service
24 September Soprano Dusolina Giannini concert [CT 13 Sept 1929] 8 October Australians tenor Walter Kirby & soprano Violet Rogers [CT 6 Sept 1929] 10 October Gathering of staff of the Federal Capital Commission to farewell Sir John and Lady Butters – Canberra City Band
October Wall Street crash
21 October Madame Jessie James – dramatic recital [CT 11 October 1929] 23 October CMS concert – baritone Harold Williams [CT 24 October 1929] October Labor government – James Scullin prime minister
First Horticultural Society of Canberra Show
28 November CMS concert – Australian composer & pianist Roy Agnew, Kathleen O’Connor mezzo soprano & Clement Williams baritone
False floor built over orchestra pit
19302 April
FCT Advisory Council formed
6 April Archbishop Mannix and Duhig attend Benediction and speeches for dedication of foundation stone for proposed Roman Catholic Cathedral on Cathedral Hill
24 April Protest for Advisory Council
19 May Wilhelm Backhaus concert
May Convention re Constitutional referendums
21-22 July
July Canberra Musical Society stages Iolanthe
31 July
25 August
9 September  Ainslie Boys Club boxing & wrestling (CT Sept 1930)
19 November
1931April Horticultural Society Chrysanthemum show
28 April
May SA&L staged Arnold Bennett’s The Title
28 May floods – Canberra Golf Club footbridge damaged
23 June
8 July Canberra City Band Benefit Concert for Canberra’s Relief Society and band funds, Marie Scullin and Prime Minister James Scullin (CCB Patron) attending
11 July Canberra Musical Society Orchestra chamber music concert (Lecture Room)
27 August
27 September Canberra City Band fund-raising concert for the Canberra Unemployment Relief Society
10 and 14 December: Canberra Relief Society stages Alice in Wonderland fundraiser for local unemployed people
193423 November: British Poet Laureate John Masefield ceremonial address after laying foundation stone for Kings Ave National Library building
1936Eileen Joyce concert
1937German Comedy Harmonists Australian tour
August: Conference founds Australian Institute of Librarians formed
1938Lotte Lehman concert
HG Wells lecture
1944Eugene Ormandy Orchestra tour
1945Celebrations for declaration of peace
Lord & Lady Gowrie farewell
1946Canberra Repertory Society production of Hamlet
1947Senator Annabelle Rankin holds United Women Citizens’ Protest Meeting against Socialism
19493 February: Prime Minister Ben Chifley, Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell and Shadow Minister Harold Holt officiate at Australia’s first citizenship ceremony
30 May: Immigration arts and crafts exhibition
Installation ceremony ANU Interim Council
Chifley Government’s National Committee on Cultural Development formed
195015 September: Joan Sutherland grand finalist in Mobil Quest
1951Commonwealth Jubilee events

22-26 January: 2nd Citizenship Convention
12-13 June: Refugee artists concert concert organised by Good Neighbour Council
10-12 August: Federal Congress on Regional and Town Planning, William Holford Jubilee Guest;
Regional and Town Planning Institute of Australia formed
British High Commission building completed on Commonwealth Avenue
1952John Alden Company Shakespeare season
1953Canberra Repertory Society move to new Riverside Theatre
195423 January: 5th Australian Citizenship Convention
Bellona sculpture removed to storage

February: Queen Elizabeth II Royal Tour
May: First sessions Petrov Royal Commission
195523 January: 6th Australian Citizenship Convention
April: First National Eisteddfod
19 August:Hobbies Exhibition

Judith Anderson stars in Elizabethan Theatre Trust production Medea
195623 January: 7th Australian Citizenship Convention
This pictre was taken in 1954 not 56…the day after the Petrov Inquiry
195723 January: 8th Australian Citizenship ConventionReception after Governor-General Sir William Slim presented the Queens Colours to the 3rd Battalion of the CMF at Manuka OvalNCDC established, Holford report commissioned
19581 February: Reception for Queen Mother’s visit
NSW Arts Council Ballet  tour

Canberra Philharmonic Society production of The Pirates of Penzance
1961Construction of Lake Burley Griffin began
March: World premiere of The Sentimental Bloke Norman Lindsay’s Magic Pudding
196223 January: 13th Australian Citizenship ConventionTV transmission began in Canberra
1963Rita Streich concert
30 November: National Tally Room televised
1964February: British sculpture exhibition
196523 January: 16th Australian Citizenship ConventionCanberra Theatre completed
1966John Perceval retrospective exhibition
1968Charles Blackman retrospective exhibition
197014 July: Homeowner-only land auction
197323 January: Citizenship ceremony
1974John Hopkins retrospective exhibition
1976Exhibition of Japanese prints
197850th birthday of Albert Hall celebrated
30 April: Fashion industry show
17 August: Federal Minister for the ACT Ros Kelly opens restored Compton organ
197915 October: Albert Hall classified by National Trust of Australia ACTDavid Boyd retrospective
198021 October: Albert Hall entered on Register of National Estate
1988New Parliament House completed on Capital Hill
1990Refurbishment by Department of Environment, Land & Planning
1991April: Albert Hall Open Day
1992September: Red Cross cultural fair for Floriade
19938 October: Chief Minister Rosemary Follett unveils replaced Bellona sculpture
199412 May: ASEAN Australia Forum
16 November: Land use policy for Albert Hall amended
1997Albert Hall listed on ACT Heritage Register
ACT Government leases Albert Hall to Auslead P/L
July-August: National Opera Festival events
199870th birthday celebrated
20 August: ‘Back to the Albert Hall’ dance
1999August: Bellona removed to new sculpture garden at War Memorial
ACT Government ceases to subsidise Public Liability Insurance for community hire of Albert Hall – community use declines 90%
2005ACT Government call for Expressions of Interest to contract management and revitalisation of Albert Hall and commissions a Conservation & Land Management Plan
2007 March: NCA releases development proposals for precinct in Draft Amendment 53 to National Capital Plan
2007 May: The public meeting held at the Albert Hall on 24 May 2007 launched Friends of the Albert Hall to lobby against the National Capital Authority’s development proposals for the Albert Hall surrounds and the ACT Government’s privatisation of management of the Albert Hall.
2008 10 March: Our Albert Hall 80th Birthday Celebrations 
 more to follow. Enquiries to