Lawson Hall (Mechanics Institute) reopens on Saturday July 22

Lawson is ready to party: Colin Steele, Colleen Roche, Bluey Quilty, Kevin Hardwick, Erst Carmichael and James Roche at the Mechanics Institute.
Lawson is ready to party: Colin Steele, Colleen Roche, Bluey Quilty, Kevin Hardwick, Erst Carmichael and James Roche at the Mechanics Institute.

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle will be among the many guests celebrating the Lawson community hall reopening on Saturday July 22.

The event will take place at the historic building on 284 Great Western Highway, which has recently been restored. 

The sympathetically designed portico, by architect Simon Hearn, has been rebuilt by the Roads and Maritime Service on the eastern side of the building, following the highway widening.

Blue Mountains City Council funded the new carpark and disability access and refurbished the rear meeting rooms, so that the building can better function to its full potential.

Friends of the hall (also known as the Mechanics Institute, Lawson) gained a NSW Community grant and funded the installation of improved electrical circuits and a large fan in the auditorium.

Ms Doyle and councillors will be present at the event to help celebrate and welcome the public to use this space for performances and community events. The event will run from 11 am to 1pm. Refreshments will be available and everyone is welcome.

In conjunction with the reopening there will be another event the following day to celebrate the connection of the Mechanics Institute with the 150th railway anniversary with steam train rides from Lawson to Katoomba and back.

The Mechanics Institute was originally built in 1903 by the community as they carried bricks from the first Lawson station of 1879, then called Blue Mountain, across the road to its present site.

“Lawson was chosen as a good place for trains to stop at because of the width of level ground, which allowed for the building of crossings to turn trains on, and the availability of water,” Erst Carmichael said.

“It was one of the only stopping places together with Mt Victoria,” she added.

The open day, on Sunday July 23 from 11am – 3.30pm, will include a photo exhibition of early days in Lawson. There will also be refreshments and some live music. At 2pm a history walking tour will be led by Kate O’Neill starting from the station and finishing at the Mechanics Institute.

Details about the history of Lawson are available at: http://www.midmountainshistory.org/lawson.html . Enquiries to  0432 140 391.