Lambton locals are set to be given a sneak peek at the restoration of the city’s oldest library building as part of a celebration of Lambton’s 150th anniversary occurring this week.
Lambton Library was constructed in 1887 and was initially used as the Lambton Council Chamber before being converted into a library in 1950.
The century-old heritage protected building has been undergoing a significant facelift during the past 18 months and has been closed to the public since COVID-19 restrictions came into force in March 2020.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the community would be given a sneak peek of the ongoing works during this week’s community-led “Love Lambton” event, with the library also delivering a series of activities that will help bring the suburb’s history to life.
Lambton Library will temporarily re-open to the public on June 21, 26 and 27, before closing again for the finishing touches to the building to be completed.
“This much-loved community building has been a focal point for Lambton residents for more than 100 years as first a council chamber and for the past 71 years a public library,” Cr Nelmes said.
“While the passing of time has taken its toll on the building, City of Newcastle is prioritising essential improvements to deliver an improved space to the community.
“The roof restoration and an internal fitout including new equipment and self-service technology are now complete, however we still need to construct a bullnose verandah and entry, which will restore the building’s original heritage façade and create a fully accessible library entrance for the community.
“Once finished, Lambton Library’s refurbishment will have completely re-imagined the internal space to create a user-centric, modern experience that will allow extended community access and new activities in the library.
“While we look forward to permanently welcoming everyone back into the library later in the year, the Love Lambton celebration provides an ideal opportunity to show the results of this transformation so far while also helping to celebrate Lambton’s 150th anniversary.”
Queen Victoria signed the papers to designate Lambton as a municipality on 26 June 1871. To commemorate the anniversary, a community-led Love Lambton 150 Years committee is delivering 150 hours of events, entertainment and community activations from 21-27 June, with City of Newcastle providing $12,000 through the Event Sponsorship Program.
Newcastle Libraries’ Local History team, in partnership with Curious Legends, have curated a collection of historic images showing the people and places around Lambton that will be projected onto the side of Lambton Library from 5.30pm – 10pm throughout the event. Historic images will also be used for an augmented reality experience in three sites around Lambton Park, which can be accessed via the City of Newcastle app.
Lambton Library will display rare documents including original minute books of Lambton Council, photographs of the first Lambton Councillors, early Lambton maps and plans, and samples of the first rates notices, while a podcast series with local historian Julie Keating is also being developed.