The Town Hall ruins are all that remain of the original Palmerston Town Hall designed in 1882 and completed in 1883. It was used for civic purposes until the Navy occupied it during the war years. When peace returned, the building was used as office space by the Museum and Art Galleries Board.
The building was so severely damaged by Cyclone Tracy in 1974 that it was not rebuilt. The remains were stabilised in 1980 since when the ruins have been developed as a public open space and visual arts performance venue. Conservation works are effected from time to time.
The original building was a simple rectangular plan constructed of local stone with a corrugated galvanised iron roof. The building incorporated space for the Council and the Palmerston Institute, with its reading room and library. It was constructed of local stone and enough cypress pine from Indian Island to timber the floor and a roof, according to the contractors.
While its original heritage significance is as a grand public building, it has attracted a second – and, some would argue, more important – layer of significance as a testament to the might and fury of Cyclone Tracy.
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