You might remember some of our artists from the Studio2 Artist co-op, who started a little gallery and working studio in Flinders Street, Townsville in 2010. The gallery was a popular place with locals to view emerging artists work, and to buy lovely original handmade art and gifts, and attend classes.

After the rent became too expensive in 2013, the job of finding new premises was on!

In December 2013, Sue, (one of Studio2’s founders) and her husband Brett took a punt and bought the old Drill Hall in North Ward, and started the huge task of repairing and restoring the old place, with a vision to transform it from a termite eaten ruin, to a trendy gallery, sculpture garden, office and home. The process took over 18 months, and was a labour of love.  The Studio2 team even pitched in, helping remove 11,000 tacks from the lovely old Hoop pine floors.

The result ... Well you’ll have to come and see!

FAST FORWARD A CENTURY ...

WAY BACK IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS ...

The North Ward Defence Complex, development of which began in 1885, was constructed as a Volunteer Defence Training facility.  It was not until the discovery of gold in the 1850s that the need for a strong military presence in Australia was seen to be necessary. Gold shipments required protection within the country and shipments at sea needed protection from privateers.

 

In 1904 the Queensland Government Architect, Alfred Brady approved drawings for a new Drill Hall and Administrative Offices. The drawings indicate that the existing Staff Quarters, Stores, Office Building, Stables and Small Shed were to be retained, but the original Drill Hall was to be removed. The new Drill Hall was completed in 1905-06.  Aside from minor changes in 1908, the Building has remained largely unchanged since.

 

The building’s significance comes from more than a century of continuous Military occupation, and it’s role in recruitment for WWI. There are only two Colonial era Drill Halls remaining in Queensland now - the other being in Rockhampton.