History of Public Utilities in Bowral 2
On the 9th of July 1929 a public meeting was held in the Bowral Town Hall regarding the establishment of a district ambulance service. A provisional committee was appointed after it was decided that it was desirable to establish the service. A car lent by the Western Suburbs District Ambulance Service arrived in Bowral in September 1929 and was placed in a temporary station on the corner of Bowral and Boolwey Streets. In November 1929 a new ambulance car was bought. Land for a station was bought in Bong Bong St in 1932 and a building opened on the land in July 1933. In 1949 additions were made to the station. In March 1952 a new ambulance was delivered to the station.
In February 1958 a two-way radio service was introduced costing £1689 and proved very useful. In 1960 the ambulance fleet consisted of 4 vehicles, all which carried first aid equipment, oxygen apparatus and Freedman's Trilene for relieving pain.
A branch of the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney opened in Bowral in October 1877 with Thomas Graham as Manager. Business was carried out in a weatherboard house on the corner of Bong Bong and Merrigang Streets. In 1882 a new building for the bank was begun on this site and opened on the 3rd of March 1884.
The ES and A Bank opened a branch in November 1887. They then bought land in Bong Bong St (some of which the Commonwealth Bank is now situated) where a building was built and it was opened in May 1892. On the 5th of July 1892 City Bank began a branch in Bowral but was closed down in November 1896. In February 1900 the ES and A Bank transferred its business to Moss Vale.
On the 1st of September 1883 the post office provided Savings Bank facilities, which continued till 1912. The Government Savings Bank of New South Wales purchased the property owned by the ES and A Bank at the corner of Bong Bong and Wingecarribee Streets in 1912 for £1800. They made alterations to the building and opened for business on the 18th of November 1912. On the 15th of December 1931 the Government Savings Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia amalgamated and a branch of the latter organisation was opened there.
On the 22nd of August 1921 the Bank of New South Wales opened a branch. The building where it carried out business was demolished in 1938 but a new bank opened on the site on the 18th of September 1939.
In 1893 £500 was put on the estimates of the Bowral Municipal Council to make provision to erect a fire station and buy equipment. In June 1893 a committee was appointed to draw up plans for the building and a public meeting decided to form a fire brigade. The fire engine cost £281 and was christened "Pioneer" by Mrs W McCourt on the 9th of April 1894. Land was bought in Merrigang Street in May 1894 and the fire station was built at a cost of £82. This was used until a new station was opened on the 20th of November 1925. In June 1947 a new fire engine that could do 60 miles per hour was delivered.
In January 1882 a Brass Band was formed and is believed to be the first cultural organisation. The conductor was George Vincent and it had 16 members but it ceased in 1888 with a new band forming in 1889 that played in the streets on Christmas Day. This band continued until the Bowral Association Band was formed on the 19th of November 1894. GE Vincent, the son of the conductor in the first band, gave a great service to music in the Berrima District and was appointed bandmaster, which he did until his death in 1932.
In July 1887 the Bowral Philharmonic Society was formed and held many concerts including the cantatas Esther and the Haymaker in 1890. In August 1899 the Bowral Musical Society began and continued until March 1903.
On the 31st of October 1901 the Bowral Orchestral Society was inaugurated and staged a few concerts in its first year. A meeting was held in 1906 and the society was renamed the Bowral Town Orchestra which carried on for another year.
In 1920 the Bowral Choral Society was formed with their first appearance at a concert in the School of Arts on the 11th of May 1922. They then staged The Messiah in 1928. The Bowral Choral Society was very successful. In 1948 a dramatic group in connection with the organisation was formed and performed many plays. They have donated the proceeds of its concerts and plays to local charities.
In 1927 the Southern Highlands Male Voice Choir formed and consisted of singers from Mittagong and Bowral. It stopped functioning in 1933.
On the 26th of January 1901 the Bowral Musical Society produced the first Berrima District Eisteddfod. The society was able to donate £20 to the local hospital after two sessions were held. The Bowral Primary School Parents and Citizens Association organised an eisteddfod in 1944, which was very successful. It was aimed at juveniles and was to run for one day, it ended up going for four days and attracted both young people and adults to compete. Many visitors were attracted by the function with dancing, music, speech and arts of drama being encouraged. The Bowral Eisteddfod Society has conducted the eisteddfod since 1956.
Established in1894 the Bowral Amateur Art Society held many exhibitions from 1894 to 1895. It had 108 members in 1895.
On the 31st of October 1950 the Berrima District Art Society held its in augural meeting at the CWA rooms in Moss Vale. The society caters for artists right through the Berrima district although it is based in Moss Vale.
In October 1884 a Literary and Debating Society was formed but did not last long as in May 1886 another society held its inaugural debate.
In the 1970's a Mutual Improvement Society was established which formed the Bowral Reading Room Society with a building being built for its use. It was occasionally referred to as the School of Arts. The building became too small and in July 1882 a meeting was held in Chalker's Long Room that appointed a committee to collect funds. In April 1883 a news article said that a committee that had been appointed to act with the Mutual Improvement Society, who had control of the School of Arts building. They are calling those who had been members of the Bowral Reading Room Society that was constituted three years before at a meeting to decide what should be done with the School of Arts property. It was decided the Bowral Reading Room Society should occupy it. Bowral Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society superseded the Reading Room Society in 1881 and at a public meeting in April 1883 it was decided that the property was in the hands of the Mutual Improvement Society. Land for a new School of Arts building was bought in July 1883. Rev. S Howard had £130 and the Mutual Improvement Society had £20. At a meeting in August 1883 the total sum of £39/19/6 was but towards the new building. A tender for the School of Arts was accepted in June 1884 with the building being opened on the 23rd of July 1885. In 1913 additions were made and opened on the 14th of May. In 1925 the School of Arts was reported to be in the hands of wreckers but a new hall was opened on the 18th of February 1926.
In the 1930's the institution came into financial difficulties and in July 1938 at a referendum it was decided that Council would take it over. Discussions between the School of Arts committee and Council representatives took place and it was decided to convert the building into a Municipal Library as of the 1st of January 1947. After the reorganisation the library opened on the 16th of September 1947.
In 1945 Bowral's Children's Library was formed and was financed by the Protestant Churches and public donations. It had over 2000 books and over 300 borrowers in 1945.