The Colonial Gothic building was erected in 1842 and became the official Court and Watch House for Clarence Plains. Clarence Council took charge of the building from November 1860, when it functioned as the Municipal Chambers until 1929, and the Police Station from 1860 until 1930 when a new Police Station was built next door. Two holding cells are still positioned adjacent to the main building.
From 1930 the building assumed a new role as the local library and remained so until 1960 when a new, purpose built library was opened further along Cambridge Road. At times it was also occupied by the CIB and Social Welfare until it became a Centre for Arts and Crafts in 1975 following the Tasman Bridge disaster.
The City of Clarence owns and maintains this colonial building and those who use it appreciate its significance.
A CENTRE FOR THE ARTS
Encouraged by well-known identities in the arts and politics and hastened by the rift caused by the Tasman Bridge collapse in 1975, many activities were established at the Bellerive Community Arts Centre, including needlework, embroidery, painting, drawing, spinning and weaving, photography, pottery, carpentry, exercise, jazz ballet and a crèche.
Support and Grants came from various sources and a Community Arts Officer was appointed. Exhibitions were frequent.
Today the centre also houses the office of the Bellerive Historical Society and other groups including Printmaking, Bonsai and Writers’ groups, which enjoy the facilities.
Some members have been active participants at the Centre since its inception. Major workshops and residencies over the years are recalled with great affection. They include quilt projects, the art of the written word, a silk extravaganza, connections with Chilean and Japanese artists, the environment, a gauntlet project and beautiful lead-lighting and stained glass windows that are admired daily