Updated: Apr 24, 2020
The Riverina town of Leeton celebrates its claim as the
Art Deco capital of Australia. And why not?
Welcome to Leeton
The town was established early in the 20th century, much later than most regional towns, and flourished with the establishment and expansion of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme from 1919 onwards. Hot on the heels of their winning scheme for the nation’s capital, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin designed the layout of the town. Hence its earliest structures, including the concrete water towers built on top of the hill in the centre of the town’s principal avenue, also designed by Burly Griffin, public buildings and shops were built in the strongly geometrical, highly detailed and exuberant style of “Art Deco”.
“Art deco reflects confidence, vigor and optimism by using symbols of progress, speed and power.” Robert McGregor
So what is Art Deco anyway?
The Art Deco style spoke of optimism and faith for a positive future, and celebrated a brave new age. In Australia it became especially prominent after the early 1930s depression, with the rapid development of technology, the masses embracing the cinema industry, an increase in the number and demand for quality accommodation and the related increase in the importance of private transport.
Art Deco in the New England
We have beautiful examples of Art Deco architecture in our region. Tamworth's CH Hotel and Manufacturer's House, Tatt's hotel in Armidale and the newly renovated Civic Theatre in Scone.