The Conservatorium is the heart of the University of Newcastle’s musical community. Founded in 1952 by Frank Huchens and Harold Lobb, it was an offshoot of the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music.
‘The Con’ (as it is fondly known) started life as a crude army hut located in Civic Park. In 1957, it moved out of the hut and into the upper floor of the War Memorial Culture Centre (better known as Newcastle Region Library today). The occasion was marked by the Conservatorium Orchestra playing a song composed for the move by Frank Hutchens.
In 1979, the Conservatorium relocated once again, this time to TPI House on Auckland Street before finally moving into its current location which at the time was known as the People’s Palace to cater for the Con’s increasing student numbers.
1988 saw the construction of The Conservatorium’s concert hall completed – and named after Founding Principal Harold Lobb, as well as The Conservatorium becoming autonomous from the NSW Conservatorium. The Con became the Faculty of Music for the University of Newcastle the following year.
The Conservatorium offers classes not only to UON students, but to the whole Newcastle community, which are taught by expert teachers in a state-of-the-art facility. People can enrol in tuition for a particular instrument; or study conducting, composition and even music craftsmanship. The Conservatorium also offers people the chance to join a number of ensemble groups and choirs, or audition to perform as a solo artist as well as playing host to Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) exams.
If, perhaps, performing and producing music isn’t quite your thing, there is also an extensive range of concerts from many local, national and international artists that are held in the Harold Lobb Concert Hall.