Monthly Archives: February 2015

Clean Up Day at Ballarat Civic Hall this Sunday 1st March….Cake Anyone?

This Sunday 1st of March 2015 is Clean Up Australia Day and to celebrate we are going to clean up the Civic Hall Site.  Please bring your own gloves, afternoon tea, a drink and a chair to sit on in the park, rubbish bags are provided.   We can share this Save Civic Hall Celebration cake and an enjoy a chit chat…Alan who is a retired chef may even treat you to some of his famous scones.  The weather is predicted to be fine and cool…so come and join us and re-activate this site for the afternooon.

The event commences at 1.00pm.

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Please join us this Sunday 1st March at 1.00pm-4.00pm to clean up The Civic Hall site and then afterwards for a BYO afternoon tea and a chat in Civic Hall’s own  Pocket Park..please bring  your own gloves and a chair if desired.  Rubbish bags will be provided.

The weather forecast is showers clearing with an expected top temperature of 20 degrees so it should be rather pleasant in the afternoon….Hope to see you there!!



Today, Merle, Judith and Barbara had the pleasure of a private  viewing of some documents from the  Ballarat Crematorium before and after it was built and opened in 1958.  This remarkable building resembles the Civic Hall and was designed by HL Coburn who designed The Civic Hall.  The building as it is seen today has had some modifications, however originally it was adorned in some beautiful Art Deco features.  Some of the features are still visible.  We are hoping to be able to display some of the Crematorium design artworks and photos for the up coming exhibition at the Backspace Gallery in June 2015.

Surrounded by beautifully kept gardens, The Cemetery Trust, staff and maintenance crew have done Mr Coburn’s building the justice it deserves unlike the Civic Hall which has been the victim of a “Demolition By Neglect” mentality by successive councils.  Hopefully this trend can be reversed by the Community Design process to find a suitable design for the retention of The Civic Hall…but it relies on your input!!



The  Community Participatory Design Process is currently in progress in the foyer of the Civic Hall.  The future of the Civic Hall relies on participation by the community so if you have not visited the foyer yet, now might be a good time to do so as the consultants are nearing the 1st milestone in the process.  Multiple visits are also encouraged.

The opening hours of the Open Door Studio are as follows:








Last Friday 13th Febraury 2015 on Community Radio Voice Fm’s World Radio Program,  President of the Art Deco and Modernism Society Of Australia, Robin Grow announced that the Society has lodged a nomination for the Ballarat Civic Hall to be included on Victoria’s Heritage Register.

The Civic Hall was nominated once before in 2012 by Ballarat’s Heritage Watch but failed to be accepted for Heritage Listing citing that it had Local significance only.   Heritage Victoria recommended that it should be listed on the Ballarat City Council’s own listing in its Heritage Overlay as it had considerable Local Significance rather than State Significance.

Since then after considerably more research more evidence supporting its potential for State Significance  has been revealed.  The Ballarat Civic Hall was the first hall to be built in Victoria which broke away from the traditional concept of being attached to a council office and administration building which is of Architectural significance.  It was the first stand alone Multi-purpose Hall that occupied its own site and thus set a precedent for many other Civic Halls around Melbourne and other parts of the state.  The Art Deco and Modernism Society feel that The Civic Hall is a worthy candidate for Heritage Listing.

The date for the hearing has yet to be announced.  We will post more information as it becomes available.  Here is the Heritage Victoria Hearings link:

You might like to view the website for The Art Deco and Modernism Society of Australia and keep up to date with their news on their conservation work throughout Australia.



The Civic Hall will be the topic of a regular monthly segment on Community Radio 99.9 Voice Fm and will be on air again this Friday 19th February at around 11.10am.  The segment is presented by Alan Steinman as part of Community Voices.

Catch up on all the Civic Hall News and the program will feature interviews, information and the music of the Civic Hall Performers.

Tune in to 99.9 FM on your dial.  If you are not near a radio you can get  streaming on your computer by downloading the App and listen to 99.9 VoiceFM Community Radio anytime and catch the program.   Just copy and paste this link into your browser:


The future of the Civic Hall relies on you!  At the Open Door Studio in the foyer of  the Civic Hall,  the consultants are now entering the design phase of the process and need your feedback.

The Community Workshops took place two weeks ago and lots of ideas and concepts have been gathered and they will now begin to develop the designs.  Please keep calling in to the Civic Hall foyer to see the latest developments.  If you have not visited the foyer yet there are some great displays to view and the consultants are always happy to hear your views on the future of the Civic Hall.

You can sign up for the weekly newsletter at:



CIVIC HALL DESERVES THE RESPECT IT IS DUE!….Civic Hall features on Radio program!!

Civic Hall deserves the respect it is due
Opinion Piece in The Courier  Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015 – Page 16

I am appalled to learn of the Ballarat City Council’s interference with regard to the community design process of the Civic Hall site.  I was under the impression this process would be an unbiased and independent study of the community’s attitudes and ideas towards finding a suitable design and integration of the Civic Hall.  It seems that I am living under an illusion. How very disappointing.
The hall can only be viewed from its entrance behind a glass partition. This gives the visitor a clear message “keep out” .

Basic cleaning did not even take place before the opening day of the foyer back in October. Was this to make the hall look worse than it actually is? 

Designer Mr HL Coburn would turn over in his grave at the abhorrent lack of respect for his work.   In this city, Mr Coburn was an outstanding citizen, architect and Councillor for 14 years.  He was mayor between 1945-46,during World War II, a most challenging term of office .

The plans were set in place for the promised Civic Hall in the 1930s, but could not be built due to the war effort that sucked up every penny from the city’s coffers and its citizens in the way of war loans.

Things were so desperate that public health infrastructure projects could not be undertaken as the then government would not release funds due to the increased demand for money for the war effort.   The Ballarat North sewerage works could not commence even though there was expected to be an influx of evacuees from Melbourne and elsewhere and they would be housed at unsewered properties through no fault of the home owner.  Authorities were touting vegetarianism due to the increasing “fly blitz” at the abattoirs. Funds would not be released to buy a cooling room for meat.

The Civic Hall is not just bricks and mortar, it is testimony to the perseverance of a long-serving Councillor and a community emerging from the darkest days of war with hope for a new way forward.  How disrespectful of the Council to even consider the demolition of this building, designed by a former Councillor whose works are held in high esteem and considered exemplary in architectural circles. Let’s hope we can find a way forward and give this building and its designer’s reputation the chance it deserves to serve the community once more.

*World War II facts are from The Courier articles of 1942.

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Snapshots of Mayor Herbert Leslie Coburn (Les) from the 1945 Mayoral Report

World Radio Day- featuring Civic Hall

World Radio Day is this Friday 13th February 2015 and The Ballarat Civic Hall will be the topic of a three hour program presented by Alan Steinman on 99.9 VoiceFM Community Radio.

There will be interviews as well as music from the past performers of The Civic Hall will be played .  It will be a walk down memory lane with a stroll  into the 1950’s through to the 1990’s .  It is guaranteed to be topical and an informative update on issues surrounding The Civic Hall.  Tune into 99.9 Voice Fm on 9.00am this Friday…if you are not near a radio you can do streaming on your computer by downloading the app…just copy and past the link below.


“Civic Hall- The People’s Hall “

Exhibition at the Backspace Gallery  4th -21st June 1015

Work on the exhibition is progressing nicely with lots of interesting items emerging.  A visit to the Gold Museum unearthed some wonderful artifacts that will feature in the exhibition.  We are still sourcing material and would be interested in hearing from the public if they have some memorabilia such as posters, photos, costumes etc..that they would be willing to loan for the exhibition.  If you have any items please call

Merle Hathaway  0419 324042 / 03 5341 2751

Here is a sneak preview of some of the historical items and programs that will be on loan from the Gold Museum displayed at the exhibition:






Concerns over Civic Hall Community Design Process –

Media Release of 4th February 2015

The grass roots community group, Save Civic Hall, has been quiet for some time, but things might be changing!

Since February last year members of the group have met regularly with City of Ballarat CEO, Mr Anthony Schinck and by September he had agreed in writing to specific actions to resolve the stalemate.

In return Save Civic Hall agreed to fully support Council’s new community design process, which should once and for all establish the future of the hall and the entire site.

Save Civic Hall is now frustrated by Council’s lack of action agreed to by the CEO and the apparent blocking of the process.

In November 2014 the Open Door Studio was opened by the Mayor in the refurbished foyer of the Civic Hall, with Here Studio appointed by Council to lead the process.

By November 2015 three final concepts are to be developed through community participation, assisted by Here Studio’s core team of artists, architects and other experts. Councillors then will vote on the final design. A special celebratory event is supposed to be held in the Hall to mark each stage of the process.

In its meetings with the CEO, Save Civic Hall was assured that the process would be held at “arms length” from Council, with no interference, and that the hall would be cleaned, with basic repairs. Council was to produce a dedicated edition of “My Ballarat” to ensure that the Ballarat community understood the process and was encouraged to participate. Mr Schinck also stated many times that he would like the hall open to the public as soon as possible. Then community and other activities could take place there as required.

The first sign that all was not going to plan was at the launch of the Open Door Studio when Council failed even to wash, let alone repair, the entrance steps or collect broken glass and other debris in the area to ensure safe public access.

The main hall still has not been vacuumed and is now sealed off with permanent glass walls. Council wants the community to believe that this building is beyond repair though several expert reports commissioned by Council show this is not true.

SCH is also concerned at what appears to be blocking of the Open Door process by Council officers. The occupancy permit of the foyer has now been changed to “office


use” with a limit of 10 people! And Here Studio’s ability to appoint the local artists and other experts required has been thwarted by Council’s insistence that the process go through them. Local artists have been discouraged from applying by a lengthy process and necessity for expensive private professional indemnity insurance.

A Partnership Group was formed to support the process, with representation from Councillors, Committee for Ballarat, Save Civic Hall and Here Studio. To date this group has also been unable to resolve these issues.

There appears to be no will or direction from this Council to ensure the success of this process by informing the community or presenting the Hall in its best possible light. Cynics may suggest that this is far from accidental and that in some circles the decision on the future of the Civic Hall has already been made.



On a lighter note we had a great day at Masters Home improvement Centre  at Wendouree.  The snags were hot and the drinks were cold…just right for the hot weather.  A big thank you to the Masters staff who made us very welcome and to the shoppers who supported us.  It was encouraging to meet lots of new supporters of The Civic Hall .  We managed to raise some much needed funds to continue our campaign to Save Ballarat Civic Hall!  Thank you to everyone who helped out and made the day a success!!



The Save Civic Hall Sausage Sizzle


The big boys cooking up the big snags….mmmm  delicious!!!!


This Friday celebrates World Radio Day and presenter Alan Steinman from 99.9 Voice FM Community Radio will be dedicating his 3 hour program to The Civic Hall.  Our own Judith Buchanan will be joining him for the full 3 hours discussing  the Performers of The Civic Hall and playing lots of music from those artists.  Also joining them will be other guests discussing the current  issues surrounding the Civic Hall.  The  Architectural and Historical significance of the Civic Hall will also be a hot topic up for discussion by guests who are experts in their field .

Tune in to 99.9 FM on your dial at 9.00am until Noon…if you are not near a radio you can get  streaming on your computer by downloading the App and listen to 99.9 VoiceFM Community Radio anytime and catch the program.   Just copy and paste this link into your browser:


The Community Design Process is continuing in the Foyer of the Civic Hall and the outcome relies on your participation…so if you haven’t visited the Open Door Studio yet please visit and put your ideas forward.  The first phase of the process will end soon and it is vital that all your ideas are gathered for the actual design phase of the process.  Multiple visits are quite acceptable.  If you have not been there yet, please make the effort as it is well worth seeing all the memorabilia that is on show and Ammon, Michelle and the team would love to talk to you.   The future of the Civic Hall relies on YOU!

You can sign up for a free weekly newsletter at :  or call into the Foyer and pick up a hard copy.

The Open Door Studio hours of business are as follows:




I am pleased to announce that The Art Deco Walks will be on offer again at this years  Heritage Weekend on the 9th and 10th of May 2015.  The walks will be led by Robin Grow, the president of The Art Deco and Modernism Society of Australia.  The Art Deco Walks were extremely popular last year and are back by popular demand.  More details will become available as the organisers prepare the program for 2015.

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The 2014 Art Deco Walks commenced at the Civic Hall


Did you know that as well as the Civic Hall, architect  Herbert Leslie Coburn designed many exquisite Art Deco buildings around Ballarat and throughout Victoria?   He was also a long standing councillor of 14 years and was Mayor in 1945/46 during World War 2.