Monthly Archives: March 2016

2016…a milestone in the history of the Civic Hall


Save Civic Hall (SCH) is delighted that maintenance work has now begun on the Civic Hall. Since 2013, SCH has advocated for reopening the Civic Hall as Ballarat’s largest multi-purpose venue for flat floor events, such as festivals, balls, exhibitions and more.

On 9 December 2015, we applauded Council’s decision to abandon moves towards demolition, whilst opposing suggestions to make expensive, permanent alterations to the foyer, balcony and stage, which would seriously reduce its future viability. Despite these and other concerns with the process, we continued to encourage participation with the Here Studio-led studio in the foyer, until Council recently announced its cessation.

SCH thanks Here Studio for leading this process to its present state of two possible designs being offered for Council analysis, tweaking and decision. We hope Council will endeavour to have the Civic Hall repaired in time for its 60th Anniversary on 20 August 2016. Last year, SCH organised a small 59th celebration in the foyer with a cake adorned with a cartoon by The Courier’s Ditchy.

We also enjoyed a poem by a “ghost of past performers” and the Ballarat Ukulele Kollective. Imagine a grander re-opening of the main hall on 20 August this year with some of the original performers – Graeme Vendy and the Vibratones, and Trevor Gleason, as well as more contemporary local music, theatre and dance groups. That was how the original opening was celebrated. Let’s do it again and celebrate!

Merle Hathaway, Secretary, Save Civic Hall

This letter appeared in The Courier 16th March 2016


Where else could you see so many people dancing at any one time in Ballarat?  We need to save this amazing dance floor.   We don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone!

dancing at ch                                                      photo courtesy of Brendan Britt

Maintenance Work has commenced on the Civic Hall


Replacement of  broken windows:

Work has commenced on the Civic Hall.  On Thursday Glaziers were spotted replacing the windows of the western side of the Main Hall.  After so many years of neglect this is a large undertaking that will take time.   Save Civic Hall believes that this work shows a genuine commitment by Council prepare the hall for future use by the community.


The Participatory Design Process has officially concluded:

As reported in today’s Courier Saturday 5th March, The Participatory Design Process has officially concluded in the Foyer of the Civic Hall.   We thank Here Studio and their staff for collecting and synthesizing all the information and data relating to  people’s memories, views on the future uses and expectations of the Civic Hall.

Here Studio did a wonderful job during their consultation and occupation of the hall’s foyer, encouraging all members of  the community to visit and share their thoughts and opinions.  Some valuable information was collected and can be used in any further development of the hall.  Thanks must also go the the public of Ballarat and District for embracing the Community Consultation and sharing their memories and aspirations.

The final five concepts were developed  by Here Studio and presented to Council who in turn accompanied Here Studio to the  Victorian Design Review Panel  (Victorian Architect).  In the below report from VDRP it was suggested that the final 5 design concepts were not viable and made further  recommendations to further explore  the 5 concepts..  Council have now moved  to the final stage are in the process of developing one design.

Save Civic Hall members of the Partnership Group will continue in an advisory capacity to achieve an appropriate outcome for the future use of the Ballarat Civic hall.

The January 2016 report from the Victorian Design Review Panel:

60th Anniversary of the Opening of The Civic Hall…20th August 2016

We now turn our attention to the Civic Hall’s forth coming 60th Anniversary of its opening on 20th August 1956.   The keys were turned and the door was locked on the Alfred Hall (now occupied by Big W)on the very same day for the very last time.  From the Alfred Hall a procession marched up Mair Street to the new Civic Hall and the crowd was addressed by Mayor Callow who declared that the new  Civic Hall gives  the people of Ballarat “New Hope” following the dark and dismal days of World War 2.  A huge celebration with concerts followed the official opening.

It is hoped that the Civic Hall would re-open on the 20th August 2016 marking this monumental event.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a re-enactment of the procession up Mair Street to re-open the Civic Hall followed by celebrations and concerts?

Wouldn’t this be an amazing tribute to the forefathers of Ballarat?….. especially Herbert Leslie Coburn, former Councilor and Mayor of Ballarat 1945,  who was an Architect and Teacher of Architecture at the School of Mines.  He designed the Civic Hall but unfortunately died just prior to its official opening.

Opening of the Ballarat Civic Hall 1956