Category Archives: News

A Celebration of Civic Hall’s 62nd Anniversary…Movie and After Party

An invitation to join us at a special movie fundraiser afternoon and party:

The 2018 Ballarat Heritage Award Winners Save Civic Hall  invite you to attend  this very special event to Celebrate the 62nd  Anniversary of the opening of the Civic Hall and everything that Save Civic Hall and the community have achieved over the years.  A new movie “The Book Club” will be screened at the Regent Theatre  Sunday August 26 at 4.30 pm to coincide with Jane Fonda’s visit to Australia to launch the premier of the movie. 

Following the movie  the party will continue at the George Hotel with a toast to the grand old lady and the cutting of a sensational celebratory cake.  Tickets are $18.  Tickets are selling fast so secure your tickets for this very special event.   

Phone :   Rod 0438930117 or Merle 0419324042


Ballarat Heritage Award for SCH

The years of hard work of the committee and supporters of Save Civic Hall were recognised last night when we received a National Trust Ballarat Heritage Award for Communicating, Promoting & Celebrating Heritage.

We were taken by surprise by the nomination and shortlisting. Our presentation to the judges included organisation of forums, exhibitions, fundraisers, celebrations, and gaining 2,000 objections to Council’s proposed demolition of the hall in 2013.

Currently the main section of the Civic Hall is at last being restored as a multi purpose venue, and should be open by the end of the year.

Save Civic Hall has indeed saved (most of) the hall. Read on for the not so good news …

SCH members with Mayor Samantha McIntosh at the Ballarat Heritage Awards 15 May 2018

And the bad news is ..

At a meeting earlier in the day Development Victoria confirmed that it has always intended to demolish the Lower Hall to build its “Gov Hub” adjacent to the Civic Hall. Even more shockingly, it will sell off the Gov Hub as soon as it is finished in 2020.
So Ballarat loses a much-needed 400-seat hall, and then loses the Gov Hub building to a developer! As at the heritage Ballarat Railway Station local amenities are being lost forever to create revenue for the State Government. Greed at its worst!

SCH at site inspection 15 May 2018

Save Civic Hall-Finalists in the 2018 Heritage Awards

Save Civic Hall group is so proud to announce that we are short listed as finalists for the 2018 Ballarat Heritage Awards in the category of Communicating, Promoting and Celebrating Heritage.

The nomination came unexpectedly from a member of the community and supporter of the retention of the Civic Hall.  We nominated in 2016 but did not make the short listing. So much has happened since then and the Civic Hall is now seen as an asset.

To be finalists in this prestigious award is great acknowledgement to the extensive work of our group members and to the many people in the community who supported us over the years.   Winners will be announced on Tuesday May 15, we certainly have our fingers crossed!


Voting is now open for Save Civic Hall in the 2018 Heritage Awards National Trust People’s Choice Award.

Please vote for Save Civic Hall in the People’s Choice here:


Thanks to all of our supporters for your continued support, the fight goes on to save the Lower Hall.

New look for Civic Hall

The Civic Hall Plaza gardens are approaching completion:

The landscaping of the Civic Hall Plaza is approaching completion although there is controversy over the finishing touches.  Does the red paint of the concrete edges fit with the colours used during the early post war period?  Does it respect the heritage of the era?  To help  you decide take the Civic Hall Precinct Walk compiled by member Barbara Cytowicz .

The Current Situation:

Council cancelled an event on January 27 that was to take place outside the Civic Hall to launch the Rockabilly Festival and showcase the gardens.  it was cited that the gardens were not ready for the event.  Delays are becoming  increasingly frustrating as the garden  works were due for completion in August 2017.

Restoration of the interior of the Main Hall has not yet commenced.  The future of the Lower Civic Hall remains in doubt with demolition a real possibility as the State government GOV HUB plans were revealed.  Save Civic Hall members have met with Council officers, Regional Development Victoria and the architects for the redevelopment of the Main Hall and the GOV HUB.   The outcomes are less than satisfactory with many concerns over the viability of the Civic Hall into the future if the proposed demolition and development plans are implemented.

The State Government intends to demolish the Lower Hall and erect a new building in its place.  John Wardle Architects claim that an engineers report has been carried out and the structure will withstand  the removal of the Lower Hall.  We have our doubts and have requested to see a copy of this report.  As yet nothing has been forthcoming.  We believe that it is unnecessary to demolish the whole of the Lower Hall.

A firewall is to be erected between the main hall and the new Lower Hall building.  We believe that this will completely separate the building and there will be no access to dressing rooms for the users of the Lower Hall building which will be managed by the GOV HUB.  There is no guarantee that this venue will be available to the community as it will no longer be a Council asset and community use will be up to the Government’s discretion.

The restoration of the main hall has yet to be commenced.  There are concerns over dressing rooms and a green room which  is to be built underneath the main stage with the only access to the stage being a small lift.  The proposed left is far too small to carry people and equipment and would need to be much larger.  Council officers agreed and promised to amend the plan to create a larger lift.

We are in the early part of 2018 and many have just returned from the summer break.  We are hopeful that we can secure another meeting with Council, Regional Development and the architects  to voice our concerns and try to negotiate further.


To be or not to be….VCAT is a consideration:

Save Civic Hall is exploring its options and hope that negotiations can continue to secure a good outcome for the community and the users of this amazing structure.  VCAT is an option that we are currently investigating as Council’s own Heritage Adviser  recommended that no part of the Civic Hall should be demolished as it is a significant historical building with a substantial social history that is important to the region.

What Year is this?:

We were delighted that  this poster has emerged.  There was some debate on our Facebook Page as to the year that the event took place.  Most said 1990’s.  It would be interesting to know for sure.  It could for part of a poster-art wall like the one on display at the Music Vault Exhibition…a free permanent exhibition space at the Arts Centre, Melbourne.

The Music Vault:

The Music Vault opened in December at the Arts Centre, Melbourne (next to the national Art Gallery) and is a free and permanent exhibition space.   It celebrates the history of Australian contemporary Pop and Rock music from the very early days of the 1950’s up to recent times.  There is so much to see and hear with  film footage , costumes of all your favourite performers, poster art and memorabilia.  The Amplifier is well worth a look with film footage of Countdown performances and The 1972 Sunbury Music Festival.  The exhibition portrays not only music history but celebrates the birth of the unique  Australian Identity and sound  through the development of Australia’s own recording industry that took the world by storm with performers  such as The Easybeats, INXS, Midnight Oil, The Divinyls, ACDC, The Angels,  Olivia Newton John,  Men at Work, Mental As Anything and so many more.

This exhibition also reflects the history of the  Ballarat Civic Hall as many of the performers who are portrayed in the exhibition performed in the very hall that we fought so hard to save.

 Save Civic Hall wishes you a belated Happy New Year  2018, and will continue to work towards the best outcome for our Civic Hall and the Community.








1950s Garden Party

It’s been a long, continuing slog over the Civic Hall, over so many years and we thought we deserved a little fun! So we are having a Garden Party at my old brewery in Buninyong on Sunday 5 November, 2 – 5pm. Grammar Saxophone Ensemble and Ballarat Ukulele Kollective duo are playing, and at the moment the garden is looking rather gorgeous.

As with the 61st Anniversary in August, this is a chance to again meet and thank our many supporters. It’s free, and there’s prizes for the best 1950s costumes. Our Mayor Samantha McIntosh has agreed to be the judge. Of course, there’s no obligation to dress up. Another prize will go to the best comment or recollection of the year 1956 – the year the Civic Hall was built.

If you’d like to contribute a plate to share, we’d be grateful, or just come! Tea, coffee etc will be provided. The Brewery is an indoor/outdoor venue, in case of poor weather.

Brewery courtyard in Spring

Poor Plans

The latest plans from the architects suggest that the Lower Hall will be demolished. This is clearly not a good scenario as the Lower Hall contains all the essential backstage facilities such as dressing rooms etc.
These plans would turn the Civic Hall into little more than a poor venue for meetings. It would be very hard, if not impossible to stage large-scale events – for which it was designed.
civic hall stage Two P 3

Celebrations for Civic Hall’s 61st Anniversary

61st Anniversary Celebratory Cake

Civic Hall Celebrates 61 years

Civic Hall Celebrated the  61st anniversary of her Grand Opening on August 20 with a Fundraiser movie ” Hampstead”  a delightful romantic comedy addressing some very relevant issues pertaining to Civic Hall and the campaign to save Civic Hall from being demolished and the crown  land given over to developers.  

We had a good turn out of people and met some new supporters who were passionate that the entire Civic Hall should be retained, restored and re-opened as soon as possible.  We sang Happy Birthday, raised a glass to the Grand Old Girl and devoured an amazing cake, but left the Lower Civic Hall portion intact…..symbolic of the overall community sentiment to save it.  

A big thank you to all those people who purchased tickets and supported this event.  We raised some much needed funds to continue our work to save Civic Hall.  

The opening of the Ballarat Civic Hall August 20 1956

Meeting with Council Officers, The Mayor and Architect, John Clark

On Wednesday August 23 ,representatives of Save Civic Hall and Ballarat Arts Alive met with CEO Justine Linley, Mayor Samantha McIntosh, Council Officers and John Clark, Architect of Baumgart Clark Architects. 

This was a very good opportunity to see the latest re-development plans and ask questions of the Council and Architect John Clark.  There were some serious flaws with the plans and people from Ballarat Arts Alive were able to point out what would and would not work with potential users.  

We were advised that experts in Theatre Design were about to be brought in to further develop the plan.  it was the first meeting and we were assured that there would be further opportunities to view any further plans and offer feedback.  

It was a very positive meeting, however there was still no assurance that the Lower Civic Hall would be included in any further plans, something that does not sit well with us and we will continue to lobby for its retention.

Lower Civic Hall Foyer

Public Meeting Tuesday September 5 , 2017

Everyone is encouraged to attend a free Public Meeting to discuss the future of the Civic Hall on Tuesday September 5 at Frangos & Sons Greek Restaurant, 313 Sturt St (next to Myer).  We hope to see you there to share any information and ideas.

Songways Music Mapping

Civic Hall is now featuring on Ballarat Historic Urban Landscape website, including the wonderful INXS poster for our Backspace exhibition in 2015.

Explore live music stories across Ballarat places and spaces …






Civic Hall Celebrates 61 years with a film night fundraiser


Help us Save the Lower Civic Hall from Demolition.

Film Fundraiser to save the Lower Civic Hall.

Save Civic Hall is having a Movie Fund Raiser on Sunday August 20 at 4.30pm to celebrate the 61st Anniversary of the opening of the Civic Hall on 20 August 1956.
Funds are needed to continue our work to lobby Local and State Governments to retain the entire building including the retention of the Lower Civic Hall for community events and performances now and into the future.

The Lower Civic Hall is vital to the overall viability of the Civic Hall as this is where all the necessary amenities are located for successful performances.  The Civic Hall was purpose built to cater for all the needs of the community and performances.  It is cleverly interlinked and is one building with two halls.  Although they can both hold events at the same time they are integrated and should never be separated as the building would be ruined should demolition of the Lower Civic Hall take place.

Any unused funds will go towards the development of a Civic Hall Foundation.
Come along and join in the fun at the Regent Cinema and later at the George Hotel for drinks and a cake. 

The movie is Hampstead, a delightful romantic drama/comedy that deals with issues of ageing and homelessness.

To purchase tickets:
Visit – Frank Ford Travel, 1209 Sturt St, Ballarat
or phone Merle 0419324042 or Brian 0447486719



Sausage Sizzle Fundraiser this Sunday August 6

Save Civic Hall is having a Sausage Sizzle fundraiser this Sunday August 6 at 10am-2pm outside of Coles Supermarket , Bakery Hill Shopping Complex, Victoria St, Ballarat East”/coles+supermarket+ballarat+east/data=!4m5!4m4!1m0!1m2!1m1!1s0x6ad145ab1df69b93:0x598974c5d736b7cc?sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-z__N67rVAhXIsJQKHUPgDLEQ9RcIfjAL

Please call past, say hello and buy a delicious Sausage and/or drink.  Tickets for the Film fundraiser will also be on sale.   




Petition to save Lower Hall

A new petition is out to show that Ballarat needs its Lower Hall. The architects of the current draft plans for the interior of the Civic Hall were told to leave out the Lower Hall, to allow for possible demolition to give more space for the proposed State Government offices. So they have had to suggest expensive adaptions to try to reproduce the functions of the Lower Hall within the remaining hall.

This creates unusable small ‘theatres’ on the stage and balcony that do not have the necessary backstage facilities, especially for large-scale performances. So the Civic Hall would have a much reduced capacity.

The Lower Hall seats around 400. It has its own stage and fly tower, snack bar and ticket. Its foyer and adjoining rooms could easily be used by the Library for meetings and training rooms.

It was always a popular space for local groups to hire – used for musicals, dances, speech nights etc. It would be pointless to demolish it.

Sign the Petition to Save the Lower Hall HERE

State Government plan for the Civic Hall Site

The South West Corner of The Civic Hall

$47.8 Million GvtHub office:

On Friday May 5 the State Govenment revealed to the Courier Newspaper their plan for the Civic Hall site.   According to the Media Release of May 4…

“The GovHub funded in the Victoria Budget 2017/2018, will be home up to 1000 government employees, including 600 new positions to the city, and will help revitalise a major part of the Ballarat CBD.  This brand new office will include employees across:

  • Dept of Education and Training,
  • Dept of Justice and Regulation
  • Dept of Economic Development, jobs, Transport & resources (DEDJTR)
  • Dept of Economics, Dept of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
  • State Revenue Office
  • Vic Roads,
  • Service Victoria.

The site will be developed in partnership with the Ballarat Council.”

The Courier dated May 5, revealed the State Government’s  artist’s impression of the new office building that is proposed for the site.

It raises more questions than answers!

Firstly this is an artist’s impression what are the specifications?

The drawing indicates that it  is a massive building …will it really fit on the site or is it a Pie In the Sky?

If it was to go on the site it will certainly dwarf the Civic Hall and it will surely not be sympathetic to the heritage of the Civic Hall and surrounding buildings in the Heritage Overlay 171 Lydiard St.

Lower Civic Hall To Be Demolished:

The State Government wishes to demolish the Lower Civic Hall to make way for their enormous office building.  This will severely impact on the viability of the remaining Main Hall as the features which make it functional will be destroyed such as, dressing rooms and Assembly area for performing groups and bands.  Save Civic Hall will advocate for the Lower Civic Hall to be incorporated into any development on the eastern side of the Civic Hall site.

The Civic Hall is one structure not two,  and it was cleverly designed by Architect and Mayor Les Coburn for both halls to be integrated as one and make use of the undulating land to maximize the use of the current site.  It is not appropriate to remove any part of the building as advised by Council’s own Heritage adviser Brian Benson.  To do so would compromise the integrity of the building.

Library Expansion:

If Council continue with the current Master plan, the Main Hall will be given over to the Library Expansion and the opportunity to host large events will be lost forever.   The Library can still expand but not into the Main Hall.

1000 Jobs:

Save Civic Hall supports jobs coming to Ballarat and we also do not object to appropriate development on the Civic Hall site.   The jobs that will come to Ballarat may not be long term as 500 are construction jobs which will eventually end as the project ends.  The government jobs are existing jobs and relocation for employees from Melbourne .  There is no evidence of any long term local  job creation.

350 Carparks

We can not deny that we need more parking in the CBD.   The Council have just re-made the car park on the eastern side of the Civic Hall.   According to the State Government’s artist impression of the proposed development an office will be build on it.  So the Council have wasted how much?

If the State Government were not allocating  the land at the Railway Station to Developers there could be more parking available on that site.  The car parks that are planned will be for the serviced apartments and not for commuters.

Civic Hall Plaza:

The Civic Hall Plaza development is well under way with the area fenced off and will be for some time.  We are disappointed that there are only three  of the original trees left on the south west corner, far more trees were removed than what we initially understood would be the case.  Also disappointing is the removal of the two Silver Birch trees that stood tall and proud outside of the entrance.  The works are expected to be completed by the end of the year.


The Civic Hall Plaza S.H.E.A Plan

The Courier Front Page  May 5, 2017