Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

 

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4640000/premier-announces-which-departments-are-coming-to-ballarat/

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

 

 

 

 

New Era for Civic Hall

Stage One has at last begun at the Civic Hall, with cleaning and repairs to the facade, and tenders out for landscaping of the entrance and west sides, and new mood lighting to be installed soon. The new CEO, Justine Linley, also appears supportive of simple, commonsense resolution of the 14 years of inaction. As the community has asked for since closure in 2002.

Checks for the new work has confirmed that the building is in excellent condition, with no major structural or other problems.

All of this creates great hope for a positive future for the Hall. A new Council has just been elected, and it is  led by a Mayor who has always strongly supported the retention and reopening of the Civic Hall as a jewell in the crown of the CBD.

Many of the new Councillors have declared their support for retention and reopening of the Civic Hall, and the new Mayor, Cr Samantha McIntosh has been its champion for years, inspired by what was achieved at Heidelberg Town Hall.

WIN TV interviewed some members of Save Civic Hall for tonight’s News.

Civic Hall 60th Anniversary

The Civic Hall 60th Celebrations unfortunately could not be held inside the grand old hall as repairs are to start soon. However, luckily the rain held off while we followed Beaufort Brass Band from the Town Hall to the front of the Civic Hall where two Mayors addressed the crowd.

Beaufort Brass Band with additional members from Ballarat & Creswick bands lead the march from the Town Hall to the Civic Hall.
Beaufort Brass Band with additional members from Ballarat & Creswick bands led the march from the Town Hall to the Civic Hall.

Town Criers march

 

 

 

 

 

On the steps of the Civic Hall The 1956 Mayor Nathaniel Callow (alias Hedley Thomson) delivered the original, now poignant speech, and today’s Mayor Des Hudson responded, similarly predicting a fine future for the Civic Hall. He acknowledged the role Save Civic Hall played in saving the Hall from demolition. Ballarat’s Town Crier, Brian Whykes, played an important role throughout the day, calling people to order – his voice has hardly lost a decibel over the years! Brian hosted the World Championship of Town Criers at the Civic Hall in 1995, and has been 5 times World Champion.

1956 Mayor Nathaniel Callow (Hedley Thomson), watched by 2016 Mayor Des Hudson, to his left, and Town Crier Brian Whykes on right, and other members of the Australasian Guild of Town Criers.
1956 Mayor Nathaniel Callow (Hedley Thomson) watched by 2016 Mayor Des Hudson and Town Crier Brian Whykes  & members of the Australasian Guild of Town Criers.
Beaufort Brass Band performed items played at the original opening – and we all stood up for “God Save the Queen”. That was strangely moving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Trades Hall a number of performers and speakers informed and entertained.  Ballarat Ukulele Kollective started the afternoon, followed by historian Anne Beggs-Sunter. Brett Edgington, Trades Hall Secretary, showed his fine talent for off-the-cuff, stirring delivery. He was a technician at the Civic Hall and spoke of setting up for groups such as Circus Oz, and how the Hall was still needed today

Boat Chorus improvised on the history of the Civic Hall, a talk by historian Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter.
Boat Chorus improvised on the history of the Civic Hall, a talk by historian Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter.
Brett Edgington, Trades Hall Secretary, spoke passionately and eloquently, warning that we easily lose public spaces such as parks and halls if we are not vigilant.
Brett Edgington, Trades Hall Secretary, spoke passionately and eloquently, warning that we easily lose public spaces such as parks and halls if we are not vigilant.

 

 

The Funky Turtles is a Recreation & Social Support Program for young adults with a disability living in Ballarat. It is under the auspices of Pinarc Support Services,
The Funky Turtles is a Recreation & Social Support Program for young adults with a disability living in Ballarat. It is under the auspices of Pinarc Support Services.

 

"Mayor Callow" cuts the cake, assisted by Ballarat Ukulele Kollective members, Vicki Maree Barnett & Gary Mann, and watched by Koby Bunny (who also live-streamed much of the event.)
“Mayor Callow” cuts the cake, assisted by Ballarat Ukulele Kollective members, Vicki Maree Barnett & Gary Mann, and watched by Koby Bunny (who also live-streamed much of the event.)

At the Trades Hall a number of performers and speakers informed and entertained.  Ballarat Ukulele Kollective started the afternoon, followed by historian Anne Beggs-Sunter. Brett Edgington, Trades Hall Secretary, showed his fine talent for off-the-cuff, stirring delivery. He was a technician at the Civic Hall and spoke of setting up for groups such as Circus Oz, and how the Hall was still needed today

It was a great afternoon. Save Civic Hall thanks all who came, and all those who spoke and performed. We look forward to the next major celebration being INSIDE a restored and fully functioning Civic Hall!!

 

NO DEMOLITION OF THE LOWER HALL!

civic hall

MAKEOVER NOT TAKEOVER

At a Council meeting of April 27 2016,  councilors  voted to adopt the Civic Hall Masterplan, which includes the complete take over of the main hall by the library and the demolition of most of the Lower Hall.  Thank you  to those Councillors who voted against the recommendations and saw the folly in this plan.  The Masterplan only became available for public viewing on the previous Friday before the Wednesday meeting and was only available on the Council website in the form of an agenda item.  This was a long weekend so most of the community were unaware of the Masterplan.

Save Civic Hall had requested the Heritage Advisor’s Report over 12 months prior to this meeting through Freedom of Information,  and this secret  document was released on the same day as the Council Meeting.   Secret …..because decisions were made without some councilors claiming they had no knowledge of this document.

The Council’s own Heritage Adviser Brian Benson, warned Council about proceeding with the demolition of any part of the structure claiming that the demolition application of 2014 was a complete RED HERRING and Council breached many of their Planning Scheme in regards to Heritage Overlays.  He also went on to say that the Civic Hall’s significance had been overlooked and it does not matter if the significance is of Local or State level it can not be ignored.  No engineer’s assessment  was ever commissioned to prepare an Engineer’s Report on the overall condition of the building which according to the Heritage Adviser’s report is in good solid condition despite its neglect.

According to the report there were many anomalies quoting breaches of the Council’s own planning laws that must be considered and therefore Mr Benson would not support the demolition of any structure on the site.   Save Civic Hall will not support the Masterplan and will certainly not support the demolition of any part of the structure as outlined in the heritage adviser’s report.  Nor will it support the loss of the stage and its side rooms and dress circle.  Costings for the demolition of most of the Lower Hall are not available to date.

A community asset of this significance should not  be hijacked in favour of commercial development  so therefore it is totally inappropriate to consider the part of full demolition of any part of the Civic Hall.

The only way forward is for mediation with the council and Save Civic Hall will be seeking  further consultation to secure a more suitable outcome for the Civic Hall.   Should the Council pursue the demolition of the Lower Hall we will be collecting further objections to the destruction of this integral part of the Civic Hall as commercial development can still be achieved without demolition.

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THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPENING OF THE CIVIC HALL 20TH AUGUST 2016

Plans are underway for a free community event on the 20th August to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the opening of the Civic Hall in 1956.  The opening coincided with the 1956 Olympic Games and rowing events took place on Lake Wendouree.  This year of 2016 the Rio Olympic Games will also take place.  Watch this space for all the details which will be finalised over the coming two months.  Help us celebrate this amazing milestone in the history of the Ballarat Civic Hall.   We Hope to see you there!!

Opening of the Ballarat Civic Hall 1956

 

Library to take over Civic Hall?

ch master
In shocking news, Council has revealed its preferred option – to demolish most of the Lower Hall, extending the nearby Library through, taking over the whole of the remaining building. This plan has never been put to the public before, despite the long, expensive “community participatory design process”.
On Wednesday 27 April Council votes on a motion to adopt one of 3 final options. For full details and plans, see Council’s Agenda on www.ballarat.vic.gov.au

You can ask questions without notice, and also make a 3-5 minute submission (ring Council 5320 5500 before 4.30pm to book in.)

Council’s 3 choices are:
  • Option 1 retains the Civic Hall as a multi-purpose space for festivals, events, bands, balls, exhibitions etc. This is the only one to retain the west side park.
  • Option 2 sells off the current Library to developers, and  the Library takes over the Civic Hall with an additional building to the west.
  • In the preferred Option 3 the current Library is linked to the Civic Hall through a demolished Lower Hall.  The Civic Hall  foyer is blocked off for other uses, and the stage, dressing rooms and fly tower are all gone, leaving only the centre part of the main space as a massive reading room.
In the Agenda there’s a very fanciful image  showing the main hall with people in lounge chairs looking through what was the stage to the new entrance building. Can you imagine the cost of heating this huge space on a daily basis?
The public clearly said in so many of the 3,000+ submissions opposing demolition that they wanted the Civic Hall re-opened and re-used for the purpose it was designed. It still is the region’s only large flat-floored venue. It’s unique and would not take a lot of work to repair and improve further.
With Ballarat’s increasing population, we will need more large venues like this.
Option 3 is a mishmash of incoherent ideas. Of course the Library needs to expand, but into appropriate, purpose-built spaces. It’s especially unsuitable to put it into the cavernous spaces of the main hall.
There’s a suggestion that what’s left of the main space could be used for events.  Even if you could clear the lounges etc, what’s left of the main space has no stage, dressing rooms or other performance facilities. Making it quite unsuitable for anything much.
Hard to see this as anything other than a cynical exercise in ticking off on “community use” to put the Library into the Civic Hall.
The community deserves better!
ch master 2

Ballarat Arts Alive concern for Civic Hall

Ballarat Arts Alive is the key body representing artists and arts people of Ballarat and district.

Today it released a BAA open letter Civic Hall concerns. This expresses its opposition to recent proposals which would seriously impact on future usage and viability of the Civic Hall.

The latest plans include immediate blocking off the stage and dressing rooms, green rooms etc, irreversibly changing the foyer by adding a kitchen and pseudo Art Deco spiral staircase, and dividing the balcony in to four sections to make tiny theatrettes.

Major professional arts organisations have also expressed concern for these aspects.

Ballarat Arts Alive has found no support in the general or arts community for the above changes, which would also seriously impact on the integrity of the 1956 architecture.

Read all about it!

 

DEMOLITION IS DEAD…THE APPLICATION LAPSES..WORK STARTS

 

Calling for information on films that were shown at Civic Hall

Cinema and Theatre Historical Society: (CATHS)

cinema

We do know that movies were shown in the Civic Hall and Earl Martell from CATHS  is keen to add the Civic Hall into their records and is seeking information.  The Harvey Mangles films were identified but there must be many more as I have heard people in the community say that they do remember seeing films there.  If you can remember titles of these films please contact me at buchananjudith@yahoo.com or phone 53356290.  I  would also like to update our events list with further details so please contact us first and we will forward your information to Earl.

They have a very nice website…check it out!

http://www.caths.org.au/

WIN NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT 17TH SEPTEMBER 2015:

DEMOLITION IS DEAD!

It was announced on WIN NEWS last week that maintenance and repair works will commence on the Main Auditorium in November or December.  This news was exciting and a real breakthrough in the fight to save the Ballarat Civic Hall.  it appears that the 5 concepts to be taken to the next phase of the Participatory Design Process all retain the main Hall so there is no reason to delay the necessary works.  The Demolition Application lapses in September so we can assume that DEMOLITION IS DEAD!

This is  due to the community sending a clear message that we will not allow our heritage to be desecrated and disrespected in such a destructive manner.  Thanks to you, the supporters, the future is looking brighter for the Ballarat Civic Hall!

STILL A LONG WAY TO GO:

As we near the end of Phase 2 of the process it is extremely important for people to view the current Design Charettes that are on view in the foyer of the Civic Hall.  These are little pictures of what the different elements of the designs might look like.  The concepts will reduce from 10-5 in the coming weeks with a Transition Exhibition at the Civic Hall on 31st October where the 5 concepts of the 3rd Phase will be revealed.  

We would encourage people that are associated with theatre or performing arts to look at the designs and ask if their needs would be catered for.  Some of the designs lose the use of Lower Civic Hall to a Library extension.  There does not appear to be anywhere for the assembly of large groups of performing artists such as orchestras, choirs or large events or exhibitions.  The Flytower could be an air circulator  for the Library instead of what it was originally designed.  If you have an interest please call into Here Studio at the foyer and put your views across.

Hours:                            Tuesday       9-5pm

                                          Thursday     12-7pm

                                          1st Saturday morning in the month 10-1pm (next is 3rd Oct)

CIVIC HALL STORIES:

Local Student Liana Skewes is currently undertaking an oral history of Civic Hall Stories on Thursdays at The Foyer of the Civic Hall.  She has been recruited as an Intern and this project forms part of her History course.  This will be a valuable rescource for future generations to tell the incredible story of the Civic Hall and the people who used it.  Anyone wishing to participate please contact the Consultants of Here Studio at the Foyer of the Civic Hall at the above hours or email: ailsa@theeditorialsuite.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound and Light Seminar at The Ballarat Art Gallery Annexe this coming Thursday

The Core Team at Civic Hall Site, 300 Mair Street, Ballarat, invite you and your friend or partner to our:

Seminar at the Art Gallery of Ballarat Annexe

‘SOUND + LIGHT’

Thursday, 10th September 2015, 5pm – 7pm

Join us in considering multi-purpose needs and possibilities for existing and potential venues and facilities at Civic Hall Site. Guest speakers will present, from different professional and technical perspectives, followed by a moderated panel discussion. The focus will be on ‘state of the art’ delivery for multi-purpose arts and entertainment venues: Both new and old – Clean slate and retrofitting.

We are tremendously excited to present the following expert speakers:

Rex Hardware, Lecturer, Live Production, Federation University Arts Academy
John Ford, Director & Lighting Designer, Relume Consulting
John Alekna,
 Acoustic Design, Marshall Day
Mike Hall, Director & AV Consultant, Rigoni Hall
Graeme Campbell
, Principal, Environmental Noise & Vibration, SLR

Even if ‘Sound + Light’ is not your personal area of interest, please feel free to tell your friends and family. We would not want anyone to miss out on this important learning opportunity. We have a lot at stake and we aim to get it right for everyone’s benefit.

Our established invitation to the people of Ballarat and all interested stakeholders is:

Dream big, get into it and let’s reinvent this whole site as truly ‘future-ready’!

 

PLEASE RSVP
http://www.civichallsite.org/upcoming_events

 

In the Breath of Ghosts…mysterious and beautiful! in the Civic Hall

“In the Breath of Ghosts” by Lisa Anderson

As part of the International Ballarat Foto Biennale there is a free exhibition in the main auditorium of the Civic Hall.  This weekend is the last chance to see this amazing exhibition which captures the essence of an abandoned large building with its interactive ghostly images and projections…truly strange and mysterious!

The first time since 2002 that the whole main auditorium  has been used for an event.  

Tours take place this weekend 5th & 6th September 2-6 pm no booking necessary.  

Tours are strictly limited to 8 people at a time.

These images were captured on a mobile phone…  see if you can spot the ghost!