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City of Ballarat Community Magazine July 2011
The Changing Face
of Mair Street
As far back as 1857, the land the Civic Hall now sits on was home to a hay
market, and in the years since—amongst many other things—it has been
used for stockyards, a corn exchange, a council depot and accommodated
machinery, fuel and wood merchants, a tyre depot and a ser vice station.
The diverse uses of the site over many decades reflects broader developments
in the city’s economic, social, cultural or political life, including a number of
evolutions to adapt to growth or technological change.
Council believes it is time for the site to be transformed once again to meet
the needs of a growing 21st century city which is the economic and social
heart of the region.
Returning Town Hall to Residents
The ground floor of Ballarat’s historic Town Hall will be refurbished and
handed over to community use, as an important part of Council relocating
to 300 Mair St.
Potential uses of the ground floor of the Town Hall include: a community space
or cultural hub which could be used for functions, conferences, exhibitions
or performances; a new Youth Head Quarters; or a tourist information/
accommodation booking ser vice.
Identifying appropriate community uses for the Town Hall will involve the
development of a future use strategy supported by an expression of interest
process to identify prospective tenants.
All re-use options will be governed by the heritage status of the building and
Council’s intention to continue the use of the first floor for civic purposes.
Restoring an Architectural Gem
Major works to restore the historic A Hall to its former glory for public use
is an important feature of plans to return the Town Hall to the Ballarat
A magnificent space on the building’s first floor, A Hall was used over many
decades as a venue for civic ceremonies, dances and religious ser vices.
During World War I, it was used by the Red Cross for charitable work and in
later years as a venue for school exams.
In the past decade, A Hall has only been infrequently used by the public.
However, as the expansive space connects via timber doors to two large
adjoining rooms, restoration of the hall would create a beautiful civic space
that could accommodate large functions.
The Ballarat Town Hall holds a prestigious National Trust of Australia and
Victorian Heritage Register heritage listings.
Celebrating Memories of Civic Hall
Although Heritage Victoria found that the built form of the Civic Hall does
not meet any of its required criteria to merit listing on the State Heritage
register, the 300 Mair St project pays tribute to the community’s memories
of Civic Hall.
The social and cultural aspects of the Civic Hall building will be recognised
in the development through the re-use of bricks, timber floorboards, the
statues and plaques.
The building footprint of the Civic Hall will be mapped out on site re-using
the original bricks and recycled bricks will be used as an inlay in pathways
and walkways throughout the site to move people through the new building,
the public realm and through to the librar y.
The statues from the front of the old building will be used in a sculpture walk
in the public areas on the site. The plaques will also be used in this space.
The timber floorboards will be recycled and re-used extensively in the new
building as feature banners or panels and will be a striking key feature
welcoming visitors into the building.
Above and Right: The famed Lucas Girls are one of many, many community
groups who have enjoyed functions at the historic Town Hall. The majestic
A Hall will be restored and returned to community use as part of the 300
Mair St project.
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