Historical information

The City of Ballarat unanimously resolved to erect a Civic Hall in Mair Street in 1951. The architects, Gordon Murphy, of Melbourne, and H.L. and L.J. Coburn, of Ballarat, were commissioned in 1952. The Council constructed the foundations and footings for the building under the supervision of the former City engineer, Mr L.H. Finch, in 1953. These footings are of massed concrete.

The design for the building took advantage of the cross fall of the land, providing for the Small Hall to be entered from the Doveton Street frontage through a foyer under the Main Stage, the structure is steel with brick panels, with accommodation for 1,592 persons in the Main Hall and 440 persons in the Lower Hall. The front facade faces Mair Street, set back from the building line to provide for the entrance drive-ways and kerbed gardens. Tenders were invited on a firm price basis.
A young Ballarat master Builter, Walter Benbow Trahar was the successful tenderer, the contract price being 139,841 pounds. the work was commenced in 1953 and has proceeded in spite of material and labour difficulties until its completion. The following statistics are of interest:-
* The foundations contained 200 cubic yards of concrete.
* The constructional steel work weighs approximately 270 tons.
* The reinforcing steel 47 tons.
* Reinforced concrete in the structure, 1,100 cubic yards.
* The approximate number of bricks in the building, 580,000.
* The flooring is of selected kiln-dried hard wood and totals 40,000 lineal feet.
* The dimensions of the Main Auditorium, 100ft by 86 ft, including the side promenades each 82ft by 13ft.
*The Main stage, of reinforced concret with parquette finish measures 62 ft by 40ft.
*The floor area of the Lower Hall is 74 ft by 38 ft, and has a stage dimensions of 40ft by 20 ft.
* Each hall has independent heating and ventillating systems.

Where possible the material in the building was furnished from local business houses. The public address installation, which provided for additional microphones, is on the main Stage. There is inter-communication throughout the building connecting the front office, with the bioscope box, the stages in both the large and lower halls, and the Hallkeeper's residence.
Local craftsmen have completed the painting, plaster work, and the electrical installation; local produced materials being used in the construction of the buildings with the exception of the timber for the Main Floor, the roofing and the structural steel.

The City of Ballarat Councillors in 1956 were Councillors N. T. Callow, F.J. Cutts, K.C. Webb, W.E. Roff, O.W. Curnow, F.T. Woodward, Allan C. Pittard, A.W. Nicholson, J.A. Chisholm, G.L. Scott, F.W. Oliver, A.D. Mason. The Town clerk was H.R. Maddern and the City Engineer was G. Murrowood.

A City of Ballarat Council meeting of 25 September 2013 voted to demolish the Ballarat Civic Hall. The Council heard from nearly 50 members of the public during a marathon six-hour meeting. Councilors John Birt, Des Hudson, Amy Johnson, Josh Morris, Peter Innes, John Philips supported the motion to demolish Civic Hall. Councillors Samantha McIntosh, Vicki Coltman and Belinda Coates voted against the motion.

Physical description

Six page souvenir Program of citizens' entertainment on the occasion of the Opening of Ballarat Civic Hall on in August 1956. The front cover features the City of Ballarat Coat of Arms.

The programme starts with a message from the Mayor, Cr Neil T. Carrow. It includes the Concert Programme directed by James H. Davey, an asrtist's impression of the Civic Hall from Mair Street, and information relative to the New Civic Hall.

The programme features images of the City of Ballarat Coat of Arms, Cr N.T. Callow, , James H, Davey, and an artist's impression of the Ballarat Civic Hall.

Inscriptions & markings

Mayor Neil Callow's Message:
"To-day, our citizens witness the fulfilment of the most extensive Municipal undertaking in the City's period of recent prosperity and development.
Their Hall now fills a requirement of which they have been deprived since the Coliseum building was destroyed by fire over 20 years ago. The building has been designed as an all purpose structure and I am hopeful the citizens will use it and enjoy it to its fullest extent.
Your Council and its Architects have planned as broadly as possible for the benefit of all to-day and for years to come. We are proud of the work executed by a Ballaarat Master Builder whose work is a monument to the City's craftsmen.
I feel I should also remind this assembly that the women of Ballaarat, back in 1951, provided funds which have been applied in the purchase of a Grand Piano and two Upright Pianos which are now installed in this building. The sincere hope of myself and your Councillors is that this Hall and its amenities will prove of immense value to the development of the cultural and artistic tastes of this community and that it will be freely used for these and many other purposes.
From now on this magnificent building and its furnishings and equipment will be available to all. I strongly exhort you to use and protect it. My hope is that the citizens will, for many years to come, enjoy the amenities which it has to offer.