Historical information

From the Argus Newspaper of 10 May 1888: "OLD COLONISTS' ASSOCIATION OF BALLARAT. (FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.) BALLARAT, WEDNESDAY. This association, which was founded in August, 1883, and at first known as the Old Identities' Association, now has a roll of 450 members. The objects of the association are "to aid and assist indigent or suffering old colonists; to raise a fund, by the voluntary subscriptions of the members and the aid of outside donations, for the purpose of relieving members in sickness and old age ; for assisting those in extreme distress, to provide the shelter o a home for old and indigent pioneers of the gold fields, their widows, or anyone connected with the association, and in the event of the death of any member to have his remains decently buried, the association defraying the expenses of the funeral (providing that no funds or property are left by the deceased), and to attend the funeral if so desired by the relatives " The qualifications for member- ship are good character and repute, and residence in the colonies for a quarter of a century. For some time the association had no property except the regular subscriptions, but about a year ago they obtained from the Minister of Lands the grant of a very valuable block of land in Lydiard-street, the Crown grant of which they received last week. This block has a frontage of 66ft to Lydiard street, worth at least £100 a foot. The ground was given to the association as a site for them to build a hall upon, and with so valuable an asset they had no difficulty in borrowing at 7 per cent, enough money to construct a hall. For revenue purposes the ground floor of the building has been made into four shops, and the rental from these, judging from the rentals of shops in the vicinity, will not only pay all the interest on the borrowed money, but over £200 a year towards clearing off the principal. The officers of the association are Messrs J P Murray, president; J W Graham and T. Stoddart, vice presidents; D Fern, treasurer , and J Fraser, secretary. The Old Colonists' Hall is an elegant looking building in Lydiard-street, lying between the newly-opened mining exchange and the Commercial Club house, and a few doors north of the Post office. The style of the facade is classic. The lower portion of the front is constructed of Waurn Ponds stone, forming piers, and the upper portion of brick and cement, the background being tuckpointed. The centre bay is carried by two three quarter columns with Ionic cups, which support a pediment on which is set a cast of the Ballarat coat of arms. The four other bays are supported by pilasters with Corinthian caps mid partly fluted. The entrance is through a spacious circular headed doorway, the keystone of the arch of which bears a sculptured head, in marble, representing that of the president of the Old Colonists' Association here, Mr. John P Murray. An ample vestibule leads to a wide stone staircase which ends at a spacious landing. The landing has a dome over the centre, with cornice and enrichments, and is lighted from above. The walls round the landing are panelled with marble slabs, which are to be appropriately inscribed in the future. On the first door are the rooms appropriated to the association. The principal of these is a hall 44ft x 33ft and 17ft high. This room is well ventilated and lighted from the back of the building with large windows, and the walls are finished with Keene's cement. The other rooms are committee room, 14ft x 16ft; scretary's, 14ft x 17ft 6in; kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, &c. The front portion of the first floor is arranged so that it may be let for offices, or utilised for club purposes. Suitable provision has been made throughout tor lighting, ventilation, and means of egress. The architect for the edifice is Mr A. G Legge, of this city, and the contractors are Messrs. Whitelaw and Atkinson, Irving and Glover, Reynolds, and J Donaldson. The total cost of the building when completed, which will be in a few weeks, will be about £4,000."

Physical description

Colour photograph of a room with marble plaques on the wall. They relate to the Old Colonists' Association of Ballarat,