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ASSESSMENT OF CULTURAL
HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE AND
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
RECOMMENDATION TO THE
HERITAGE COUNCIL
NAME
LOCATION
HERITAGE OVERLAY NO:
FILE NUMBER:
HERMES NUMBER:
CIVIC HALL
300-304 MAIR STREET, BALLARAT
CITY OF BALLARAT, included in HO171 (Lydiard Street Precinct) but not
individually listed
FOL/15/6632
22591
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RECOMMENDATION TO THE HERITAGE COUNCIL:
 That the Ballarat Civic Hall NOT be included in the Victorian Heritage Register under Section 32
(1)(b) of the Heritage Act 1995.
 The Heritage Council may wish to consider exercising its powers under s.42(1)(d)(i) of the
Heritage Act 1995 and refer this recommendation to the City of Ballarat for consideration for
an amendment to the planning scheme by an individual listing of this place in the local Heritage
Overlay.
 The Heritage Council may wish to consider exercising its powers under s.42(1)(d)(ii) of the
Heritage Act 1995 and determine that it is more appropriate for steps to be taken under the
Planning and Environment Act 1987 or by any other means to protect or conserve the place.
TIM SMITH
Executive Director
Recommendation Date: 16 September 2016
This Recommendation Report has been issued by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria under s.32 of the
Heritage Act 1995. It has not been considered or endorsed by the Heritage Council of Victoria.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 1
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RESPONSE SUMMARY
Nomination and recommendation
On 2 February 2015 the Executive Director accepted a nomination for the Ballarat Civic Hall. In 2016
Heritage Victoria assessed the cultural heritage significance of this place. It is the view of the Executive
Director that the Ballarat Civic Hall should not be included in the Victorian Heritage Register. It does not
satisfy any of the Heritage Council’s criteria at a state level of cultural heritage significance. The reasons for
the Executive Director’s decision are outlined in this report.
Potential local level significance
It is the view of the Executive Director that the information presented in this report and the attached
documents demonstrate that the Ballarat Civic Hall is of potential individual local significance, rather than
state level significance. The Heritage Council may wish to consider:
 exercising its powers under s.42 (1)(d)(i) of the Heritage Act 1995 and refer this recommendation to
the City of Ballarat for consideration for an amendment to the planning scheme by an individual
listing of this place in the local Heritage Overlay.
 exercising its powers under s.42 (1)(d)(ii) of the Heritage Act 1995 and determine that it is more
appropriate for steps to be taken under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 or by any other
means to protect or conserve the place.
Previous Heritage Council Determination (26 May 2011)
The Executive Director notes that the Heritage Council of Victoria determined on 26 May 2011 not to
include the Ballarat Civic Hall in the Victorian Heritage Register after a hearing was held on this matter on 15
April 2011. See attached ‘Decision of the Heritage Council Concerning Ballarat Civic Hall’, Heritage Council
Registrations Committee, May 2016. At that time, the Heritage Council referred the recommendation and
hearing submissions to the City of Ballarat for consideration for an amendment to the Ballarat Planning
Scheme. The place is now included in HO171 (the Lydiard Street Precinct) but not individually listed.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 2
RECOMMENDATION REASONS
REASONS FOR NOT RECOMMENDING INCLUSION IN THE VICTORIAN HERITAGE REGISTER [s.34A(2)]
Following is the Executive Director's assessment of the place against the tests set out in The Victorian
Heritage Register Criteria and Thresholds Guidelines (2014).
CRITERION A
Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural history.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION A
The place/object has a CLEAR ASSOCIATION with an event, phase, period, process, function, movement,
custom or way of life in Victoria’s cultural history.
Plus
The association of the place/object to the event, phase, etc IS EVIDENT in the physical fabric of the
place/object and/or in documentary resources or oral history.
Plus
The EVENT, PHASE, etc is of HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE, having made a strong or influential contribution to
Victoria.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall has an association with the post-war development of regional centres in Victoria and
this association is evident in both the physical fabric of the place and in documentary sources. This phase of
post-war development made a strong contribution to Victoria’s cultural history.
Criterion A is likely to be satisfied.
STEP 2: A BASIC TEST FOR DETERMINING STATE LEVEL SIGNIFICANCE FOR CRITERION A
The place/object allows the clear association with the event, phase etc. of historical importance to be
UNDERSTOOD BETTER THAN MOST OTHER PLACES OR OBJECTS IN VICTORIA WITH SUBSTANTIALLY THE
SAME ASSOCIATION.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall is one of many municipal buildings constructed in Victoria in the 1950s and 1960s
which illustrate the development of regional centres after World War II. The Ballarat Civic Hall does not
allow the clear association with this phase to be understood any better than a number of these places in
Victoria, including municipal buildings at Echuca (1952-53) and Sale (1951-60), neither of these places is in
the VHR.
Criterion A is not likely to be satisfied at the State level.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 3
CRITERION B
Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria’s cultural history.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION B
The place/object has a clear ASSOCIATION with an event, phase, period, process, function, movement,
custom or way of life of importance in Victoria’s cultural history.
Plus
The association of the place/object to the event, phase, etc IS EVIDENT in the physical fabric of the
place/object and/or in documentary resources or oral history.
Plus
The place/object is RARE OR UNCOMMON, being one of a small number of places/objects remaining that
demonstrates the important event, phase etc.
OR
The place/object is RARE OR UNCOMMON, containing unusual features of note that were not widely
replicated
OR
The existence of the class of place/object that demonstrates the important event, phase etc is
ENDANGERED to the point of rarity due to threats and pressures on such places/objects.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall does not possess uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria’s cultural history.
There are a substantial number of similar places that remain to demonstrate the development of regional
Victoria.
Criterion B is not likely to be satisfied.
CRITERION C
Potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Victoria’s cultural history.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION C
The:
 visible physical fabric; &/or
 documentary evidence; &/or
 oral history,
relating to the place/object indicates a likelihood that the place/object contains PHYSICAL EVIDENCE of
historical interest that is NOT CURRENTLY VISIBLE OR UNDERSTOOD.
Plus
From what we know of the place/object, the physical evidence is likely to be of an INTEGRITY and/or
CONDITION that it COULD YIELD INFORMATION through detailed investigation.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall does not have the potential to yield information that is not currently visible or
understood (such as archaeological information) that will contribute to an understanding of Victoria’s
cultural history.
Criterion C is not likely to be satisfied.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 4
CRITERION D
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION D
The place/object is one of a CLASS of places/objects that has a clear ASSOCIATION with an event, phase,
period, process, function, movement, important person(s), custom or way of life in Victoria’s history.
Plus
The EVENT, PHASE, etc is of HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE, having made a strong or influential contribution to
Victoria.
Plus
The principal characteristics of the class are EVIDENT in the physical fabric of the place/object.
Executive Director’s Response
Ballarat Civic Hall is one of a class of municipal buildings erected in the 1950s and 1960s which have an
association with the post-war development of regional centres in Victoria. This phase of post-war
development made a strong contribution to Victoria’s cultural history. Ballarat Civic Hall displays
characteristics typical of this class of place.
Criterion D is likely to be satisfied.
STEP 2: A BASIC TEST FOR DETERMINING STATE LEVEL SIGNIFICANCE FOR CRITERION D
The place/object is a NOTABLE EXAMPLE of the class in Victoria (refer to Reference Tool D).
Executive Director’s Response
Ballarat Civic Hall is not a notable example of this class of place in Victoria. It is one of a number of municipal
buildings from the 1950s and 1960s designed in a regressive Austere Modern/Stripped Classical style, not
dissimilar to inter-war town halls of the 1930s such as Heidelberg Town Hall (1936-37, VHR H2077),
Warracknabeal Town Hall (1939-40, VHR H2223) and the Horsham Town Hall (1939, VHR H2279). In contrast
a small number of municipal buildings in the 1950s and 1960s were designed in a highly progressive and
individual modern style including the Benalla Shire Offices (1958, VHR H2189) and the Former Brighton
Municipal Offices (1959-60, VHR H1292).
Ballarat Civic Hall is of interest, but not notable, as a stand-alone municipal building. This type did not
become a common civic building type and therefore the Ballarat Civic Hall was not an influential or pivotal
example of this class of place.
Criterion D is not likely to be satisfied at the State level.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 5
CRITERION E
Importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION E
The PHYSICAL FABRIC of the place/object clearly exhibits particular aesthetic characteristics.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall does not exhibit particular aesthetic characteristics as defined by Reference Tool E in
The Victorian Heritage Register Criteria and Thresholds Guidelines (2014).
CRITERION F
Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION F
The place/object contains PHYSICAL EVIDENCE that clearly demonstrates creative or technical
ACHIEVEMENT for the time in which it was created.
Plus
The physical evidence demonstrates a HIGH DEGREE OF INTEGRITY.
Executive Director’s Response
Criterion F is not likely to be satisfied.
CRITERION G
Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual
reasons. This includes the significance of a place to indigenous people as part of their continuing and
developing cultural traditions.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION G
Evidence exists of a DIRECT ASSOCIATION between the place/object and a PARTICULAR COMMUNITY OR
CULTURAL GROUP.
(For the purpose of these guidelines, ‘COMMUNITY or CULTURAL GROUP’ is defined as a sizable group of
persons who share a common and long-standing interest or identity).
Plus
The ASSOCIATION between the place/object and the community or cultural group is STRONG OR SPECIAL, as
evidenced by the regular or long-term use of/engagement with the place/object or the enduring
ceremonial, ritual, commemorative, spiritual or celebratory use of the place/object.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall has strong associations with the local community. Many events took place in the hall
after it was completed in 1956.
Criterion G is likely to be satisfied.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 6
STEP 2: A BASIC TEST FOR DETERMINING STATE LEVEL SIGNIFICANCE FOR CRITERION G
The place/object represents a PARTICULARLY STRONG EXAMPLE of the association between it and the
community or cultural group by reason of its RELATIONSHIP TO IMPORTANT HISTORICAL EVENTS in Victoria
and/or its ABILITY TO INTERPRET EXPERIENCES to the broader Victorian community.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall has had a wide variety of uses for almost half a century and at times attracted
regional and Melbourne audiences however the attachment to the place does not resonate beyond the
local community to the wider Victorian community.
Criterion G is not likely to be satisfied at the State level.
CRITERION H
Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria’s
history.
STEP 1: A BASIC TEST FOR SATISFYING CRITERION H
The place/object has a DIRECT ASSOCIATION with a person or group of persons who have made a strong or
influential CONTRIBUTION to the course of Victoria’s history.
Plus
The ASSOCIATION of the place/object to the person(s) IS EVIDENT in the physical fabric of the place/object
and/or in documentary resources and/or oral history.
Plus
The ASSOCIATION:
 directly relates to ACHIEVEMENTS of the person(s) at, or relating to, the place/object; or
 relates to an enduring and/or close INTERACTION between the person(s) and the place/object.
Executive Director’s Response
The Ballarat Civic Hall does not have special associations with the life or works of any person of importance
in Victoria’s history. The contributions of architects Herbert Coburn and Gordon Murphy could not be
considered strong or influential to the course of Victoria’s history.
Criterion H is not likely to be satisfied.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 7
ASSESSMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S ASSESSMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE [s.34A(2)(d)]
The Ballarat Civic Hall is a good and intact example of a municipal building but does not possess the
qualities, significance or rarity that would elevate the building to a threshold of State significance.
DESCRIPTION
The Ballarat Civic Hall is situated to the north of the town centre of Ballarat on a large site between Sturt
Street and the railway line. It is located one block from the Ballarat Town Hall in Sturt Street (VHR H0978,
1870).
The Ballarat Civic Hall is a large freestanding brick clad, steel framed building designed in an Austere
Modern/Stripped Classical style. The building comprises a number of irregularly placed large cubic masses
with plain rendered parapets and concealed roofs. It contains two main wings: a large main hall which runs
north-south and a smaller lower hall which runs east-west, underneath the stage of the larger hall. The main
hall is entered from Mair Street to the south and the lower hall from the west.
The main south façade of the building is symmetrically composed with the main central triple storey hall and
foyer section flanked by double storey wings. It has a central entrance with three sets of deeply recessed
doors, engraved granite commemorative panels between and a cantilevered canopy roof above. Three large
recessed window bays above the awning are multi-paned with medallions in the spandrels. The upper level
of the façade contains three small square openings within a rendered band and a metal sign ‘CIVIC HALL’ on
the parapet above. Bands of multi-paned windows line the sides of the main hall above later brick additions.
A tall fly tower and the lower hall dominate the northern end of the building.
The main entrance to the lower hall is located on the west side of the building. It comprises a wide bay with
doors at ground level (now boarded up) and a rendered section above with two horizontal strips of
windows. A metal sign ‘LOWER HALL’ is set below the parapet line. The rear of the building is of unadorned
brickwork with functionally placed windows and a large number of service pipes and vents.
The interior of the building comprises a large timber floored hall with supporting side columns, a rear
balcony with rows of seating, and a stage with angled reveals comprising rows of vertical fins. At the rear of
the balcony is a recently lined projection room with small openings to the auditorium. Lower and upper
foyers, which provide access to the main hall, are unadorned spaces with no decorative detail except for
simple wrought iron balustrading. The timber floored lower hall is a long, narrow space with a stage to the
east and a row of multi-paned windows along the south side. Both this hall and a long access foyer are
unadorned spaces.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 8
RELEVANT INFORMATION
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY
City of Ballarat
HERITAGE LISTING INFORMATION

Heritage Overlay:
Yes, included in Lydiard Street Precinct HO171 but
not individually listed

Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register:
No

Heritage Overlay Controls:
External Paint: Yes
Internal Alteration: No
Tree: Yes

Other listing:
No
HISTORY
[This history informed by Built Heritage Pty Ltd ‘Ballarat Civic Hall’ report prepared for Art Deco &
Modernism Society, Inc, December 2014]
Site History
The Ballarat Civic Hall stands on the former Haymarket Reserve which was selected as the site for a new hall
by Ballarat City Council in 1950. At the time a number of structures remained on this former market site,
including a Council store yard, office buildings along Mair Street, a service station at the corner of Mair and
Doveton Streets and two weighbridges. Several of these buildings remained on the large site for a period of
time after construction of the Civic Hall.
The Architects
The Ballarat Civic Hall was designed by Ballarat architect Herbert Coburn, in collaboration with Gordon
Murphy of the firm Cowper, Murphy & Appleford. The latter were well known for theatre and cinema
design in Victoria.
Herbert Coburn
Ballarat-born architect Herbert L Coburn (1892-1956) commenced his architectural career c1912 with
architect P S Richards, who had practised in Ballarat since the 1890s. That year Coburn also won the Royal
Victorian Institute of Architects Silver Medal for a drawing of a suburban church in the Gothic Revival style.
In 1919 the partnership of Richards, Coburn and Richards was formed with Coburn’s employer and
employer’s son. Active throughout much of western Victoria, the partnership designed such buildings as the
Presbyterian Church, Donald (1923), the vicarage of St John’s Church, Horsham (1925), the Whitehall Guest
House, Queenscliff (1927) and new buildings for the Schempp Textile Milles, Ballarat (1930). Coburn left the
partnership in 1932 to commence his own practice and subsequently undertook a substantial amount of
work in the western district of Victoria. His practice included designs for residential, commercial and
institutional buildings.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 9
Coburn was a Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Royal Victorian Institute of
Architects, taught at the Ballarat School of Mines from 1922 to 1948 and was a Ballarat city councillor from
1938 to 1952, including a term as Mayor in 1945-46.
Gordon Murphy
Horsham-born architect, Gordon Murphy (1889-1967) was a partner in the architectural firm of Cowper,
Murphy & Appleford, which was active from the early 1920s until the early 1960s. In the inter-war period
this firm became a leading exponent of modern cinema and theatre architecture in Victoria and their long
association with the Hoyts chain resulted in commissions across suburban Melbourne, regional Victoria and
interstate. This expertise was still sought in the post-war period until the late 1950s.
Cowper, Murphy & Appleford were engaged to rebuild the Regent Theatre after fire damage in 1943 and in
1947 they were commissioned to prepare a scheme for a civic hall in Ballarat (with A C Leith & Bartlett).
Drawings for the latter were prepared however the project was postponed.
History of Place
During the nineteenth century, the original town council building in Ballarat was a timber structure with
shingle roof erected in 1856 on the site of the present town hall in Sturt Street. After this building was
destroyed by fire in 1859, architect Charles Cuthbert won a competition for the design of a new town hall
and in 1868 a second competition was held for the construction of larger offices, incorporating Cuthbert’s
incomplete building. The completed town hall was opened in 1872, to designs by J J Lorenz (exterior), H R
Caselli (interior) and Percy Oakden who supervised construction. The town hall was enlarged and upgraded
over the following decades and in 1911 the local architectural firm of Clegg & Miller prepared a scheme to
create a performance space at the upper level. In 1924 these architects were engaged again to remodel the
municipal offices within the town hall. In 1932 Ballarat architect Herbert Coburn prepared plans for a new
civic centre which included a new town hall, municipal offices, council chambers and art gallery in a
landscaped setting. This project did not proceed however Coburn retained an association with the Ballarat
region.
Ballarat’s main venue for public gatherings was the timber Alfred Hall which was constructed in 1867. Forty
years later this was superseded by a new and grander performance venue, the Coliseum, built by the South
Street Society to host its annual competitions, however this was destroyed by fire in 1936. Attention turned
again to the provision of a new Council venue however it was decided to upgrade facilities at Alfred Hall and
this then became the city’s main public venue. A design for a new venue at the rear of the existing town hall
by architects Clegg and Morrow was considered in the late 1930s, however there was not unanimous
support for this scheme and others preferred a new civic centre, including a new hall, on a different site.
Another plan was tabled in 1939 for a building with an auditorium beside the town hall. The project was
abandoned due to the outbreak of World War II.
After World War II the project was revived in 1946 when Herbert Coburn became Mayor of Ballarat, with
the thought that construction could mark the centenary of the discovery of gold in Ballarat. In 1947 Ballarat
Council commissioned two leading Melbourne architectural firms to investigate the provision of a civic hall
on the town hall site. These firms were A C Leith & Bartlett, who had designed or upgraded many town halls
and municipal buildings in the 1930s and was best known for the Heidelberg Town Hall (1938), and Cowper,
Murphy & Appleford, a firm with expertise in the design of cinemas and theatres. Drawings were prepared
however the project was postponed again.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 10
In 1950 the present site in Mair Street was selected by Ballarat Council for construction of a civic hall to
include a main hall to seat about 1,500 and a smaller hall for 440. Local architect Herbert Coburn and
Gordon Murphy of Cowper, Murphy & Appleford were appointed as joint architects for this project in 1952
and the selected contractor was local builder Walter B Trahar. Construction commenced in c1953 and the
foundation stone was laid by the Governor-General Sir William Slim on 9 March 1955. The building was
officially opened on 20 August 1956 and it was recorded at the time that the hall ‘will be of immense value
to the development of the cultural and artistic tastes of this community, and also give full and free
enjoyment for many other purposes.’ The civic hall immediately became the venue for a range of
performances and other events. This included the South Street Competitions which transferred to this hall
in September 1956.
CONSTRUCTION DETAILS
Architect name: Herbert Coburn and Gordon Murphy
Architectural style name: Stripped Classical
Builder name: Walter B Trahar
Construction started date: 1953
Construction ended date: 1956
VICTORIAN HISTORICAL THEMES
06
Building towns, cities and the garden state
6.4
Making regional centres
09
Shaping cultural and creative life
9.2
Nurturing a vibrant arts scene
INTEGRITY/INTACTNESS
Intactness
The Ballarat Civic Hall has been subject to relatively few major changes.
External changes include:
 Installation of large bronze statues either side of the main entrance in 1960 and 1962
 Addition of a kitchen annexe to the west side of the hall in 1979
 Substantial upgrade works from 1995, including construction of a storeroom on the east side,
addition of a new fire exit to the rear, re-painting, re-upholstering and re-tiling
 Blocking of west entrance to lower hall.
Internal changes include:
 Addition of fireproof doors to lower foyer
 Construction of timber safety barriers in various locations throughout the building
 Relining of projection room area.
[July 2016]
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 11
Integrity
The heritage values of the Ballarat Civic Hall are still evident and the original design and use of the place can
be discerned. The building can be clearly viewed from all angles and any external changes to the fabric have
been minor. [July 2016]
CONDITION
The place is in reasonably good condition, despite recent vandalism to the interior which has resulted in
extensive graffiti throughout the building and damage to balcony seats. [July 2016]
COMPARISONS
Heritage Victoria assessed the Ballarat Civic Hall in 2011. The assessment report at that time included
stylistic comparison with several town halls and civic buildings constructed in Victoria during the mid to late
1930s, including the Heidelberg Town Hall (1936-37, VHR H2077), Warracknabeal Town Hall (1939-40, VHR
H2223) and the Horsham Town Hall (1939, VHR H2279). It was concluded that the Ballarat Civic Hall is
architecturally less refined than earlier examples and architectural thinking had moved in a different
direction by the time of construction of the Ballarat Civic Hall in the 1950s.
Heidelberg Town Hall (1936-37, VHR H2077)
Warracknabeal Town Hall (1939-40, VHR H2223)
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 12
Horsham Town Hall (1939, VHR H2279)
Municipal Buildings of the 1950s and 1960s
After World War II a population boom in Victoria placed pressure on local councils and resulted in the need
for larger, and in many cases new, municipal facilities. When building activity recommenced, there were
many new proposals for municipal buildings throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Some municipal complexes
were designed and built as precincts of individual buildings, in which for example, the municipal
administrative offices might be separated from the Town Hall and/or Library. Other municipalities combined
all functions in a single building. Some complexes were constructed in their entirety, while others were built
in stages as finances allowed.
Ballarat Civic Hall is one of a number of municipal buildings erected in the 1950s and 1960s in Victoria,
particularly in regional cities and the outer suburbs of Melbourne. A number of these were built in an
Austere Modern, or Stripped Classical style, in a similar manner to many earlier examples in the 1930s,
while others were built in more progressive and individual modern styles.
Comparison can be made with 1950s and 1960s municipal buildings in Victoria including:
1) Austere Modern/ Stripped Classical examples
2) Progressive Modern examples
3) stand-alone municipal buildings
1) Austere Modern/ Stripped Classical Municipal Buildings
A large number of municipal buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s in an austere form, not dissimilar
to pre-war Stripped Classical style buildings constructed twenty years earlier. This regressive style was
characterised by block-like forms, parapeted roofs and stark face brickwork with projecting bays of
windows. Examples of these municipal buildings include:
 Echuca Town Hall (1952-53), a single large building which contained offices at ground level and a
ballroom, committee room and council chambers on the upper level. Not in VHR.
 Sale Civic Centre (1951-60), an entire precinct of buildings including a public hall (1951), library
(1952) with municipal offices and a gallery added in 1959 and 1962-64 respectively. Not in VHR.
 Mildura Town Hall (1958). Not in VHR.
 Springvale City Hall (1959), complex of buildings including a hall and other municipal buildings. Not
in VHR.
 Broadmeadows City Hall (1964). Not in VHR.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 13
Like the examples above, the Ballarat Civic Hall is regressive in architectural style: that is, it draws on the
pre-war Stripped Classical style buildings constructed twenty years earlier.
Echuca Town Hall (1952-53), present view and view of building under construction in 1953 [SLV Collection]
Sale Civic Centre (1951-60)
Mildura Civic Building (1958), early view [undated, SLV Collection]
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 14
Springvale City Hall (1959), present view and view of building complex in 1959 [SLV Collection]
Broadmeadows City Hall (1964)
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 15
2) Progressive Modern Municipal Buildings
A small number of municipal buildings in Victoria from the 1950s and 60s exhibit aspects of a more
contemporary and progressive modern architectural style. These include:
 Benalla Shire Offices (1958, VHR H2189)
 Former Brighton Municipal Offices (1959-60, VHR H1292)
 Kew City Hall (1959-60), designed as first part of a civic precinct. Not in VHR.
 Shepparton (1961-65), since altered, extended and refurbished. Not in VHR.
 Former Altona Civic Offices (1962-63, City of Hobsons Bay). Not in VHR.
 Former Sunshine Municipal Offices (1962-67, City of Brimbank). Not in VHR.
The Ballarat Civic Hall does not demonstrate the progressive architectural qualities of these buildings.
Benalla Shire Offices (1958, VHR H2189)
Former Brighton Municipal Offices (1959-60, VHR H1292)
Kew City Hall (1959-60)
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 16
Former Altona Civic Offices (1962-63), present and 1965 view
Former Sunshine Municipal Offices, 1962-67
3 Stand-alone Municipal Buildings
The Ballarat Civic Hall was designed to provide a public venue space for the community. It was constructed
as a stand-alone facility at a location at a distance from the existing town hall. Space constraints at the town
hall site and the opportunity offered by the available land at the old market reserve in Mair Street are likely
to have contributed to this decision. There does not appear to be any reason to believe that it was a
deliberate decision by council to isolate this civic hall from other municipal buildings. Rather it reflects a
practical use of available land in central Ballarat at the time.
The stand-alone civic building did not become a common building type and there are few examples in
Victoria. Kew City Hall (1959-60) was a smaller municipal building which was constructed on a site at a
distance from the existing town hall, however it was built as the first stage of a planned civic precinct. The
Echuca Town Hall (1952-53) included various municipal functions in a single building; Sale Civic Centre
(1952-60) was planned and developed as a civic precinct and Springvale City Hall (1959) combined a hall and
municipal offices in a similar manner to town halls of the 1930s.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
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Conclusion
A large number of municipal buildings were erected in the 1950s and 1960s throughout Victoria. Some of
these were built in an Austere Modern/Stripped Classical style and others in more progressive and individual
modern styles. The Ballarat Civic Hall is amongst the first civic buildings constructed after World War II
however, in comparison with other 1950s and 1960s civic buildings, it is not a notable example. Despite its
construction as a stand-alone building, the Ballarat Civic Hall was not influential in the design of municipal
buildings in Victoria.
KEY REFERENCES USED TO PREPARE ASSESSMENT
Built Heritage Pty Ltd, ‘Ballarat Civic Hall, 300-304 Mair Street, Ballarat, prepared for Art Deco & Modernism
Society, Inc. December 2014
Built Heritage Pty Ltd. ‘Survey of Post-War Built Heritage in Victoria: Stage Two’, Melbourne 2010
Lovell Chen. ‘Ballarat Civic Hall Heritage Appraisal’. Prepared for the City of Ballarat 2010
HLCD Pty Ltd. ‘Ballarat Civic Hall. Assessment of Cultural Heritage Significance’. Prepared for the City of
Ballarat 2007
Lovell Chen. ‘Statement of Evidence to the Heritage Council regarding the proposed inclusion in the
Victorian Heritage Register of Ballarat Civic Hall’. March 2011
A Ward. ‘Typological Study of Local Government Offices/Halls in Victoria’. 1996
Decision of the Heritage Council concerning Ballarat Civic Hall, Heritage Council Registrations Committee,
May 2011
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
Page | 18
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
Front elevation of building from south-west
Rear elevation of building from north-west
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
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East elevation of building
Ground floor foyer
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Interior of main hall from north-east
Interior of main hall from balcony at south end
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Detail at side of stage
Upper foyer
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Projection room above upper foyer
Balcony seating
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Interior of entrance passage to lower hall from west
Lower hall from west
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Lower hall from east
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Attachment 1 – Heritage Council Hearing Determination 2011
Ballarat Civic Hall, 300-304 Mair Street, Ballarat Central
Heritage Council Registrations Committee
Hearing 15 April 2011
Members – Dr Anita Smith (Chair), Professor William Logan, Mr Robert Sands,
DECISION OF THE HERITAGE COUNCIL
After considering a recommendation and the submissions and conducting a hearing into those
submissions, pursuant to Section 42(1)(d)(i) the Heritage Council has refused to register the place
and refers the recommendation and submissions to the City of Ballarat for consideration for an
amendment to the Ballarat Planning Scheme.
Dr Anita Smith (Chair)
Professor William Logan
Mr Robert Sands
Decision Date: 26 May 2011
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
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APPEARANCES
Heritage Victoria
Dr Kerry Jordan on behalf of the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria (Executive Director). Ms
Frances O’Neill of Heritage Victoria was also available to take questions.
Nominator
Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter on behalf of Ballarat Heritage Watch Inc (BHW). Dr Beggs-Sunter opposed
the Executive Director’s recommendation that the place not be included in the Heritage Register
[Section 32(1)(b) Heritage Act 1995 (Act)] and be referred to the relevant planning authority for
inclusion in a planning scheme [Section 32(2) Act]. Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter appeared on behalf of
BHW.
Owner
The place is owned by The City of Ballarat which supports the recommendation of the Executive
Director. At the hearing The City of Ballarat was represented by Mr Terry Montebello of Maddocks
Lawyers. Mr Montebello called Ms Anita Brady of Lovell Chen as an expert witness.
Other parties that appeared
No other parties appeared at the hearing.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
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THE PLACE
1
Ballarat Civic Hall (Civic Hall) is located at 300-304 Mair Street, Ballarat. The site extends
over 20,000 square metres and is bounded by Mair Street, Armstrong Street North, Market
Street and Doveton Street North. The Civic Hall only occupies a portion of the site, the
remainder being given over to a municipal library, a skateboard park and car parking.
2
The Civic Hall was built between 1953 and 1956 to a design by H.L. and L.J. Coburn of
Ballarat and Gordon Murphy of Melbourne. It demonstrates elements of the ‘stripped
classical’ architectural form that was widely used in the 1920s and 1930s for municipal and
commercial buildings. Over its life the Civic Hall has held a number of significant public
events, including a civic reception for the Governor of Victoria, special concerts promoted to
visitors attending the 1956 Olympics, various balls, performances and citizenship
ceremonies. The Hall was last used in 2002 and has deteriorated since then. Recently, vandals
have damaged the interior. Despite the vandalism and some cracking of the façade (caused by
brick expansion), the Hall remains structually sound.
3
The Civic Hall is included within the City of Ballarat Lydiard Heritage Overlay Precinct
(HO171) within the Ballarat Planning Scheme. It is neither individually identified as
significant within the Statement of Significance, nor included in the list of the buildings that
are not significant to the precinct.
NOMINATIONS
4. The place was first nominated for inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register (‘Register’) by
Dr Beggs-Sunter. The nomination was received by the Exectuive Director on 7 December
2009, but it contained insufficient information and was not accepted. A second nomination
from Dr Beggs-Sunter, again on behalf of BHW, was received on 26 August 2010. This
nomination was accepted and an assessment of the place’s cultural heritage significance was
undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Act.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
5. At the conclusion of the assessment, the Executive Director recommended that the place
known as the Civic Hall, Ballarat NOT be included in the Victorian Register. [Section
32(1)(b) Act] and be referred to the relevant planning authority for inclusion in a planning
scheme [Section 32(2) Act].
6. The Executive Director’s recommendation was advertised in the Herald Sun on 29 October
2010. During advertising of the Executive Director’s recommendation, an objecting
submission was received from Dr Beggs-Sunter, on behalf of BHW. Pursuant to s.40 (2) of
the Act, a hearing was required. The Heritage Council called for submissions, this call being
advertised in the Ballarat Courier on 13 January 2011. Submissions were subsequently
received from Dr Beggs-Sunter on behalf of BHW, the City of Ballarat, Mr Graeme Orr and
Mr Tim Stoneman.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
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SITE INSPECTION
7. All members of the Registration Committee (‘Committee’) attended site visits. Professor
Logan attended on 5 April, Dr Smith attended on 7 April and Mr Sands attended, following
the hearing, on 21 April.
PRELIMINARY MATTERS
8. In her initial submission on behalf of BHW, Dr Beggs Sunter provided nine copies of her
submission and a single copy of a CD containing images. The submissions were distributed to
other parties, but as there was only one copy of the CD, it could not be distributed. Dr BeggsSunter was informed of this. As it was not distributed, the Committee’s protocols prevented
the images contained on the CD from being presented at the hearing.
9. The Committee notes that City of Ballarat submissions by expert witness, Ms Brady referred
to the Civic Hall as being of local ‘interest’ rather than local ‘significance’. As the Committee
is assessing the building’s significance at a State rather than a local level, little turns upon the
point in this case. However, the Committee would like to record that it found the distinction
to be unclear and would caution against its use without thorough explanation in the future.
10. The Committee notes that at the hearing Dr Beggs-Sunter indicated that members of BHW
had not been permitted by the City of Ballarat to inspect the Civic Hall prior to the hearing.
While the Committee has no power to compel the City of Ballarat to allow access to a site, it
is of the view that it would have been preferable had all interested parties had the opportunity
to view the site prior to preparing their submissions.
11. The Act refers to the addition of a ‘place’ to the register. In providing its reasons the
Committee has adopted the language of the Act. Elsewhere, the words ‘place’ and ‘site’ are
used interchangeably.
ISSUES
12. This section is not intended to be a complete record of submissions that were made to the
Committee. It is a summary of what the Committee considered to be the key issues, followed
by an explanation of the position the Committee takes on each issue.
13. Any reference to Criteria refers to the Heritage Council Criteria for Assessment of Places of
Cultural Heritage Significance (see Attachment 1 to this report).
Summary of issues
14. There was general agreement that the place is of cultural heritage significance at the local
level. The question before the Committee is whether the place is significant at the State level.
The submissions of Dr Jordan and Mr Montebello, supported by the evidence of Ms Brady,
were that the place did not satisfy any of the Criteria and, as a result, should not be included
in the Register.
15. Dr Beggs-Sunter argued that the Civic Hall satisfied Criteria A, C, D, E, F and G.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
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16. Mr Graeme Orr did not specifically address the Criteria, but a review of his submission
indicates that he believes the Civic Hall to satisfy A, E and G.
17. Similarly, Mr Tim Stoneman has not specified in his submission which Criteria he believes
the Civic Hall to satisfy. However, a review indicates that he believes the Civic Hall to satisfy
Criteria A, F and G.
A review of the submisisons and an assessment of the place against the Criteria follows.
CRITERION A - IMPORTANCE TO THE COURSE, OR PATTERN OF VICTORIA’S
CULTURAL HISTORY
18. Dr Beggs-Sunter, Mr Orr and Mr Stoneman argued that the place was of historic significance
to the State and satisfied Criterion A. Dr Jordan and Mr Montebello each argued that the
place did not satisfy the Criterion. Mr Montebello’s assertion was supported by expert
witness, Ms Brady.
Submissions and evidence
19. Dr Beggs-Sunter argued that the construction of the Civic Hall was linked to the centenary of
gold discovery in 1851. Mr Stoneman also noted the fact, claiming that the Hall was ‘a
tangible and undeniable link to Ballarat’s gold heritage’. Both Dr Beggs-Sunter and Mr
Stoneman also commented on the Hall’s social history and noted its use as a function centre
for a number of significant events, including a series of concerts associated with the 1956
Olympics as well as ABC celebrity concerts, the South Street Eisteddfod and the annual
Ballarat Begonia Festival. Similar points were raised by Mr Orr, who asserted that the Civic
Hall was ‘always part of, and the centre of activities for most of my generation and visitors
who came from all over Victoria and beyond’. In his submission, Mr Orr described the Civic
Hall as ‘possibly the most significant building’ in Ballarat.
20. Dr Jordan, Mr Montebello and Ms Brady acknowledged that the Civic Hall had played an
important part in the life of Ballarat, but argued that it was the role that would be expected of
a civic hall in a regional centre. Mr Montebello observed that in any event the links between
the Hall and the Olympics, the South Street Eisteddfod and the Ballarat Begonia Festival
were brief and/or tenuous. In particular Mr Montebello noted that the Hall did not actually
house an Olympic event or Olympic athletes; rather it was the site of entertainment for
spectators. The Hall’s connection with the Eisteddfod was comparatively short, lasting only
from 1957-65. While, in relation to the Begonia Festival, Mr Montebello noted that the Hall
was the administrative centre for organising the Festival rather than the site of the Festival
itself and that, in any case, the association was terminated in c1995.
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Discussion and conclusion
21. The Committee accepts that the Civic Hall has played a significant role in the life of Ballarat.
The Committee also notes that the place has some connections to events that may be of
significance to the State – for example the 1956 Olympic Games, the South Street Eisteddfod
and the Begonia Festival. However, closer analysis suggests that, as Mr Montebello pointed
out, the Hall’s association with these events was peripheral and/or brief and does not in
isolation justify its inclusion on the Register.
22. The Committee is unconvinced about the strength of the connection between the place and
the discovery of gold. The Committee does not accept that, as Dr Beggs Sunter and Mr
Stoneman have argued, the Civic Hall is ‘a tangible and undeniable link to Ballarat’s gold
heritage’. In this regard, the Committee notes that there was little reference to the discovery of
gold in the historical material presented by either Dr Beggs-Sunter or Mr Stoneman. For these
reasons, the Committee is satisfied that the place is not of historical significance to the State
and does not satisfy Criterion A.
CRITERION B - POSSESSION OF UNCOMMON, RARE OR ENDANGERED ASPECTS
OF VICTORIA’S CULTURAL HISTORY
23. This was not a significant aspect of any of the submissions and was not discussed in any
detail at the hearing. The Committee does not consider that the Civic Hall possesses
uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria’s cultural history.
CRITERION C – POTENTIAL TO YIELD INFORMATION THAT WILL CONTRIBUTE
TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF VICTORIA’S CULTURAL HISTORY
24. Dr Beggs-Sunter argued that the Civic Hall had the potential to yield information that will
contribute to an understanding of Victoria’s cultural history. Neither Dr Jordan nor Mr
Montebello addressed the Criterion.
Submissions and evidence
25. The submission from Dr Beggs-Sunter argued that the Civic Hall is a ‘multi-purpose civic
centre that allows us to read the cultural activities of half a century in Ballarat’. The
submission goes on to cite the examples of the South Street Eisteddfod and Begonia Festival.
26. Neither Dr Jordan nor Mr Montebello specifically addressed the Criterion, but elsewhere in
their submissions, both argued that the events held in the Hall were of local significance and,
did not therefore have the capacity to yield information that would contribute towards an
understanding of Victoria’s cultural history.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
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Discussion and conclusion
27. Criterion C is often connected with archaeological evidence, which may be the reason that it
was not the focus of submissions by either Dr Jordan or Mr Montebello. Ignoring this point,
even if one accepts that the events detailed by Dr Beggs-Sunter are of State significance, the
Civic Hall’s connection to them is not sufficiently strong to justify its inclusion on the
Register. On this basis, the Committee finds that the place does not satisfy Criterion C.
CRITERION D - IMPORTANCE IN DEMONSTRATING THE PRINCIPAL
CHARACTERISTICS OF A CLASS OF CULTURAL PLACES AND OBJECTS
28. Dr Beggs-Sunter argued that the Civic Hall demonstrated the principal characteristics of a
class of cultural places and objects, specifically ‘civic halls’, or ‘multi-purpose venues’. Dr
Jordan and Mr Montebello argued that the Civic Hall did not demonstrate the principal
characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects. Mr Montebello’s evidence was
supported by expert witness, Ms Brady.
Submissions and evidence
29. Dr Beggs-Sunter’s submission argued that the Civic Hall satisfied Criterion D. and quoted
from a book by Marc Fiddian, Civic Place: A Tableau of Australian Town Halls, which
claimed that the Ballarat Civic Hall was in the vanguard of multi-purpose centres in Victoria
and represented a ‘move away from a striking exterior, often with basic internal features, to a
modest façade with a more expansive interior’. This assertion was not, however, elaborated
upon in either Dr Beggs-Sunter’s submission or her presentation to the Committee, which
both focused upon the historical and social significance of the Hall.
30. Dr Jordan argued that the place was neither an innovative nor a striking example of a civic
hall. Specifically, she noted that it was a very late example of the ‘stripped classical’ style of
architecture and was a very conservative choice of design at the time of its construction. This
view was also taken by Ms Brady, who in her expert testimony argued that ‘although
competently executed, architecturally the building belongs to an earlier generation of building
design and was markedly outmoded at the time of its completion in 1956, particularly when
compared to other modernist style buildings constructed at the time.’ Both Ms Brady and Dr
Jordan compared the architectural style of the Hall with other examples - including the
Caulfield Town Hall (Stephenson and Meldrum, c1928), the Box Hill Town Hall (John. S.
Gawler, 1934-35), the Warracknabeal Town Hall (Seabrook and Fildes, 1939-40) and the
Heidelberg Town Hall (Leith and Bartlett, with Peck and Kemter, 1936-37). Dr Jordan and
Ms Brady each argued that these examples were better examples of the stripped-classical style
as applied to municipal architecture.
31. As a multi purpose venue, Dr Jordan and Ms Brady also submitted that the Civic Hall was
neither particularly unusual nor innovative, simply providing a functional space for hosting
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
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local community events. On this basis, they each concluded that the Civic Hall did not
demonstrate the principal characteristics of a class of places.
Discussion and conclusion
32. While accepting that the place is a competent example of a municipal building, the
Committee has not been convinced that it is of significance as ‘demonstrating the principal
characteristics of a class of cultural places’. The style of the Civic Hall was no longer
innovative at the time it was constructed and the Committee accepts that there are better
examples of civic halls elsewhere, several of which have been identified by Ms Brady and Dr
Jordan.
33. Similarly, the Committee is unconvinced that the Civic Hall was, to quote Dr Beggs-Sunter’s
submission, ‘at the vanguard of the development of multi-purpose and utilitarian spaces for
municipal functions’ or that its construction represented a ‘move away from [a style of design
that featured] a striking exterior, often with basic internal features, to a [style of design that
featured a] modest façade with a more expensive interior’. In relation to the first point, the
Committee was provided with little information about how the social or commercial role
played by a multi-purpose venue differed from that played by a traditional civic hall, or how
the Hall fulfilled this new role. In relation to the second point, the Committee notes that Dr
Beggs Sunter’s description of the Hall as illustrating a move towards a style of building
which featured a ‘modest façade’ with a more ‘expensive interior’ is in the Committee’s
view, largely a description of the ‘stripped classical’ form of architecture identified by Dr
Jordan and Ms Brady. The Committee agrees with Dr Jordan and Ms Brady that this
particular building is not a sufficiently good example of the ‘stripped classical style’ to
warrant inclusion on the Register and accordingly finds that the Civic Hall does not satisfy
Criterion D.
CRITERION E - IMPORTANCE
CHARACTERISTICS
IN
EXHIBITING
PARTICULAR
AESTHETIC
34. Dr Beggs-Sunter and Mr Stoneman argued that the Civic Hall demonstrated aesthetic
characteristics and satisfied Criterion E. Dr Jordan and Mr Montebello argued that the Civic
Hall was not of aesthetic significance at a State level. Mr Montebello’s evidence was
supported by expert witness Ms Brady.
Submissions and evidence
35. Dr Beggs-Sunter noted that the ‘monumental proportions’ of the Civic Hall, its setback from
the street and the fact that it was surrounded by open space meant that it was of aesthetic
significance.
36. Mr Montebello’s submission noted that the building did not satisfy Criterion E as ‘it fails to
exhibit any particular aesthetic characteristics’. Mr Montebello’s submission was supported
by the expert evidence of Ms Anita Brady. Dr Jordan expressed a similar view.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
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Discussion and conclusion
37. The Committee recognises that the place is highly visible due to its large scale and is a
significant feature of the streetscape, but this is not in itself sufficient to make it of aesthetic
significance at a State level. The Committee concurrs with the assessment of Mr Montebello,
Ms Brady and Dr Jordan that the Civic Hall does not illustrate any particular aesthetic
features that would justify its inclusion on the Register and accordingly finds that it does not
satisfy Criterion E.
CRITERION F - IMPORTANCE IN DEMONSTRATING A HIGH DEGREE OF
CREATIVE OR TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AT A PARTICULAR PERIOD
38. Dr Beggs-Sunter argued that the Civic Hall demonstrated a high degree of technical
achievement and, on this basis, satisfied Criterion F. Dr Jordan and Mr Montebello argued
that the building did not illustrate sufficent technical achievement to satisfy Criterion F. Mr
Montebello’s submission was supported by expert witness, Ms Brady.
Submissions and evidence
39. Dr Beggs-Sunter argued that the Civic Hall was significant as the ‘first steel framed building
in country Victoria’, and because of its ‘sophisticated cross-axial design of the two halls’ and
for its ‘early use of fire doors’. Dr Beggs-Sunter also noted the sheer scale of the Hall which
incorporated 245 tons of steel, including one ‘great 11 ton girder for the roof’.
40. Mr Montebello did not argue with the scale of the Hall or the quantity of materials used in its
construction. Ms Brady however, disputed the claim that the Hall was the first steel framed
building in country Victoria, citing research by Miles Lewis that the Swan Hill Town Hall
utilised a steel frame in c1935. Neither Dr Jordan nor Ms Brady was of the view that the
‘cross axial design’ was particularly innovative. Indeed, Ms Brady’s submission notes that the
Hall’s ‘symmetrical axis … relates to nothing specific’. The ‘early use of fire doors’ was not
an aspect of the building’s design that was discussed in any detail by Dr Jordan, Mr
Montebello or Ms Brady.
Discussion and conclusion
41. The Committee finds that the Civic Hall is not an architecturally innovative building and
notes that there is little evidence to suggest that it is technically innovative either. The claim
in relation to the steel frame has not been verified, but even if true the Committee does not
believe it to be particularly significant, as there were steel framed buildings in Melbourne that
were constructed significantly earlier. The Committee is also not convinced that the ‘cross
axial design’ is significant. The Committee notes the claim regarding the fire doors, but has
been presented with no evidence to corroborate it. On this basis, the Committee is of the view
that the Civic Hall does not satisfy Criterion F.
CRITERION G - STRONG OR SPECIAL ASSOCIATION WITH A PARTICULAR
COMMUNITY OR CULTURAL GROUP FOR SOCIAL, CULTURAL OR SPIRITUAL
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REASONS. THIS INCLUDES THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A PLACE TO INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES AS PART OF THEIR CONTINUING AND DEVELOPING CULTURAL
TRADITIONS
42. The submissions from Dr Beggs-Sunter, Mr Stoneman and Mr Orr each stressed the social
significance of the Civic Hall. Dr Jordan and Mr Montebello argued that the Civic Hall was
not socially significant at a State level.
Submissions and evidence
43. The submission of Dr Beggs-Sunter lists events that had occurred in the Civic Hall. These
included events associated with the Begonia Festival, the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the
South Street Eisteddfod as well as balls, citizenship ceremonies and concerts. Many of these
events have already been identified earlier in this decision. Dr Beggs-Sunter concludes that
‘the wide variety of uses over half a century demonstrated [the Hall’s] importance to Ballarat
and [the] regional community, with people born before 1990 almost certain to have been
influenced by an event at the hall’.
44. Similar claims were made by Mr Stoneman and Mr Orr, both of whom argued that the Civic
Hall had social significance at a State level.
45. Dr Jordan agreed that the Civic Hall was of social significance to the City of Ballarat as ‘the
venue for almost half a century for events important in the lives of the local community’.
However, she disputed the assertion that the Hall was of social significance to the State.
Similarly, Mr Montebello’s submission, whilst acknowledging the important role that the
Civic Hall had played in community life argued that it did not have broader social
significance.
Discussion and conclusion
46. There is no question in the Committee’s view that the Civic Hall is of social significance as a
local level, but the Committee does not consider that it is a building of social significance at a
State level. As Dr Jordan noted, the events held in the Civic Hall were local events. At times,
they may have attracted regional audiences, but this alone is not enough to satisfy Criterion G.
The Committee is satisfied that the Civic Hall is not of social significance to the State.
Criterion H - Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of
importance in Victoria’s history
47. This was not a significant aspect of any of the submissions and was not discussed in any
detail at the hearing. The Committee does not consider that the Civic Hall has a special
association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria’s
history.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
Hermes Number: 22591
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CONCLUSION
48. The Committee accepts that the Civic Hall is an important building within the City of
Ballarat, but having conducted an assessment of the Hall against the Heritage Council’s
Criteria has concluded that it does not satisfy any of them. Accordingly, the Committee finds
that the Civic Hall does not reach the threshold for State significance and refers the
recommendation and submissions to the City of Ballarat for consideration for an amendment
to the Ballarat Planning Scheme.
ATTACHMENT 1
HERITAGE COUNCIL CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT OF PLACES OF CULTURAL
HERITAGE SIGIFICANCE
CRITERION A
Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural
history.
CRITERION B
Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of
Victoria’s cultural history.
CRITERION C
Potential to yield information that will contribute to an
understanding of Victoria’s cultural history.
CRITERION D
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a
class of cultural places or objects.
CRITERION E
Importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics.
CRITERION F
Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or
technical achievement at a particular period.
CRITERION G
Strong or special association with a particular community or
cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons. This
includes the significance of a place to Indigenous peoples as part
of their continuing and developing cultural traditions.
CRITERION H
Special association with the life or works of a person, or group
of persons, of importance in Victoria’s history.
These were adopted by the Heritage Council at its meeting on 7 August 2008, and replace the
previous Criteria adopted by the Heritage Council on 6 March 1997.
Name: Civic Hall, Ballarat
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