Ballarat Town Hall
Architect: Designs by J.T Lorenz (exterior), H.R Caselli (interior) were incorporated into the current Town Hall by architect Percy Oakden.
The distinctive Classical Revival-style Ballarat Town Hall is thought to be one of only a few symmetrical Town Hall buildings in Victoria. The first Town Hall was built in 1856, but burnt down three years later. Fascinatingly, the Town Hall as it stands today, was constructed according to the designs of three architects following an 1868 competition; with its exterior designed by J.T Lorenz, the interior by H.R Caselli, and the whole thing brought together by influential 19th century architect, Percy Oakden. It’s also one of only three in the world equipped with a peal of bells. Eight bells have chimed out across the city since the 1870s from the Town Hall Tower, which currently stands two storeys above the main building. Cast by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel, England, the bells weigh almost four-and-a-half tonnes, and commemorate Prince Alfred’s 1867 visit to Ballarat. Inside the Town Hall building, visitors can experience what it was like during the late 1860s with many of the building’s magnificent features retained and complete with original furniture. The natural cement render and the stone dressings at ground-floor level remain intact, with a grand stairwell leading the way to the first floor. High, elaborate ceilings feature throughout, with the Trench Room measuring 34 feet from floor to ceiling.
The Ballarat Town Hall Refurbishment project in 1997 by Peter Elliott in association with Morton Dunn Architects won the RAIA William Wardell Award in 1997.
Need to Know
Open: Saturday 3 & Sunday 29 October 10-4pm
What's Open: Self-guided tours of the first-floor rooms including; the Foyer, Mayor’s Room, Committee Meeting Rooms One and Two, Trench Room, Jesse Scott Room, Morton Room, Civic Reception Room, A-Hall and Council Chambers. Guided tours of the second-floor rooms, including access to the tradesmans’ staircase and Bell Ringers Room previously not open to the public.
Special Note: Limited mobility access to upper rooms included in guided tour.
Tour Details: Limited availability for the guided tours, maximum 10 persons. Tours at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm on both days.
Building Type: Government
Year Built: 1856, 1860, 1870
Transport: A short 500m walk from the Ballarat Train Station.
Photo Credit: Photo supplied by City of Ballarat
Heritage Listed: Yes
225 Sturt Street, Ballarat VIC