St Patrick's Cathedral
Corner Sturt and Dawson Streets, Ballarat
St Patrick's Cathedral first conducted services from 1851
onwards, the parish of Ballarat was instituted in 1852. The
first Parish Priest was Father Matthew Downing, who
selected in 1853 the two acres site for this church which
was granted under a crown Grant in 1855.
The style of the church is early Gothic from the era of
Edward the 1st in the 13th Century.
Neil Street Uniting Church
Cnr Neil and Macarthur Streets, Ballarat
The present three-manual organ was built by Fincham & Hobday at a cost of £1,145 and was opened by G.B. Fentum on 24 October 1890. This was one of the firm’s largest church organs of the period, incorporating a detached drawstop console, tubular-pneumatic action, and a 16ft case. The instrument was rebuilt in 1924 and again in 1954 by George Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd, at which time the action was converted to electro-pneumatic and a new three manual stopkey console installed. The original tonal scheme and pipework remain largely unaltered, however the original decoration of the façade pipes has regrettably been overpainted.
Ballarat Central Uniting Church
Corner Dana and Lydiard Streets, Ballarat
The first Methodist service to be held in the Ballarat area took place on 28 September 1851 and during the second half of the 19th century a number of Methodist churches were erected in the city, the most prominent of which was Wesley Church,
Lydiard Street, centrally located in the town.
The present bichromatic brick church was erected in 1883-84 to the design of Terry & Oakden in an Italianate Gothic style, with additions in 1899. In 1922 the choir gallery - originally with a cast iron balustrade - was redesigned. The church is built on the edge of the ‘escarpment’. The main entrance in Lydiard Street is set at a higher level than the apse and the floor follows the slope of the land. The external brickwork is elaborately detailed around the windows and doors with notched brickwork while the external walls have diapered patterns. The amphitheatrical interior is lofty and spacious and includes cast iron galleries at the sides and rear of the nave. The building is comparable with the firm’s Toorak Methodist Church which was wantonly demolished in the 1980s.
The first pipe organ, in the early building, was a large single
manual instrument and probably the first organ in Ballarat.
It was later moved to the Methodist Church, Pleasant Street, Ballarat, St Mark’s Anglican Church, Camberwell and finally
to St Paul’s Anglican Church, Fairfield where it was broken
up in the late 1960s.
The Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts
1220 Howitt Street, Wendouree
is a splendid jewel in the crown for Ballarat, further enriching the cultural and artistic life of the city and Western Victoria.
This recently completed Proscenium Arched Concert Hall boasts an acoustically superior Auditorium consisting of stalls seating and two balconies. The configuration of the seating allows unrestricted views from each of the 857 seats.
With 170 square metres of stage and an additional 60 square metres of wing space the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts is suitable for a huge range of functions. The stage is wide enough to accommodate a symphony orchestra, yet it can be made narrow enough to make even solo performers feel comfortable. This is done with the use of a unique pivot proscenium that can be opened or closed without affecting audience sightlines. Beyond the wings, on stage right, is a street level loading dock allowing single level stage access from street to stage.
Directly under the stage are pivoting walled dressing rooms which allow versatility in layout. The system enables conversion from a single open room into two, three or four smaller dressing rooms in a matter of minutes. An unhindered passageway allows stage access from dressing rooms to either side of the stage via stairs at either end.
The Centre has two spacious foyers, one on either side of the auditorium, on the same level as initial seating rows, making access to the venue easy.
1600 Sturt St, Ballarat VIC 3350
Loreto College is the oldest school in Ballarat, Victoria. The school has many historical buildings and much heritage that remains present to this day.
Possibly Australia's most magnificent convent church, this building was erected between 1898 and 1902 to the design of W.B. Tappin, of the firm of Reed, Smart & Tappin, and is stylistically comparable with the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Bendigo, Tappin's magnum opus. It was substantially funded through the estate of a German countess, Elizabeth Wolff-Metternich, who had resided for some time in Ballarat. The chapel is constructed in Barrabool stone with Oamaru stone detailing and consists of a large and lofty clerestoried nave and a spacious apsidal sanctuary, all surrounded by an external ambulatory. The elaborate plastered and painted interior, recently restored, focuses upon a marble high altar surmounted by three rose windows placed above elaborate Gothic arcading.
At the rear, a huge rose window, with glass by William Montgomery, is framed by the blue stencilled facade pipes of the divided organ built in 1903 by George Fincham & Son at a cost of £675. The instrument remains largely intact apart from the refitting of the console by the same firm in 1938, when stopkeys replaced the original drawstops and the coupling actions replaced. Restoration work has been carried out by Australian Pipe Organs in recent years.
Mechanics' Institute Ballarat
117 Sturt St, Ballarat VIC 3350
In 1856 an unsuccessful attempt was made to form an Industrial Institute in Ballarat.
By early 1859, following a public meeting, the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute was established. Committee meetings and lectures were held in a little cottage in Main Road and thanks to the generosity of the Fire Brigade, a Reading Room was established on the first floor of the Ballarat East Fire Station in Barkly Street. According to Nathan Spielvogel, the reading room contained three tables, 18 chairs, a number of newspapers and 72 books on the shelves.
Through the efforts of Peter Lalor (then an MP) a piece of land in Sturt Street was set aside as the site for the future Mechanics’ Institute. Much argument ensued between the East and West Councils over the future location of a permanent Mechanics’ Institute in Ballarat.
Finally on Friday, September 28, 1860 the foundation stone of the back section of the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute was laid with full Masonic honours in front of a crowd, estimated by the Ballarat Star, as numbering 10,000.
St Paul's Anglican Church Clunes
Templeton Street, Clunes
St Paul’s was built in 1870-71, at the height of the gold mining in Clunes. The historic bluestone building is of Gothic style and, in its hill top setting surrounded by mature English trees, resembles a medieval parish church. It is the only known Australian work of architect Thomas Austin who is described as a protégé of the famous English Gothicist, Sir George Gilbert Scott.
The original church, now situated at the rear of St Paul’s, was pre-fabricated in America. It was assembled in Clunes in 1859 of prefabricated board and batten construction with Tudor moulds over doors and windows and is of a design common in North America but rarely seen in Australia. You are welcome to visit this building.
During the mining years, the congregation was very large. Records show that 576 adults and children attended St Paul’s Sunday school picnic in 1877. The church itself holds a large congregation.
The mechanical action pipe organ was built for private use in about 2860 by the little known firm, Hamlin & Son of London. Hamlin had been an employee of Hill & Son. Only one other Hamlin organ has been located and that is in Great Britain. Two were exported to Australia, one for the Collins Street Baptist church and one, the organ in St Paul’s, Clunes, manufactured under the direction of a Melbourne gentleman for the use of his son, but sadly the son died before the organ arrived in Australia.
This beautiful little organ and beautiful historic church are treasures of our heritage. Both are in need of gentle but urgent, protective restoration.
Craig’s Royal Hotel
Lydiard Street Sth, Ballarat VIC 3350
As one of the first Grand Hotels in the colony, Craig’s Royal Hotel was born from the wealth of the Australian Gold Rush Era. Established in 1853, Craig’s soon set the standards for unparalleled hospitality and service. Hosting poets, princes and prime ministers over its 155 year history, the hotel is a true icon of the Victorian period.
Now, after nearly 6 years extensive restoration, the magnificent accommodation, dining, meeting and banquet facilities are re-establishing Craig’s as the finest boutique heritage hotel in Australia. Located on historic Lydiard Street in the heart of Ballarat, this Victorian landmark invites you to experience the legend that is Craig’s alone.
St Joseph's Blampied
After 144 years of worship, St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Blampied has now been closed but it remains a solid bluestone beacon looking over the countryside on the road to Daylesford.
The festival is fortunate to have this historic building available for a late afternoon recital in 2019.
The nearby Swiss Mountain Hotel was established in 1865 and is reputed to be the oldest licensed weatherboard hotel in Victoria.