We know that the Ballarat East Town Hall Gardens and surrounding environs mean different things to different people, so we want your stories to help complete THE story of the area. All stories, photos and attachments may be published and used by City of Ballarat for purposes of informing the community of the history of the site, and showcasing community sentiment for the area.
The Ballarat East Town Hall Gardens site is historically and culturally significant and continues to inspire a sense of community belonging and unity for its significant role as the civic heart of the former municipality of Ballarat East. Overlaid onto the relic mining landscape the site was developed into a civic precinct, and the Gardens were an integral component of shaping a desirable civic identity for the municipality.
In April 2020, the City of Ballarat engaged one of Australia’s leading heritage consultancies, Context, to prepare a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Town Hall Gardens and Environs, Ballarat East. The Plan expresses aspirations for the precinct and outlines opportunities and constraints, providing a practical document to guide forward planning and actions. It aims to enable a deeper understanding of the precinct’s significance and heritage values, provides guidance on policy to direct the conservation and management of the heritage values, and provides a framework for future landscape works aimed at enhancing the precinct and telling the stories to increase awareness, enhance understanding and enrich the visitor experience.
While the integrity of the Gardens has been compromised by the loss of the Town Hall and the addition of new buildings and landscape elements, many original and early features have been retained including mature trees, a boundary fence, gateway and gates, some pathway layout and remnants of the sculpted landform. Considerable momentum has been achieved in recent times in activating Barkly Square and creating a vibrant community hub, however the Gardens and other external spaces remain underutilised.
The Conservation Management Plan has drawn on community engagement undertaken for the Ballarat East Local Area Plan (2019) and Imagine Ballarat East, and builds on existing research and documentation including the Former Ballarat East Town Hall Gardens Heritage Assessment (June 2018).