Grant to Conserve Former Shire Offices at Learmonth
The Ballarat District was created in 1856 and proclaimed a Shire on the 24th of November 1863. The foundation stone for the offices and chambers was laid on the 5th of November 1866.
Built around 1869 as a municipal office for the Shire of Ballarat, the building served the Shire in this capacity until 1969, when a new premises was built in Wendouree.
Parts of the old building are now used as a museum by the Learmonth and District Historical Society (LDHS).
Large sections of the Shire of Ballarat, including the township of Learmonth were amalgamated with the City of Ballarat in 1994.
Before works commenced A new beginning
Rooms unusable LDHS members in their restored research rooms
Learmonth’s Shire Hall has been given a facelift, thanks to a partnership between Ballarat City Council, the Learmonth and District Historical Society and the Federal Government’s Jobs Fund program.
A $129,091.00 grant from the Australian Government’s Job Fund was put towards the renewing of conservation techniques and skills in local tradespeople by protecting, conserving and interpreting the former Ballarat Shire offices.
Materials were sourced locally and work was undertaken by a multitude of tradespeople and apprentices, giving local contractors an extensive amount of experience in heritage conservation and a great deal of stimulus to the local economy.
The project involved re-stumping, carpentry, bricklaying, joinery, roofing, plumbing, painting, interior decoration, plastering, electrical, pest control, excavation and ground works, tree felling and stump removal, glazing, project management, waste removal and scaffolding.
Ballarat Mayor Cr Judy Verlin said the Learmonth Hall restoration project was another practical example of Council’s Preserving our Heritage Strategy.
“It is fantastic to see such a wide range of local tradespeople coming together to protect, conserve, restore and promote this important heritage building.
“The work has ensured the building is more useable, prevented a case of neglect that would have lead to its demolition and provided employment in the Learmonth community.
“I look forward to seeing this restored facility used by the local community well into the future.”
The Learmonth and District Historical Society will use the refurbished building to offer a historical research service to both the local community and visitors and interpret the history of the area with an emphasis on the history of the Ballarat Shire.
The entire project was filmed and documented to be used as a reference when similar conservation works are undertaken in future.