Former Ballarat West Fire Station and Watch-Tower: 702 Sturt Street, Ballarat Central

The old fire station, Ballarat’s second oldest and one of Victoria’s most significant Victorian era fire stations, is a landmark of Sturt Street’s west side. Originally double storey building erected in 1860 in catellated bluestone style with a three storey octagonal tower and cantilever balcony was designed by prominent local architect Henry Caselli. The building was remodelled internally with an extended tower in 1899. Originally the Ballarat West Fire Station, it was later named Ballarat City. The bluestone was stuccoed in 1930 and is now painted over, the tower is now closed and the street level has been converted to offices.

Horse Trough. Cnr Skipton and South Streets (Midland Highway), Ballarat Central

This great little piece of history is a reinforced concrete watering trough for horses from the 1930s. One of just 700 Bills horse troughs distributed in Australia, and one of few extant troughs in the Ballarat region. Situated in its original setting on one of the main thoroughfares, it was built at a time when horse transportation was beginning to give way to motorised transport and each such unit cost around 13 pounds in its day.1 This one is beginning to show its age, with some of the concrete beginning to deteriorate. It has a local level of protection, situated in a heritage overlay (HO168).2

  1. Gemmill, Georg. Bills Horse Troughs
  2. City of Ballarat Planning Scheme

Former Railyards Weighbridge & Office (destroyed, 2014)

This historic building, the former weighbridge office burnt down in 2014.1 As part of the railway station complex the timber building was included the Victorian Heritage Register.2 and the railway precinct heritage overlay.3 Given its state significance there was controversy when it was proposed to be replaced by a carpark in council and state government approved masterplan to redevelop the complex.4  Although listed as a Victrack asset5, the building had been left derelict for more than a decade during the 2010s and had been heavily vandalised. My photos were taken in February 2014, at which time I was personally concerned due to the heavy vandalism. Despite this and appearing to be a potential hazard for patrons of the informal carpark nearby, it had been left completely open to the elements and was visibly leaning in the months prior to its demise. The office featured historically important equipment, including an iron scale mechanically linked to a nearby weighbridge no. 506 forged by Henry Pooley & Sons Ltd of Birmingham & London.

  1. Irving, Kara. ‘Historic Ballarat Railway Station weighbridge destroyed by fire’. The Courier. November 10, 2014
  2. Victorian Heritage Register H0902 building B19
  3. City of Ballarat Planning Scheme HO59
  4. Dixon, Matthew. ‘Heritage listed buildings not part of Ballarat railway master plan’. The Courier October. 24, 2014
  5. Public Transport Victoria ‘Rail Revival Environmental Assessment Report’. AECOM Appendix B. 23 August 2011

Old Sheriff’s Office. 5 Camp Street, Ballarat

The foundation stone for the Sheriff’s office (also known as the Court House) on Camp Street was laid on 21st August, 1903 by then mayor C.C. Shoppee M.L.A.1 It was designed by the Public Works department.2

The red brick and render (blood and bandage) style is typical of the Edwardian period and this design is notable for its symmetry and its prominent window details, including central diocletian window with keystones and voussoirs and its hip and gable roofline with tall chimneys.

It heritage protected, with its own heritage overlay (HO18) within the greater Camp Street Heritage Precinct (HO171).

  1. Foundation Stone
  2. Victorian Heritage Register place ID 178145

Ballarat High School Main Building. Sturt Street West, Lake Gardens

Originally the Ballarat Agricultural High School building, this building serves as main administration for the Ballarat High School campus and was erected between 1909 and 1910 to the design of John Hudson Marsden.1

  1. Roberst, Phil. ‘High School‘. A hundred years, thousands of footsteps. 2007. Mud Group Pty Ltd. Geelong. ISBN 978-0-9802844-1-6

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