Ballarat Civic Hall designs over time

Click the image above to launch a photo gallery of Civic Hall designs over the years.

The City of Ballarat has provided a selection of Civic Hall designs through a number of different processes, stretching back to the early 2000s.

LATEST: Civic Hall design search goes worldwide.

Some of these now seem quite dated, while others seem hyper-futuristic.

UNTIL the late 1970s, the Civic Hall was a hive of social activity.

From the time it was built in 1956, debutante balls and dances were held within its walls nearly every weekend.

It was where teary Begonia Queens were crowned and the minds of the future were awarded school speech-night prizes.

But in his 1977-78 annual report, the mayor of the day noted a decline in its use, which he attributed to television and the arrival of cabarets.

In 1979, in a bid to increase the use of the hall, a new kitchen annexe was added to the building.

During the 1980s, the hall was primarily used for concerts and as an exhibition space.

In the 1990s, the hall underwent a $166,000 revamp, but in 1999, it was used only 40 times, less than once a week.

 In 2002, the hall was permanently closed with windows and doors boarded up and began a period of neglect.

Ever since then, the matter of what to do with the Civic Hall has been among the hottest topics for successive councils.

Last year, a motion was passed for demolition, but that still seems a long way off.