ONE of Ballarat’s long-standing institutions celebrated an important milestone this week.
Ballarat Trades Hall, the second oldest trades hall in Victoria, marked its 125th anniversary at a civic reception on Monday night.Rng place for Ballarat’s trade unions and as offices for the Ballarat Trades and Labour Council, the hall was built in the original police and law courts precinct in Camp Street.
Trades Hall secretary Paul Clempson said it was an historic day for the building and what it stood for.
“It’s got such a rich history and has been a big part of a lot of key movements and campaigns in Ballarat,” he said.
“It has been used every month for unions and unionists in Ballarat and is still used today.”
The three-storey building is on the National Heritage Trust and remains virtually unchanged since it was first built.
Trades Hall president Brett Edgington said a lot of key campaigns over history had started in the trades hall.
One of the most poignant movements was the fight to include eight-hour days for manual labourers.
It also played a key role in the formation of the Victorian Labor Party.
Recently it has housed a number of protests against TAFE funding cuts and meetings regarding the Ararat Prison project.
“Ever since it was first built it has been a key part of Ballarat’s unions throughout history,” Mr Edgington said.
“It is still very much as it was when it was built and very much serves the same purpose.”
A commemorative plaque was placed on the building above the original foundation stone, which was first laid on October 15,1877.