Every day the workers at Ballarat Trades Hall find crumbled chunks of concrete on the footpath as the building’s historic facade slowly decays.
Ballarat Trades Hall secretary Brett Edgington said conservation work was long overdue, with recent safety works on the building finding some pieces of concrete on the front that were only being held in place by the decades-old paint.
But the 130-year-old Camp Street union headquarters will soon undergo a $200,000 restoration and facelift that will bring a different look to the one it wears now.
“For some time now we have been fairly concerned as we come to work every day and see little bits of concrete on the footpath as more and more detail of our building slowly disappears,” Mr Edgington said.
State planning minister Richard Wynne visited Ballarat Trades Hall to announce almost $1.1 million of heritage grants to be shared across four significant sites across the city.
“These assets aren’t just Ballarat’s buildings, they’re Ballarat’s history and heart. They give locals a great sense of pride and are a fantastic source of education for youngsters,” he said.
Trades Hall will receive $200,000 to repair the rendered facade, repaint and treat damaging moisture problems.
Mr Edgington said it would likely take six to eight weeks to complete repairs, with scaffolding to be erected, paint stripped, repairs made, details remoulded and reinstated and render applied.
When complete, the building will look vastly different to its current state with the conservation works also restoring the facade’s original stony grey render colour.
“We look forward to this building taking its very prominent position in Camp St and for it to shine as it did in 1887,” he said.
Mr Wynne also announced $195,000 for the Ballarat Town Hall to replace the slate roof of A Hall and reinstate original drainage and materials, the first stage of a broader project to return the hall to its original design.
A $200,000 grant will help preserve Hut 48, the former Officers’ Mess at the former Ballarat RAAF Base, now Ballarat Airfield.
And a further $500,000 will be spent on Reid’s Coffee Palace, a former haunt for goldfields miners that now offers low-income housing, in addition to a $700,000 grant announced earlier this year.
“I was in Ballarat a while ago to announce significant funding for Reid’s Coffee Palace, which has been repurposed as a stable home for people who have been suffering from homelessness … and I’m pleased to say the extra $500,000 will be used for interior reconfiguration and further conservation work,” Mr Wynne said.