Ballarat Market pushes on following Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society announcement of Mount Rowan move

Smaller crowds: Attendees at the Ballarat Market on December 31. The market has experienced reduced patron numbers over the last few years. Picture: Jeremy Bannister
Smaller crowds: Attendees at the Ballarat Market on December 31. The market has experienced reduced patron numbers over the last few years. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

The organisers of the Ballarat Market are coming to terms with a potential premises move out of the city’s CBD, but remain committed to keeping the event going.

On June 4 the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society revealed it would be shifting to Federation University’s Mount Rowan facility, after more than 80 years of operation at the existing showgrounds. 

The Ballarat Show, formerly the Trash and Trivia Market, launched in November 1979 and has been operated from the Ballarat Showgrounds by the Rotary Club of Ballarat South. 

Rotary Club of Ballarat South president Paul Barrett said the club is determined to keep the market going, with no decision made about with its final home. 

“Because we’re a rotary club, this is not a for-profit business,” he said. “All the profit gets plowed into the community, and we’ll make the decisions which give the maximum return for the community.”

“We want to keep it going, there’s no way known we’re going to shut it down unless we’re forced to.”

Mr Barrett said the question was what the new site could offer the new market, with negotiations to begin in the coming weeks. 

“In Ballarat, you do need a large clear-span events precinct. Ballarat’s aching for it,” Mr Barrett said. “One of the issues of the market is the weather, if it’s a bad day, it impacts our market considerably. So we do look forward to new facilities.”

BAPS is in the final stages of negotiating the sale of the 16.2-hectare site which sits on the edge of the Midland Highway and Rose Hill Road. In 2014, the society secured $5 million in funding from the state government for new infrastructure. 

BAPS executive officer Lucy Quartermain told The Courier capacity issues were forcing the Ballarat Show to be held across venues. 

It is expected the move will occur in the next five years. 

The Ballarat Market, which is open every Sunday, has been overhauled over the last year in response to reduced patron numbers, with a renewed focus on food, family and floral options.

“We got wiped out with the weather a couple of times, but when we’ve had kids rides on there’s been quite a bit of interest,” Mr Barrett said.

The rotary club has contributed more than $8 million to the community.