A prominent Ballarat building with a colourful and contentious history will finally reopen its doors.
Civic Hall will reopen on March 1, with a ribbon cutting and tours of the refurbished space.
A Begonia Ball will be held on March 2, a throwback to the hall’s 1950s heyday, with 600 tickets to be released for the event on Thursday morning through Her Majesty’s Theatre.
A vocal public campaign emerged to save the building early in this decade, after City of Ballarat floated a plan to demolish the building entirely.
Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said she was pleased the hall would be “a community space intended for everyone to enjoy”.
She said as regional Victoria’s largest flat floor auditorium, it will be capable of holding exhibitions, seminars and gaming competitions.
S.J. Weir Builders have carried out the $4.6 million internal refurbishment, which includes the 1300-seat-capacity main hall.
The stage will have a retractable wall to allow for a 100 seat theatre facing a secondary, smaller stage, which will be able to show movies.
But the works haven’t been all smooth sailing, with a palm tree planted along Creswick Road falling down in November.
Clarification: The external landscaping of the project including the palm trees is a separate council project from the hall refurbishment.
Ballarat construction business SJ Weir is currently contracted by Ballarat City Council on the restoration of the hall but is in no way associated or connected to the palm tree project on the site.