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Ballarat Town Hall Audio Tour - "If these walls could talk"

22 November 2018

Media Alert

What: Launch of the Ballarat Town Hall Audio Tour "If these walls could talk"

Who: Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh and Dr William Pryor AO

When: Thursday 22 November, 11.30am

Where: Ballarat Town Hall


The Ballarat Town Hall has stood at its current Sturt Street site for more than 150 years, with thousands of people visiting the building annually.

However, there has been very little information available to help visitors understand its history.

To rectify this, guided tours were started earlier this year and now there is an alternative for people wanting to explore the building using just their smart phone, the Ballarat Town Hall Audio Tour.

Called “If These Walls Could Talk”, the Audio Tour features 10 stops signified by wall markers linking to online content, including audio, images and written information about both the building and the many people and objects that have brought it to life over the years.

Topics covered in the tour include Ballarat’s first female mayor Jessie Scott, the former glory of the A Hall as a grand reception and ballroom, and the story of how the magnificent Alfred Bells were installed in the bell tower.

The audio is voiced by City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh, Clare Rasmussen, granddaughter of Jessie Scott, Maurice Dale, son of former hall keeper Lyle Dayle and current hall keeper Matthew Deeks.

The project delivers on a key initiative in the City of Ballarat’s Heritage Plan (2017) to ‘promote the use of innovative and inclusive mediums’ when telling local stories, to appeal to a more diverse range of visitors.

Tour flyers are available at the Visitor Information Centre and the Town Hall’s front desk, which have a map showing the tour stops and a link to the audio housed on a mobile-friendly website.

People can also access the material through the HUL Ballarat website without being at the Town Hall, although walking around the building has the added benefit of seeing the features in each room that the audio refers to.

The tour complements a project overseen by City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh over the past year to put many of the building’s historic portraits and objects back on display.

One of these objects, an honour board naming Ballarat councillors from the 1920s through to the 1990s’ amalgamation period, has recently been returned to the Town Hall from the Ballarat Gold Museum, at the request of Dr William Pryor AO, a descendant of Joseph Pryor, who was mayor in 1928, 1936 and 1943.

For more information, go to: http://www.hulballarat.org.au/townhall.php