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Ararat’s majestic Town Hall and Performing Arts Centre boasts a somewhat dramatic history!
In 1863, market sheds were built on a site in central Ararat. By 1866, the sheds, which remained largely unused, were converted into a temporary Town Hall.
After 25 years of meetings in the ‘temporary’ hall, the Council of the day agreed to borrow £5000 raised through 50 £50 debentures to build a new Town Hall.
Plans were drawn by Ballarat architectural form, Molloy and Smith, and builder James Irwin was engaged. The foundation stone was laid on November 30, 1898. This long-awaited milestone was marked in Ararat with a procession of school children, the local fire brigade, rangers and the local band along Barkly Street to the Market Square.
The much anticipated completion of the Town Hall was celebrated about less than a year later, on October 18, 1899, with a concert during the afternoon and a Grand Ball in the evening.
Although majestic and grand, the Town Hall was built without the clocks that grace the existing building. These weren’t added until June 1932 with a donation to the people of Ararat from the McDonald family of Mount Ararat.