Transforming Main Street Ballan

Moorabool Shire Council in southwest Victoria has begun works on the Ballan Main Street project.

As one of Moorabool’s two main townships, Ballan has a small but growing population and is centrally located. Once a stopover on the goldfields route, the town has maintained its historical roots, with places of interest including churches, the Mill House, railway station, Mechanics’ Institute and the Court House.

The Mechanics’ Institute is a major element of the Main Street Project, with works during Stage 2 of the project specifically focused on increasing visitors to, and users of the facility.

Historically, Mechanics’ Institutes were educational establishments formed to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to working men. They were used as ‘libraries’ for the adult working class, and provided an alternative pastime to gambling and drinking in pubs.

Today, the Ballan Mechanics’ Institute houses the town library and a hall. The Main Street Project will redevelop the streetscape at the front of the Institute, and will see the courtyard of the town’s RSL revitalised to complement a recently painted memorial wall.

Moorabool Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Michael Tudball, said the Main Street Project is part of the Ballan Urban Design Framework, which aims to provide a vision for Ballan and promote viable and sustainable development.

“Council developed the framework in consultation with the local community to ensure that Ballan is attractive, convenient and accessible for residents and visitors,” he said. “The redeveloped streetscape will signal to the community the purpose of the Mechanics’ Institute building and make the entrance more welcoming, encouraging social engagement on the main street and adding to the beauty of the existing streetscape.”

Works also include the installation of a community chessboard and community art, and physical improvements to the streetscape, such as repairs to existing garden beds and the installation of new garden beds.

New signage will also be erected to identify and promote local businesses, tourism opportunities, community facilities, organisations and events in the main street.

The works are expected to be completed by the end of April.