Rediscovering the Town Hall vaults

IMAGINE BALLARAT EAST: A new local area plan for Ballarat East, driven by the local community


A collection of stories

Built up since the 1850s, the historic collections ‘vault’ at Ballarat Town Hall consists of written records, ledgers, framed photographs and artworks, maps, ephemera and more, documenting Council operations and important moments in Ballarat’s heritage over the last 160 years. These are currently stored in the upper rooms of the Town Hall which are not publicly accessible, and so opening up the collection with technology provides an opportunity to interact with it in new ways. Utilising digital mediums means that we can make the collection accessible to those both within and outside of Ballarat.

Starting to tell the stories of the City's Town Hall collection helps bring it to life...


Palais powdered floor wax by City of Ballarat on Sketchfab

Explore the Vault in 3D

In March 2017, Council asked Digital Heritage Australia to create 3D scans of items from the historic collections vault, which can now be viewed and manipulated from all angles utilising gaming technology. Those scanned included a mining pick used on the Ballarat goldfields, a box of wax powder used to polish the A-Hall dancefloor after social events, a relay torch from the 1956 Olympics, and many more. These have been published on the City’s Sketchfab platform in an open-source format for anyone to download and use. Each object is accompanied by a short description of its significance to Ballarat. Have a go at playing with the animations here!

Lead melting crucible by City of Ballarat on Sketchfab

Videos from the Vault

Alongside the 3D scans, Council also commissioned local company Wind & Sky Productions to produce short film clips on groups of items from the collection, starring consultant curator Roger Trudgeon, former manager of the Gold Museum. Throughout the clips, Roger uses his sense of humour and local knowledge to explore the intriguing stories embodied by parts of the historic collection, which were previously locked away.