It had long been on the minds of Ballarat councillors to create a gathering space within the Town Hall for special occasions, but this was not seriously addressed until the beginning of the twentieth century. This impressive hall was part of a new addition to the Town Hall built between 1911 and 1912.1
There have been many different events held here over the years. In 1925, 60 American Navy officers were invited to Ballarat to attend a mayoral ball.2 Just imagine the excitement of attending the Ballarat centenary ball here in 1938. Close to 500 guests attended, including the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and his wife, and all were treated to a slice of the 100 pound (that’s about 45 kilograms) centenary cake created especially for the occasion.3 Patriotic war-time fundraisers were also held here. On 4 June 1941, over 800 dancers took to the floor to raise money for the Red Cross.4
While it is not hard to conjure images of the balls and celebrations held in this room, it is also clear that they are a distant memory. For many years, the hall has been far from its former glory. Buildings like this one face many challenges in the twenty-first century. Social change has seen grand, communal spaces fall into disuse and be divided up for other purposes. Partial walls, mezzanine spaces and staircases have been added to the Town Hall to suit how we use it today. However, the A Hall is on the mend.
The City of Ballarat is revitalising this spectacular hall with the help of State Government heritage grants.5 There is much to be gained by conserving our historic buildings; they help us to remember the past and shape who we are in the present. And who knows? Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, gala balls will return to this space once again.
 Lovell, 1995, p. 27.
 The Argus, 24 July 1925, p. 13.
 The Argus, 9 March 1938, p. 7.
 The Age, 5 June 1941, p. 3.
 Michelle Smith, ‘Heritage boost for Ballarat landmarks’, The Courier, 31 August 2017, www.thecourier.com.au/story/4893979/facelift-for-crumbling-hall/, accessed 12 June 2018.