(Hum to the tune of Delta Dawn)
Miss Civic ‘69, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded Begonia from days gone by?
And did I hear you say there was a-meeting here today?
Save’n this hall from bein’ a mansion in the sky
The Ballarat Civic Hall was designed and built on a post-war limited budget that relied on donations directly from citizens. The hall’s architecture reflects the utilitarian streamlined aesthetic of the time. Sixty years later renovations were due, leading the community to passionately debate the halls intrinsic value. This debate polarised the community with many citizens feeling that this ‘Plain Jane’ building was an old eye-sore, due for demotion, versus many others who felt the halls vast social memory was a treasure not to be wasted.
This social memory and cultural currency was due to the Civic Hall’s ability to accomodate a rich range of social events, such as balls, dances, music concerts to Country Women’s Association and bingo, to name a few. The Civic Hall also partnered with the iconic Ballarat Begonia Festival by hosting the Begonia Festival Debutante Ball that presented the Queen of Begonia.
Here, the Begonia Queen Miss Civic contemplates her victory speech with a thought bubble illustration titled STORM IN A TEACUP.
The crowned Miss Civic ’69, rides the moral high ground of cycling sustainability and virtue by reminding citizens that ‘Ballarat Bitter’ in all its grumpy-grey-storm-clouds of conservatism might have worked in the past but her contemporary antidote is a bright pink optimistic portrait of herself as Begonia Queen emblazoned outside the Civic Hall. This philanthropic art contributes to Ballarat’s respected tradition of civic memorial artworks that celebrate great citizens that inspire and uplift public spirit.