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125 Years-What a Great Achievement!

Launching the 125th Year of Ballarat Royal South Street: Mayor Cr Des Hudson, Catherine King Member for Ballarat and Peter Zala Deputy Chair Royal South Street.


In 1891, the first Royal South Street Society competitions were held in Ballarat and paved the way for future performers around the country to find their vocation and feet on stages both at home and abroad. Now Australia’s oldest and longest running eisteddfod, it has seen over one million aspiring singers, dancers, orators, writers, musicians and composers pass through its doors – including Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Alfred Deakin, Andrew Olle, Joan Kirner and David Hobson.

Last Thursday night Royal South Street launched its year long program of celebratory events with a great debate at Ballarat Town Hall, which featured a line up high profile debaters and adjudicators including Ballarat Mayor,Councilor Hudson and Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King.

The event acknowledged Royal South Street’s early beginnings as a debating society and paid tribute to the many and varied topics which have engaged, enraged and enamoured us as a community and country since the late 1800s. The evening also included the: Launch of the Royal South Street Society 125 website and South Street stories project which will capture and document the many remarkable stories and experiences of all those who have been involved with the Eisteddfod over the years; and Royal South Street highlights over the decades with performances from the Ballarat National Theatre.

The debate was fittingly sponsored by Baird McGregor, with its two founders winning both the debating and essay sections at the very first competitions in 1891, taking first prize for “The Most Urgent Social Reforms” and “The Nobility of Labour’ and “Recreation.’ Royal South Street’s yearlong 125 celebrations are proudly sponsored by PPT and includes the restoration of the W D Hill (Founder of Royal South Street) Gravestone Restoration; Royal South Street Stories; and Black Tie Fundraiser Dinner amongst a number of other events.