Oct 18

Another win at VCAT

This from our correspondent within the Orphanage site team…

The Historic and social significant site is heritage with Heart!

Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) today (17 October 2014)

Direction Hearing

A small group of former residents made their way to Melbourne to attend the VCAT  meeting, also the council defense and developers lawyers were also present.

The meeting was to see where all parties were at present with their appreciations and outcome results from Council meetings. The developers submitted an appreciation to VCAT  to have all former orphanage buildings demolished except the Kenny Memorial Toddlers Block and to make an entrance in the Stawell Street Brick wall. Bascially they wanted to overturn the Ballarat Council decision to save a lot of the site.

In reply Legal representative for Council stated that the Council decision had not changed, that the School House Building along with the Stawell street wall was to remain intact and not to be demolished.

The lawyer for the Victoria Street Developers had stated the developers had withdrawn their decision to demolish  the school house and Stawell Street wall; what former residents called the Wailing Wall. We were stunned with what their lawyer had said.

The former orphanage site buildings which will be saved from demolition are the Toddlers Block, the old School House buildings and the Stawell Street Wall. These buildings will all remain intact on the former orphanage site.

The Re- Zoning of the site is still in the Minister of Planning and no decision has been made.

Three years ago we rallied over 100 people to walk from the Alexandra Babies Home in Scotts Parade to the Former Ballarat Orphanage in Victoria Street in a friendly protest to save the site.

This shows no matter how small of a group unite stand your ground and stay truly in your beliefs  you can achieve your goals. This outcome could not have been achieved without the former residents submissions sharing their stories, the Ballarat City Council  decisions and support the  wider community, especially Trades Hall and Ballarat East Network in their tremendous support.

My personal feelings? I’m ecstatic at the outcome today and many thanks to the developers for a change of heart.

Thanks so much to Ballarat Councillors and the Community, Trades Hall, Ballarat East Network and all the former residents who from day one stuck it out right to the end.  Thanks Deb.

Hard work, hard yards and sticking together. Great words Deb, thank you for fighting so hard. Here are two films made about the work.

Forgotten Australian’s from Erin M McCuskey on Vimeo.

And this one is Deb’s story:

deb’s story from Erin M McCuskey on Vimeo.


  1. Liam Davison says:

    The orphanage site is becoming more and more unsightly and unsafe by the day,grafitti everywhere, smashed windows, building structures seriously dilapidated. When is this site going to be properly looked after? Council should require the developers to either clean the site up or pay council or a contractor to do this for them.

  2. Wonderful news and well done Former Residents, Staff and Supporters. It took nearly two years of determination and fighting spirit but the cause was just and justice prevailed. Look forward now to working with the Developers to see the protected buildings reflect the wishes of the Former Residents and Staff and stand as a physical reminder of their stories, hopes and dreams. Trades Hall stands ready to assist wherever we can and looks forward to the future where we can attend some formal opening of what may be.

  3. Sue Lanyon says:

    Thanks Be Network and Frank. Looking forward to futher updates – It would seem that the builiding phase is quite some way off then. Regards, Sue

  4. Sue Lanyon says:

    Can you tell me what the current develpment plans are in the light of the 17 Oct decision?

    many thanks, Sue

    • BE Network says:

      Best to contact the City direct Sue, there may be no set plan yet given the lack of rezoning. The council may well ask developers to resubmit given the requested changes the developers have agreed to. Contact City of Ballarat Planning Department 5320 5500

    • Hi Sue. My understanding is that after the legal formalities are completed (zoning changes, etc), the developers (200 Victoria Street Developments Pty Ltd) will now submit a development plan for the site. This plan requires the heritage-protected elements (the toddlers’ block, the school, the brick wall and the memorial garden etc) to remain intact and for some agreed plan for the celebration of the heritage of the site (plaques, foundation stones and other memorabilia).

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