The City of Ballarat will mark the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Ballarat Town Hall.
On 14 January 1870, the City of Ballarat’s first Mayor Cr Thomas Cowan laid the foundation stone for the Ballarat Town Hall.
At the time, he vowed to preserve the silver trowel he used for the rest of his life.
On the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone, Cr Cowan’s great grandson, Roger, and his wife Judy, have returned the trowel temporarily to the Town Hall, along with a large, framed portrait painted at the time.
The trowel and the portrait will be on display in the Ballarat Information Centre for a period of time.
Cr Cowan became a councillor in 1865 and Mayor of the then Borough of Ballarat in 1870. It was that year that Ballarat became a city, making him the first mayor of the City of Ballarat.
Cr Cowan laid the foundation stone for the present Town Hall on the 14th January 1870 and the Ballarat Star reported him saying:
“When I first came to Ballarat there were only a few wooden buildings on the western plateau. Since then the magnificent city which is now to be seen spreading out in every direction as far as the eye can reach has grown up under my own observation, and I think you will all agree with me that the world could show but very few instances of equally successful enterprise.”