The Ballaarat Restaurant opened in June 2011 and occupies the ground floor of the Majestic Ballaarat Club. The Building has a unique history dating back to 1888 when it was first constructed. The building consists of elegant and sophisticated rooms including Bar eighteen88, The Tunbridge Room and the restaurant in the original Ballroom.
The Ballaarat Club was established as a gentleman’s club along traditional London lines in 1872. Its founding members included some of Ballarat’s leading identities of the time such as Judge Robert Trench, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rede (the army commander that put down the Eureka Rebellion), William Collard Smith (a mining entrepreneur and a mayor of Ballarat), and T. D. Wanliss (the proprietor of local newspaper the Ballarat Star). At the heart of the club was a desire to encourage social interaction between gentlemen from a similar social class. In the main, members of the club came from the professional, civic and pastoral elite. Many of Ballarat’s more established families have been well represented on past membership lists.
The Baallarat Club at 203 Dana Street is designed in Victorian Free Classical style. It features bay windows upstairs and down, a red brick facade with stonework detailing, large sash windows, archways and Italianate ballustrading. The clubhouse, which has only seen a few changes to its building and grounds over the years, remains largely intact and is one of the few buildings in Ballarat that still retains most of its past majesty. Interestingly, the clubhouse is a rarity in as much as the building was designed and purpose built as a clubhouse.
Ballarat is a Victorian provincial city built on the fortunes made through the mining of gold in the surrounding area, and at the time the Club was built, Ballarat was one of the wealthiest cities in Australia, if not the world. Much work was done to build magnificent civic buildings, but the extravagance extended to domestic architecture and buildings for private functions such as the Ballaarat Club as well. This building would have been just such a statement of wealth and exclusivity, built on a grand scale and situated well back from the road.