Rex’s Snippits | Is it AA or A in Ballaarat?

Extract from the Heritage Victoria Register BMI statement of significance.

“The Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute in Ballarat was built in two main stages, in 1860-61 and in 1869-70. The Institute had first met unofficially in 1854, with space provided for the first reading room in the Ballarat Fire Brigade building, but a site for a new Institute building was granted in Sturt Street in 1856. The institute was inaugurated by a public meeting in 1859, with the first president being JB Humffray (1824-1891), the Secretary of the Ballaarat Reform League, which had been founded by the diggers in 1854 and instigated the Eureka uprising.“

So, which is correct? Ballaarat or Ballarat. The answer is that both are correct, but Ballaarat is more correct than Ballarat, as far as the BMI is concerned, the registration shows ‘aa’ as the official spelling, but a single ‘a’ is listed under ‘other known names’ . 

The BMI has retained the ‘aa’ long after others in Ballaarat have reverted to ‘a’, as a casual reading of printed headings and advertising will show. 

The song, Ball-aa-rat has been sung with gusto since it was published, it could be heard repeated over and over on tourist radio by our own Frank Callahan and his one man band.


Photograph - Digital image, Frank Callahan One Man Band with his instruments on the back of truck | Image Victorian Collections, Photo: Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens History Group

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