The former Ballarat orphanage and school will receive heritage protection, making way for new development while conserving a historic site near the Ballarat CBD.
Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has approved a planning amendment that specifies what can be built on the site, along with heritage conditions.
The planning amendment will allow for residential development, a medical centre, supermarket and shops. Community consultation identified broad support for building on the site so long as its heritage was protected.
As well as paving the way for future development, Mr Wynne has ensured the site’s history is protected.
The former orphanage is historically sensitive for the local Aboriginal community and was home to children of the stolen generation. The planning amendment will protect and conserve significant parts of the site.
The Ballarat orphanage and school are on 5.2 hectares of land about two kilometres from the Ballarat CBD. It was sold to a developer in 2011.
The developer can now submit plans to Ballarat City Council. Both parties and the community now have certainty around the site’s future.
Before Mr Wynne approved a planning amendment, Victoria Police worked with the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria to investigate the site.
The orphanage and school are registered under the Aboriginal Heritage Act. Any development on the grounds must be consistent with the site’s cultural heritage management plan.
Planning changes acknowledge the site’s past as orphanage, children’s home and school. Protected areas include the former school house, toddler’s block, a memorial garden, significant trees, plaques, foundation stones and a wall on Stawell Street.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne
“Planning rules need to protect community heritage as well as allow for new development.”
“New planning rules for the Ballarat orphanage and school site will allow the site to evolve and serve the community in new ways, while respecting the site’s historic past.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong, Geoff Howard
“This is a great result for the people of Ballarat, promoting growth while preserving our important history and heritage.”
“I commend the community and Ballarat City Council for their leadership in recognising and protecting these values.”