Solid base: City of Ballarat mayor, Cr Ben Taylor with the original mayor’s family, Vaughn Cowan, Roger Cowan, his wife Judy Cowan and Vaughn’s wife, Marion Cowan. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

City celebrates Town Hall construction

January 19, 2020 BY

ON 14 January, one hundred and fifty years ago, the Borough of Ballarat’s first mayor, Cr Thomas Cowan laid the current Town Hall’s foundation stone with “one or two scientific flourishes.”

This anniversary was celebrated on Tuesday morning, with the original, preserved 1870 trowel used to lay the stone on site, provided by Cr Cowan’s great-grandson, Roger Cowan.

In 1870, Cr Cowan promised to preserve the trowel used to lay the Town Hall’s foundation stone.

He was pleased to celebrate the occasion, share the trowel, a portrait of Cr Cowan, and the “special” history with more people.

He said his great-grandfather would be “honoured” to see Ballarat as it is today, having also been part of the early city as an engineer.

“We have our forebears to thank for their great foresight in building this Town Hall,” Mr Cowan said.

“We wish everyone all the best for the future as Ballarat grows in stature as one of, if not the top regional city in Victoria.”

City of Ballarat mayor, Cr Ben Taylor said the Cowan family have been “very generous” loaning the “precious” trowel and portrait to the city, potentially until the end of the anniversary year.

“The trowel was gifted to Cr Cowan by the Ballarat and Ballarat East Water Commission, where he was the chairman from 1871 to 1873. That commission now is Central Highlands Water,” he said.

“The trowel and the portrait will be on display at the Town Hall for a period of time.”