Monday, 29 October 2018

Ballarat celebrates the end of the war

Ballarat like the rest of the country held  joyous celebrations on the news that the war was over. The news of the armistice reached here at 8.15 pm on the 11th November when it was posted on the bulletin boards outside the newspaper offices.  There were many people occupying the streets at that time but the news quickly spread emptying people in pubs and other establishments into the streets.  Cheers erupted around Ballarat.  Fire bells at the two fire stations rang and whistles on trains in the railway station blew bringing many more people into the streets.  Crowds rushed to City Hall where it was expected an official announcement would be made.  See below for a couple of newspaper reports about the celebrations.

The following day, the 12th November, was declared a public holiday and was a more solemn day when church services were held and an official service was conducted in front of the Town Hall, when the Mayor read out messages he had sent to the King, General Foch and General Monash.  Following this "Peace Perfect Peace" was sung.  The afternoon saw many more joyous celebrations down Sturt St at the Titanic Bandstand.  The processions  from the previous night were re-activated  as soldiers, bands, cars and motor bikes,  the Lucas team, school children, nurses all arrived at the bandstand for another service. It was the largest gathering ever held in Ballarat to that time.  The two Mayors of Ballarat presided. Prayers were said, "Australia Will Be There" was sung, as well as "Keep the Home Fires Burning" and "Nearer My God to Thee".

After the Last Post and the singing of The National Anthem the purging of pent-up emotions was over.

Ballarat Star 12 November 1918

Ballarat Star 12 November 1918
Crowd in front of Ballarat Town Hall, 12 November 1918.   Courtesy Melbourne Museum

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