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2024 Competition dates: 11 October - 30 October

Venue: Founders Theatre, Mt Helen

Calisthenics clubs throughout Australia are welcome to enter teams into the Royal South Street Society Australian Calisthenics Competition. 

In 2024 we celebrate 100 years of Graceful Solo!  We hope to be able to showcase this wonderful event and the Calisthenics Solo Final at the newly renovated Her Majesty's Theatre. 

See below for more information about the centenary of the Graceful Solo....

We have partnered with myStage to create an innovative competition management system that helps our volunteers and staff run a smooth event. Lighting sheets, music files and DLPs can all be uploaded in preparation for your competition.

A myStage account is required.

Australian Calisthenics Competition

Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod’s Australian Calisthenics Competition commenced in 1903 and today is one of the largest competitions in the country. The Eisteddfod has hosted competing clubs from WA, SA, NSW, ACT, QLD and of course Victoria.

Our Eisteddfod platform offers a unique chance for personal and team growth and improvement and showcases the unique combination of dancing, singing, gymnastics, technical and leaderships skills that Calisthenics nurtures through friendship and teamwork.

In 2024 we are excited to return to the beautiful Her Majesty's Theatre stage for the Australian Calisthenics Competition. We look forward to once again seeing the vibrant calisthenics teams throughout the city of Ballarat! 

Proudly supported by

100 Years of Graceful Solo

In 2024 the Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod Calisthenics Graceful Solo will proudly celebrate 100 years! This event will be widely celebrated and we invite you to join us!

Royal South Street Society has hosted the most prestigious calisthenics competition in Australia since 1903 and continues to be a major supporter and promoter of calisthenics development in this country. In 1924, Royal South Street Society introduced the inaugural Graceful Girl Solo and the section has become synonymous as the most presitigious event in the Eisteddfod calendar.

Proudly celebrating 100 years of Graceful Solo in 2024, it is still the most esteemed calisthenics solo competition in Australia.

Keep your eye on our website for further information...

"My advice for anyone dreaming of entering this incredible competition would be to continue to believe in yourself. We must remember things won't always go our way but that is not a reason to give up. Continue fighting for your dreams and do it for yourself. Enjoy every moment of it, because you never know when it will end. Solos are made special by how you perform it and the heart and soul you show to the audience. Dream the impossible and speak into existence." Honoria Roffey 2022 winner

The winner of the 2023 Peace & Quiet Graceful Solo was Elyse Pavan

News

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Graceful Solo Winner 2023 – Elyse Pavan

Her Maj

Update from the City of Ballarat in relation to Her Majesty’s Theatre for 2024

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Winning the Prestigious Calisthenics Solo Trophy

Ron Harrington

Dawn and Ron Harrington O.A.M. Devote 40 Years to Royal South Street Society

Stories

Learn more about the Calisthenics discipline from our collection of stories, historical records and media....

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Daughters of Dance

Ballet Dancers

Iron Maidens of Dance

Kate Williams

125 Logo Designer shares a three generation history with South Street

John Stapp

John Stapp

Explore

Explore our history timeline

The calisthenics discipline was first included in the eisteddfod in 1903 and is currently the discipline that attracts the most amount of participants.

1903

Calisthenics becomes an integral part of South Street and remains a uniquely Australian sport, having originated in Victoria in the 1800s during the gold rush. Entries continue to flow in, with 1000 people participating in the literary and elocution sections and another 1500 competing in the vocal and instrumental sections. Alfred Deakin, one of South Street’s keenest supporters, becomes Australia’s second Prime Minister.

1903

Calisthenics becomes an integral part of South Street and remains a uniquely Australian sport, having originated in Victoria in the 1800s during the gold rush.

Entries continue to flow in, with 1000 people participating in the literary and elocution sections and another 1500 competing in the vocal and instrumental sections.

Alfred Deakin, one of South Street’s keenest supporters, becomes Australia’s second Prime Minister.

1915

Prime Minister Billy Hughes gives a masterly oration on support for the war effort at the opening of the Competition, with profits donated to Red Cross as part of the war effort.

Australia continues to commit hundreds of thousands of troops to the British war effort and its sense of national identity as a newly independent country is forged with the fall of many at Gallipoli.

The first Highland Pipe Band Contest whips up support and enthusiasm at South Street and due to the overwhelming popularity of the contests, special cheap excursion trains are run from Melbourne to Ballarat and schools within a radius of 30 miles are given the day off.

Calisthenics is also a major attraction with over 100 teams entering.

1921

After the war, enthusiasm for Brass Bands and Choral work pushes the South Street Society to greater heights. Six thousand entries are received from every Australian state and for the first time, some have to be rejected, with 20 choirs, 48 bands and 150 calisthenics teams keen to compete.

‘Tides of visitors flow in and out, filling hotel, boarding-house and bed-and-breakfast accommodation, putting smiles on the faces of the proprietors of café and fish-and-chip shops.’ Weston Bate, Life after Gold.

Ballarat West and East Councils finally amalgamate and W D Hill, founder of South Street, becomes the first Mayor of Ballarat Citycr-w-d-hill

John Brownlee wins the gold medal as champion vocalist at the South Street having never had a singing lesson his life and abandons accountancy to sing full time. In 1926 he would sing with Dame Nelle Melba in La Boheme in Covent Garden at her farewell performance.

The first live radio broadcast from South Street takes place and W D Hill dies in office after 42 years of remarkable service to the Eisteddfod and Ballarat community.

1924

The Grand Opera contest becomes the Sun Aria competition and is won by Lawrence Power from South Australia. Since 1924, the Herald Sun Aria has never been won by the same competitor twice and throughout its history has provided young opera singers with the opportunity to take their talent to the world.

As one winner commented

“A win at South Street is the hallmark that leads to fame.’

The “Most Graceful Physical Culture Girl” is introduced into the Calisthenics Section.

Permission is granted to Mr. Warne Wilson to install a radio to broadcast the Competitions from the Coliseum.

1932

The Calisthenics Section grows with the inclusion of a Dancing Section, which was won by Dorothy Gladstone who would become an Adjudicator for the new section in the following year.

Tens of thousands attend the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the ABC is established with South Street winner, Bernard Heinz, appointed two years later as the national broadcaster’s musical advisor.

A nation stops as the news of Phar Lap’s mysterious death in America emerges.

1938

As part of Ballarat’s Centenary year, a “Back to South Street Vocal Championship” is held and is open to all former competitors.

The Champion Juvenile Choral Contest is re-named the Choral Contest Under 16 years of age, and Dancing and Calisthenics become separate sections, with the suggestion that Greek Dancing be added to the mix.

Ballarat’s Floral Festival begins and its first floral carpet is displayed.

The Ballarat National Theatre is founded and the first production, ‘The Barretts of Wimple Street, is performed at the Alfred Hall.

1949

A special meeting of the South Street Society is called to consider whether the Competitions should proceed in view of the polio epidemic sweeping Victoria. It is resolved that competitors under 15 years of age not compete and the Junior Calisthenics Section is also cancelled.

A concert is held to establish a Percy Campbell Memorial Prize to be awarded annually to the Ballarat boy or girl who secures the highest marks in the Piano Solo under 14 years. Although partially blind since birth, Campbell had perfect pitch.

Aboriginal people become Australian citizens.

The Louie Dunn Prize is established in memory of one of Ballarat’s noted teachers of Speech and Dramatic Art.  It was established to be the pre-eminent award for Drama in an eisteddfod in Australia, and it remains so.

1970

Mr A W Steane, who was instrumental in forming the Calisthenics Section in 1903 dies aged 93 and Sovereign Hill opens in Ballarat showcasing Australia and the region’s remarkable goldrush history.

1974

Deputy Premier, Lindsay Thompson attends a special dinner to celebrate the Sun Aria’s 50th anniversary, while The Most Graceful Physical Culture Girl Contest also celebrates half a century of competition.

Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin on Christmas Eve.

1976

South Street receives a record number of entries with 1646 calisthenics teams and 72 Graceful Girls.

An invitation is extended to a special supper party to celebrate foundation president of the Victorian Calisthenics Assocation Vera Hopton, who both competed in South Street and coached many young hopefuls.

1988

New Parliament House opens in Canberra as part of the Bicentenary celebrations and the Sun News Pictorial increases first place prize money for the Most Graceful Calisthenics Girl to $1000

Royal South Street continues its campaign to raise funds for Her Majesty’s and the Victorian State Orchestra gives a concert to support the theatre restoration appeal.

The Dickens Fellowship donates a prize for a prepared reading from Dickens in the Speech and Drama section.

1994

Richard Bayly is awarded an Order of Australia for services to music and the Most Graceful Girl Competition celebrates a 70th birthday.

Dancing sections prove more popular than ever with two thirds of competitors travelling from Melbourne and the Courier Ballad is held in the Diocesan Centre due to an overwhelming number of entries.

2015

Girton Grammar’s Junior School Performance Choir wins the 2015 Royal South Street Eisteddfod.

“This year their performance has been lauded by internationally acclaimed opera star, Suzanne Johnston, and Douglas Heywood, OAM, as one of the finest children’s choirs they have heard in a very long time.”

Headmaster, Matthew Maruff.

Her Majesty’s Theatre celebrates 140 years, opening in 1875 as the Academy of Music. After re-modelling in 1898, the theatre was relaunched as her Majesty’s Theatre in recognition of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Graceful Girl Competition and the Herald Sun Aria both mark their 90th birthday.

Planning begins for Royal South Street 125 and Les Holloway and the Historical Committee begin work on 125 Years of South Street History.

2023

Calisthenics Victoria announced their decision to no longer be affiliated with the Australian Calisthenics Federation in order to strengthen the viability and sustainability of the sport in Victoria. CaliVic committed to supporting, connecting and working with other states, including access to newly developed programs and resources.

This decision meant changes to competition rules from 2024.