Topical subjects dominate the Eisteddfod’s literary competition, including Australian Literary Achievements in the Twentieth Century, The Machine Age and its Effect on Human LifeThe Australian Debt to the Aboriginal Race and The Problem of Hospital Finance in Australia.

Passionate supporter of South Street Dame Nellie Melba dies.


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.


Radio 3BA broadcasts for half an hour on the first night of the Sun Aria and the Duke of Gloucester attends the afternoon session of the Band Contest. The contests prove so popular that applications are made for a state holiday and bank holiday to allow people time off to watch bands compete from around the country.

Events at City Oval include Highland dancing, pipe band contests and quick step contest, with teams from H.M.S. Sussex and H.M.S. Dunedin participating in a tug-o’-war event.


South Street leases the Coliseum to Paramount Pictures to screen the ‘talkies.’


Contrary to sceptics who said it would never capture the public interest, the Mouth Organ Band Contest is greeted with rapturous applause. A suggestion is made that Banjo and Steel Guitar be included at the next Competitions.

Disaster! The Coliseum, which seats 8,000 patrons, burns down is “destroyed in 35 minutes.’ A stunned Ballarat public views the ruins as South Street is left without a home. Letters of sympathy pour in from all over the Commonwealth and the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and Premier of South Australia offer to host the 1937 competitions. Instead, a “Carry On” Appeal is launched and donations provide the funds to move the 1937 Eisteddfod to the Alfred Hall.

The Ballarat National Theatre is founded and the first production, “The Barretts of Wimpole Street is performed at the Alfred Hall two years later.

His Majesty King George V dies and the Committee offers their heartfelt sympathy to members of the Royal family.


Ballarat born Betty Pounder wins the Classical Ballet Solo and the following year wins a scholarship to study in London. After the outbreak of World War II, she joins the Entertainments National Service Association, much to her parents dismay, who insist she return home when they discover she is performing on stage  on the battlefields of France.

Due to the polio epidemic, the Committee determines that no competitors under 16 years of age are permitted to enter the Eisteddfod from Metropolitan areas.

The ABC pays 200 pounds to South Street for broadcasting rights and reports the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart on her round the world flight.


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.


Competitors are put on edge when the Committee introduces the idea of ringing a bell for competitors whom Judges believe have no chance of being placed. After many complaints, the practice is discontinued.

The ABC puts in a request to bring their Orchestra to Ballarat for the Society’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, while a proposal is put forward to include Flute solos as part of the Eisteddfod’s program.

Prime Minister Robert Menzies becomes a Patron of South Street and in the same year announces Australia is at with war Nazi Germany.


South Street celebrates its 50th year of competitions and for the first time in many years the “house full” sign is posted outside the Alfred Hall when the final night of the Calisthenics is held. Debating is deleted for the first time from the competitions, not to return until 1997.

The first busts to make up the Prime Ministers Avenue in Ballarat are unveiled including Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton.

The Sun News agrees to hold the Semi Final of the Sun Aria in Ballarat with first prize worth 130 guineas, second prize 30 guineas and third prize 20 guineas.