Royal South Street Society celebrates 100 years of competitions with a stellar cast of stars past and present performing in a special centenary concert – with dancers David Kierce and Joanne Bradley and former Sun Aria winners Rosemary Boyle and Raymond Myers. And the  Sun Aria changes it name to the Herald Sun Aria.

The Premier of Victorian, the Hon. Joan Kirner, also a past South Street winner, officially opens the competitions.

Jan Russ, casting director for Neighbours, is appointed Adjudicator for the TV auditions and one successful prize winner gets a guernsey and joins Ramsay Street locals on the long running Australian soap.

A special Centenary Essay Competition is launched with winners presented with specially struck Centenary medallions and prize money.

Mrs Barb Dunlop becomes the first female to be elected to the Royal South Street Society Committee.


“The Grand National Eisteddfod of Australia” is registered as a Business name and Royal South Street initiates a meeting of Eisteddfod Societies nationally.


Keeping pace with the times, new successful sections are added to the Competition’s program including Contemporary Choral and Modern Vocal Ensembles. A weekend Play Festival is also introduced with adjudicators Julian Oldfield and Peter Tullock.

The Mechanics Institute is used for the Brass Bands’ warm-up.

The Federal Minister for Arts, Senator Bob McMullan visits the Eisteddfod and a civic reception is held for Jason Wasley, Herald Sun Aria Winner.


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.


The new Country and Western Section kicks off along with the Royal South Street and Bridge Mall Traders Brass Band Marching and Entertainment Championships.

The “Community Event of the Year” award is received by Ron Morgan on behalf of the committee.


After a 47 year absence, the Society re-introduces the Highland Pipe Band.

The W.S. Hooper Prize is put towards Speech and Drama and two new Sections are introduced – Story Telling and Acting in Pairs


Bill Morell, a long time competitor who has yet to win a place at South Street, decides to take a shot in the Modern Vocal Section. His reason being…

“I have to keep going so I don’t think I’m dead. It’s just good to stand on stage in a place of this calibre and meet lots of nice people. It’s been very enjoyable.”

A committee meeting discusses the issue of whistling during the competitions but it was determined ‘nothing could be done to stop it happening.’


Barb Dunlop becomes the first female President of the Royal South Street Society which began 120 year earlier in 1879 as the Young Men’s General Debating Society.

The Herald Sun Aria celebrates 75 years, with Maxine Montgomery a Ballarat Soprano one of six finalists selected to compete for a Grand Prize of $10,000 cash and $20,000 scholarship for overseas tuition. The evening was compered by Roger Lemke, the son and grandson of one of Ballarat’s famous singing families, and winner of the Aria in 1985.

“…The Herald Sun Aria is well established as one of the finest singing competitions in the country, with a healthy future for the next generations of performers.”

South Street runs a unique Highland Pipe Competition with a live cross to 3BA

Royal South Street is numbered in the top three most valuable Ballarat’s most valuable icons and the City of Ballarat recognises the remarkable work of South Street’s volunteers by hosting a Civic Reception.


Sydney hosts the 2000 Olympics and a new millennium begins.