Our Royal History

The Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod stands as Australia’s premier Eisteddfod, boasting an illustrious heritage of delivering outstanding performance opportunities since 1891. Our enduring commitment to fostering and showcasing talent places us at the pinnacle of the Australian cultural and artistic landscape.

The inaugural Grand Annual Eisteddfod of Australasia was held in Ballarat in 1891, attracting some 260 entrants who performed across 10 days of competition. Is it possible our founders then, dared to imagine, that their vision for fostering the performing arts would continue into the twenty first century?

Throughout this time, the Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod has only ever been cancelled twice! Once during World War 2, and then all live performances were cancelled in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic tightened its grip on the entire world. Navigating the changing restrictions and conditions of COVID-19 was challenging world-wide for a two year period, with online video entries being adjudicated in some categories, before returning to a new normal in 2022.

Post Covid, the Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod has returned to its former glory with a full suite of disciplines on offer. We provide a stage where performers can learn, develop and flourish as they showcase their talents. 

01 Debating Society Hall Skipton Street Ballarat Copy
Bag 0556 07 1897 Barkly St Methodist Choir 1024x724


Explore our History Through the Decades

From 1891 to now.... Our extraordinary history has uncovered and inspired generations of talented artists, developed and promoted new disciplines, welcomed visitors from all over the country, united and entertained generations, and enriched hundreds of thousands of lives though the performing arts, placing Royal South Street Society at the pinnacle of the Australian cultural and artistic landscape.

Pure Performance Gold

The Royal South Street Society’s collection of historical facts has been compiled into a rich timeline full of remarkable stories and moments – often quirky, frequently moving and always interesting. This was made possible because of the time, commitment and passion of our many volunteers and supporters, with organisations and individuals sharing their knowledge, images and archives, including:

Les Holloway, David Callinan and the Royal South Street Society’s Historic Committee and Team Archive, Winkipop Media, The Courier, Australian Geographic, The Victorian Bar Oral History, The Victorian Heritage Database, Federation University Australia, Win Television, City of Ballarat, Museum of Victoria, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Film and Sound Archive, ABC.


South Street Stories

Discover some of the special memories and stories about our beautiful, historic Royal South Street Eisteddfod.

Kate Williams

125 Logo Designer shares a three generation history with South Street

Dance Dad Nicholas Moore

A father’s reflection of his first visit to The Royal South Street Eisteddfod

Fiona Jopson 1

A Star is Born – Fiona Jopson

Caroline Almonte

Caroline Almonte Recognised for Pianistic Excellence

Dame Kiri 819x1024

Dame Kiri performance at Her Majesty’s

Screen Shot 2016 02 18 At 10.40.59 Am

Daughters of Dance

Florence Lee Memorial Prize – History

Frank Robertson-Smith Award – History

Fank Wright

Frank Wright

2015 12 03 10 38 12 0130 Ammended 768x1024

Happy Birthday Debating

Ballet Dancers

Iron Maidens of Dance

John Stapp

John Stapp

Margaret Schofield, O.A.M., B.Mus, 1918 2004

Margaret Schofield

Graduation Ball002

One Bloke, One Ballet Teacher and Three Daughters

Ballet Tutu

Origins of the tutu

Schimmel Piano

Schimmel Pianoforte at Royal South Street…a History

Cr W D Hill

W D Hill Gravestone Restoration Unveiling

Lorna Ellis

War, Water Bottles and Song