2016 Festival Report

The inaugural Brown Hill Community Festival held in October 2016, was recognised as Ballarat's Community Event of the Year in January 2017.
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Post-event Report prepared for the Brown Hill Partnership - December 2016

The inaugural Brown Hill Community Festival was held on Friday 28 October, 2016 at the Brown Hill Recreation Reserve / Progress Park.

The idea for the Festival came from the Brown Hill Partnership, as a way of celebrating its success in the first 12 months and to highlight the work that had been done by the City of Ballarat at the Reserve. $500 was made available by the City of Ballarat, Community Development Team, to invest in the event.

A Committee was formed, including:

  1. Sarah Greenwood-Smith – Brown Hill Community Newsletter
  2. Christine Sullivan – Brown Hill Kindergarten
  3. Andrew Parry – Caledonian Primary School (Geoff Dickson and Helen Romerill for the final week)
  4. Brendan Stevens – Brown Hill Progress Association (Liz Mason for the final fortnight)

The Committee decided to run the event on a Friday evening, from 5.00 pm - 8.00 pm to make it easy for families to participate and minimise the chance of clashing with existing sporting activities and other weekend events and commitments. Having children from the Kindergarten and Primary School sing was hoped to be a good way to encourage local families to come along. It worked, the children singing was a hit!

A photo competition was also developed – to encourage people to connect with the event and come along to see if they won!

All community groups, sporting clubs and activity groups in Brown Hill were invited to participate in the Festival by email from the Brown Hill Newsletter.


The Committee had approximately 6 weeks to promote and organise the event. A description of the event was included in Edition 3 of the Brown Hill Community Newsletter, delivered to over 1700 households in Brown Hill in mid-September. A flyer was designed by the City of Ballarat, with the photo competition promoted on the back. 500 copies were printed and distributed across Brown Hill via community venues and local businesses. If we were to do it again, it would be worth distributing the flyer to all households in Brown Hill.

A media release was written and articles appeared in The Courier and The Miner. Radio interviews took place on ABC Ballarat and Voice FM. Unfortunately, the newly formed 'Making Brown Hill' Facebook page was out of action for 4 weeks of the promotion period, due to local Council elections. This would have otherwise been a great method of promotion. It was used in the week leading up to the event and post event.

Engagement with local residents and businesses

A letter was written to those who live close to the Brown Hill Recreation Reserve and approximately 300 copies were delivered in the week before the event. We also spoke to local businesses to make sure they were aware of the event and we could work closely with them to minimise any potential inconvenience (e.g. parking at the Brown Hill Hotel and Hall).

Staff from the City of Ballarat were very helpful in preparing for the event. Heidi Zukauskas from the Events Team helped with the Event Permit, Site Plan, event contacts and lending us equipment on the day. Pete Appleton and Sandra Kennedy were helpful in promoting the event, providing contacts and organising professional photographs to be taken.

The Brown Hill Community Festival was nominated for an Australia Day Award.

The information submitted is included below.

1. How did the event encourage community participation?

  • With a focus on Brown Hill, the Ballarat community and their friends and families were invited to join in the fun at the Inaugural Brown Hill Community Festival.
  • The Festival was free of charge to attend and was held at the beautiful Brown Hill Recreation Reserve, accessible to all community members.
  • Before the festival, residents were encouraged to enter a photo in the 'My Brown Hill' photo competition. 12 photos were entered and displayed at the Festival. Prizes were donated by local businesses. Photos will be published in the Brown Hill Community Newsletter and displayed at the Ballarat Library and community venues around Brown Hill.
  • All community groups, sporting clubs and activity groups based in Brown Hill were invited to participate. Those who took part were the Brown Hill Progress Association, Brown Hill Uniting Church, Brown Hill Lions Cub, Ballarat Wholefoods, Brown Hill Community Newsletter, Brown Hill Hall, Caledonian Playgroup, Caledonian Primary School, Brown Hill Kindergarten, Brown Hill FireAware Network, Ballarat CFA, Federation University Pipe Band (who practise on the Brown Hill Cricket Oval), South East Australian Taekwondo and GKR Karate (both train in the Brown Hill Hall) and the Yarrowee-Leigh catchment group.
  • A stage held the focus of many attendees between 5:30 and 6:30pm, with performances by children from Brown Hill Kindergarten and Caledonian Primary School. Having children singing was a highlight of the evening and certainly brought the crowd! The Federation University Pipe Band wrapped up the entertainment with a stirring performance as the marched across the Brown Hill Cricket Oval towards the Festival. It was magnificent!
  • The event was held from 5.00 pm - 8.00 pm, with several food options available to make it easy for families to participate.
  • There were two commercial vendors (coffee cart and Indian food). All other food was prepared by local community groups and was available for a gold coin donation. Two jumping castles (gold coin donation) and face painting ($2) were both subsidised to ensure costs were low to encourage families to participate.
  • The Festival was initiated by the Brown Hill Partnership (representing many community, sporting and activity groups in Brown Hill) and coordinated by a volunteer committee of four members of the Partnership.

2. How did the activity benefit the community and people of Ballarat?

Short term?

  • Hundreds of people from Brown Hill and beyond came and enjoyed the beautiful space at the Brown Hill Recreation Reserve. They were welcomed, entertained, informed, fed and watered by local community groups. Together, these groups and individual volunteers achieved the goal of connecting the community, giving people a reason to come out on a Friday evening and catch up with friends and neighbours or meet others from our local community.
  • The profile of local community, sporting and activity groups was raised by their presence at the Festival. Community members had the opportunity to make a personal connection with the group.

Here are some comments from local residents:

  • What a wonderful evening! Congrats to all who organised tonight's event. You've started something wonderful that can grow and flourish as the years pass. It was so nice to see so many turn out to enjoy the fun. Thank you. It was fabulous! Jodi
  • A big thank you to all involved in the organization of this fantastic event! What a lucky community we are in Brown Hill, we've had a lovely evening. Danielle
  • It was a great night & a big turnout. Judy

Long term?

  • The Brown Hill Reserve is a spectacular site, much improved by recent Council upgrades and the addition of a double electric BBQ. Holding the Festival at this site not only made local residents aware of the revitalisation works, but showcased the site as a premium event location.
  • The Festival highlighted the work of the Brown Hill Partnership to local residents, raising its profile and recognising the value and success of the group.
  • The Festival Committee brought together representatives from four key groups in Brown Hill (Kindergarten, Primary School, Progress Association and Newsletter) to turn the idea into a reality. Strong links were formed between the groups through the organising and implementation of the Festival.
  • By promoting the Festival through local Ballarat media, relationships were built that will be helpful for promotion of news, events and activities in Brown Hill.
  • Through seeking participation of all community, sporting and activity groups who meet in or are based in Brown Hill, connections were made that will strengthen the local network.

    Sarah Greenwood-Smith, Brown Hill Community Festival Committee

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