BHPA Achievements

In November 2018, the Brown Hill Progress Association was nominated for the Community Activity of the Year awards in Ballarat. The group was a finalist in the City of Ballarat's 2019 Australia Day Awards.

Community engagement by the Brown Hill Progress Association (BHPA), 2017-2018

How did the BHPA encourage community participation?

The Brown Hill Progress Association Inc. (BHPA) is a not for profit volunteer group whose aim is to promote the economic, social and cultural development and progress of the community of Ballarat as a whole and of Brown Hill in particular. The Association has been an active part of the Brown Hill community since its formation in May 1969.

The ways in which the BHPA encouraged community participation from 1 November 2017 until 30 October 2018 include:

1. On Sunday 20 May, the eve of 2018 National Volunteer Week, Brown Hill had its first Volunteer Celebration. Around 100 people enjoyed a scrumptious afternoon tea at the Brown Hill Cricket Clubrooms. All volunteers were awarded a certificate of recognition presented by Federal Member Catherine King MP and City of Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh, who said she was impressed to learn that some 350 people give their time, their skills and energy to community groups which operate in Brown Hill. "People who volunteer don’t often count the cost of their giving; but the difference their volunteering makes is profound. In fact, we depend on it. It’s a big part of what transforms places like Brown Hill into a genuine community."

The celebration was coordinated by the BHPA, Brown Hill Lions and Brown Hill Lioness Clubs and the Brown Hill Cricket Club and received funding from the City of Ballarat through the Community Impact Grants program.

2. The BHPA independently manages the Brown Hill Pool, with the support of the local community and the City of Ballarat. During the 2017/18 pool season, there were 8218 visits to the pool. The BHPA hosted a popular two-week VicSwim Summer Kidz Program, a very well-attended community celebration and BBQ on Australia Day and the inaugural 'Toys at the Pool Day', in partnership with the Ballarat Toy Library. Several groups, including some from local schools and churches, booked the pool for special events over the season.

3. On Friday 26 October 2018, the BHPA hosted the third Brown Hill Community Festival. With an estimated 800 to 1000 people attending, this was another huge success for the Brown Hill community. Ninety-four children from Brown Hill Kindergarten and 46 students from Caledonian Primary School performed at the Festival, in addition to the Ballarat Highland Dancers and Federation University Pipe Band, both of which practise in Brown Hill. There were twelve local community groups which had information stalls, including the Ballarat Girl Guides, Ballarat Wholefoods Collective and Yarrowee-Leigh Catchment Authority. Local organisations fund-raised for the 2019 Festival, including the Brown Hill Uniting Church selling pancakes, the Brown Hill Lions Club selling sausages and Caledonian Primary School selling drinks. Brown Hill locals were out in force, connecting with friends and family and celebrating Brown Hill.

4. Over the past 12 months, the BHPA published six editions of the very popular 20 - 24 page Brown Hill Community Newsletter, 2500 copies of which are printed every two months. The first edition was released in May 2016 and Edition 15 was published in October 2018. The newsletter is delivered to every letterbox in Brown Hill by a team of 20 local volunteers and is also available at local businesses and community centres. It is available in PDF format on the Brown Hill Community Online Hub, a link to which is emailed to almost 800 email addresses each edition. There are also over 200 'followers' on the newsletter Facebook page, helping to spread the word about news and activities in Brown Hill.

At the October 2018 Community Newspapers Association of Victoria annual conference, the Brown Hill Community Newsletter entered eight of the nine award categories. We were a finalist in the 'Best layout and design' category and won the 'Best history story' and 'Best story by a person aged 18-years or younger'. What fantastic recognition! This project was started with seed-funding from the Brown Hill Partnership. It is now financially self-sustaining.The CEO of the City of Ballarat recently wrote, "What a fabulous newsletter! Congratulations and well done. There is so much happening to be extremely proud of in Brown Hill."

How did the BHPA's actions benefit the community and people of Ballarat in the short term?

1. The Brown Hill Progress Association (BHPA) has supported the introduction of the Brown Hill Market, held at the Brown Hill Hall once every month. We have helped to connect the organiser with local groups and promoted the market across Brown Hill. It has been a huge success!

2. In June the BHPA published the second printed Brown Hill Directory, listing 95 businesses which are based in Brown Hill or are owned by a local, 34 community, eight education and 18 sport and activity groups, in addition to six venues for hire. 3000 copies were printed and delivered to everyone who lives or works in Brown Hill. All details are also available online through the Brown Hill Community Online Hub. This initiative, started with seed funding from the Brown Hill Partnership, is key to encouraging people to support local businesses in Brown Hill and Ballarat.

How did the BHPA's actions benefit the community and people of Ballarat in the long term?

1. The Brown Hill Progress Association (BHPA) has focused over the past 12 months on strengthening relationships with other local groups, including the Brown Hill Lions and Lioness Clubs, Brown Hill Hall Committee, Brown Hill Cricket Club, Brown Hill FireAware program and our local Kindergarten and Primary School. We have a representative on both the Hall Committee and Primary School Council. A member of the Lions Club attends our meetings as a representative to help connect the groups and increase opportunities to work together. Through the City of Ballarat's recent Engaging Communities Program, these groups were reconnected. Through the BHPA, these connections will continue to be strengthened into the future for the good of Brown Hill and Ballarat.

2. Over the year, BHPA volunteers have worked hard to build the profile of and content on the Brown Hill Community Online Hub ( This website has been a very successful tool in supporting the BHPA to inform and connect with our local community. Visitor rates are growing month-on-month, currently averaging 828 visits a month from 682 unique visitors viewing 1789 pages. Visitor engagement is high, with the average visit lasting 3 minutes and 45 seconds. The website is ranking highly in Google, at #1 for "brown hill businesses", "brown hill sport", "brown hill pool" and "brown hill hall". The Online Community Hub is a website that allows people to:

a) Learn about community events such as the Australia Day celebrations, Community Festival and FireAware meetings.

b) Search listings of local businesses, community groups, sporting and activity clubs.

c) Download, subscribe to, contribute to and advertise in the Brown Hill Community Newsletter.

d) Buy Brown Hill Pool season tickets, Learn to Swim tickets and find pool opening times.

e) View work collated through the Brown Hill History Project and in the Newsletter.

f) View Hall bookings and details about how to book.

3. Members of the BHPA played an active part in the recent Brown Hill Local Area Plan Working Group, making sure that the needs of our community were heard during the future planning for Brown Hill. We continue to be a voice for our community and a connection between locals, the City of Ballarat and our State and Federal politicians.

4. Our Newsletter Editor has also supported groups in other areas of Ballarat to set up a local community newsletter and initiated the Ballarat Community Newspapers Network.