Celebrations of the new millennium

Australia celebrates 100 years since Federation, survives the worst of the global financial crisis and the National Museum of Australia opens along with Ballarat’s Ex POW Memorial. South Street celebrates 130 years since its humble beginnings as a debating society and Dame Kiri becomes Patron.


Sir Donald Bradman, Australia’s most famous cricketer, dies at the age of 92 and Ballarat’s launches its first Springfest.

Fund raising to restore Dame Nellie Melba’s Bechstein piano gets underway. The piano, donated by 3BA to South Street in the 1950s, was played by Melba during her 1928 Australian Concert Tour and her autograph can be found under its lid.


The Performing Arts Section at the School of Mines teams up with South Street to film the drama TV auditions.

A new Primary School Grade 5 and 6 section is introduced for Debating.


Dame Kiri

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa accepts the role of as a Patron of the Society 41 years after winning the Sun Aria at South Street. The new Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser also accepts an invitation to be Patron in Chief.

The inaugural Ballarat Heritage Weekend begins.


Ballarat National Theatre celebrates 70 years of performance.



Royal South Street celebrates its 130 anniversary and its humble beginning as a debating society in 1879 and has a record year with over 10,000 competitors, making over 40,000 stage appearances across 16 disciplines, with the support of 10,000 volunteer hours.



In recognition of their work, South Street wins the Community Events Award as part of the United Way Volunteer Recognition Awards and is a finalist in the Premier’s Volunteer Award. Each year, over 240 volunteers come together to make the Eisteddfod possible.

A Community Heritage Grant enables South Street to assess the significance of its archival collection and techniques to best preserve its many records, medals, costumes, trophies and memorabilia.

The One Act Play Festival attracts 22 plays from regional Victoria and Melbourne.