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History written for the Centenary of Federation 2001
Updated 2003, 2009 & 2020

Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society

The Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society was formed on 13 August 1945 after a preliminary meeting at the Rectory in July 1945. There was also an Amateur Dramatic Society in existence in Balaklava with which an amalgamation proposal was opposed, but a joint working committee was to be set up. The Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society used the Methodist Hall for twelve years and the Drill Hall for another year before a property was purchased in Phillips Street, which was officially opened in June 1959.

The trustees who made the purchase possible (through their own financial input) were Vera Jantke, Grace Anders, Henry Carslake, Peter O'Brien and Lloyd Palmer. Additional trustees were R. Mitchell, H. Butcher, P. Manuel and E. Reid. Vera Jantke was elected as trust secretary. Grace Anders was a Foundation member, Musical director for twenty years, Secretary for three years and a trustee. Henry Carslake was President for sixteen years, Trustee and Public Officer.

The group performed concerts, musical and elocutionary competitions, soirees, pantomimes, musicals, operettas, variety shows, and assorted musical evenings and were widely supportive of community organisations and visiting groups. Performances were made throughout the district (including Balaklava, Long Plains, Mt. Templeton, Hoyleton, Auburn, Avon, Owen, Mallala, Port Wakefield, Blyth, Brinkworth, Saddleworth, Pinery, Manoora, Halbury, Koolunga, Nantawarra, Watchman, Red Hill, Hamley Bridge and Riverton) to appreciative audiences. The Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society continued actively for some thirty-seven years until 1982.

In September 1981 the sale of the Music Lovers' Hall was proposed, as the Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society could no longer maintain it. The Phillips Street property was sold on 11 November 1981 for $5,900 with the net balance of $5566.86 being banked in January 1982. The group used the RSL Rooms after the sale of the hall and needed to look at the group taking a new direction. $5,000 from the sale of the hall was invested for this purpose. The AGM that was held on 6 April 1982 in the RSL Rooms was the start of the transition to Balaklava Community Arts.

   Balaklava Choral & Music Lovers' Society's

transition to Balaklava Community Arts Inc.

The original Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society was reformed to become the Balaklava Community Arts group in 1982, with financial support from the sale of the Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society building. An Annual General Meeting was held on 6 April 1982 in the RSL Rooms and the following were duly elected to office - President: Di Spence, Secretary: Joyce Ross and Treasurer: Guelda Hackett. The new name Balaklava Community Arts was carried at the following meeting on 4 May 1982.

The surviving trustees, Grace Anders, Henry Carslake, Peter O'Brien and Lloyd Palmer, were given life membership of Balaklava Community Arts on 15 June 1982. The fifth trustee to be honoured was the late Vera Jantke.

It was also resolved at this meeting that a public acknowledgment be recorded of the outstanding contribution made to the Balaklava Choral and Music Lovers' Society over the years by Mesdames Edith Bruce and Joyce Ross, Misses Effie Reid and Vera Neumann and Mr. H. Butcher.

The Balaklava Town Hall Committee offered sponsorship of Balaklava Community Arts and use of the Balaklava Town Hall for their venue.

Incorporation was complete in 1983 with Henry Carslake appointed as Public Officer to proceed with Incorporation. The Constitution was rewritten accordingly.

Chris Palmer designed the original logo for the new-look group.

At the 1983 Annual General Meeting membership fees were set at $4.00 Family, $2.00 Single, $1.00 Junior. This enthusiastic new committee set the scene for the new group to go on, in a big way, to nurture the artistic talents of all ages in the community. As part of the constitution, the aim of Balaklava Community Arts Inc. is to promote the arts to the wider community, which is indeed what the group has done. Throughout the years, close liaison has always been maintained between Balaklava Community Arts Inc. and the schools, encouraging the youth of the district. At the Annual General Meeting in June 1989 the motion was carried that Arts awards be presented to Balaklava High School students each year.

Birth of the

Balaklava Courthouse Gallery

In May 1989, the District Council of Wakefield Plains appointed an "Art In Public Places" Committee to investigate the potential of a local gallery. The restoration and use of the historic Courthouse building was suggested and approved. With various grants and contributions this became a reality. The Courthouse building is owned by the district council with the objective being to restore, manage and maintain the Balaklava Courthouse Gallery as a public and community art gallery and studio.

A public meeting was held on 19 February 1990 and a sub-committee of Balaklava Community Arts Inc. comprising Joyce Ross, Chris Shepley, Anne Hanson, Leonie Enman, Bev Mickel, Anne Love, Keith Williams, Michael Speers and Geoff Johnston was formed.

Through the vision of Joyce Ross and others interested in the Visual Arts, the Balaklava Courthouse Gallery was established as sub-committee of Balaklava Community Arts Inc.

The Courthouse Gallery official opening on 10 March 1991 was recognised as the Wakefield Plains Council Community Event of the Year. Joyce Ross, deservedly received the Australia Day Citizen of the Year award in 1992. The sub-committee went on to become independent of Balaklava Community Arts Inc. with the incorporation of the Balaklava Courthouse Gallery in September 1992.

Many varied exhibitions are shown throughout each year. The BALCO Art Prize & associated awards are held annually attracting large-scale interest and entries.

Joyce Ross was awarded AM - Member in the Order of Australia in January 1999, being one of only two females in the visual and performing arts category to receive this award. Her involvement in the arts in various forms spanned over fifty years.

In 1991, Balaklava Community Arts Inc. entered the winning float in the annual Christmas pageant, which was not only a pleasant surprise, but a good promotion exercise, as was the donation of arts related books to the Balaklava Community Library in February 1992.


The current distinctive Balaklava Community Arts Inc.

logo was designed for the tenth anniversary by

Heather Murchie and adopted in January 1992.


At the conclusion of the Tenth Anniversary Concert on 3 May 1992, Life Membership was awarded to Di Spence and Joyce Ross for their untiring dedication to the success of Balaklava Community Arts Inc. They had indeed encouraged and nurtured the artistic talents in the community. Both recipients had held executive committee positions and served on the committee since the beginning of the group as well as being involved in many varied capacities with productions.


  Birth of the

Balaklava Eisteddfod Society

After preliminary discussions in 1995 regarding the possibility of holding annual Eisteddfod competitions, a Steering Committee of comprising of Pam Uppill, Jo May and Sally Cowan held a meeting on 17 January 1996 to collate information on holding Eisteddfod competitions. This was widely researched by Pam Uppill, John Neck and Di Spence.

This information was presented at a well-received public meeting on 3 July 1996, to gauge public support for the establishment of an Eisteddfod competition as an annual event in Balaklava. Audrey Lees and Jackie Cook of the Adelaide Eisteddfod Society and Kate Jenkin from the SA Country Arts Trust attended the meeting and provided valuable information and input. It was passed at that meeting that the Balaklava Eisteddfod Society be formed as a sub-committee of Balaklava Community Arts Inc.

The easily recognised logo adopted is a modified version of the logo designed by Mark Nolan. The Balaklava Eisteddfod Society was established in 1997 with the first Balaklava Eisteddfod competitions being held on 24, 25 & 26 October 1997.

A public meeting to formalize the Balaklava Eisteddfod Society was held on 20 November 1997, with Di Spence elected as Chairperson, Bronwyn Cottle as Vice-Chairperson, Jo May as Secretary and Margaret Baker as Treasurer. The Balaklava Eisteddfod Society will remain as a sub-committee of Balaklava Community Arts Inc. until such time as it can become viably independent.

   As a part of the Eisteddfod Competitions, the Battle of the Bands was introduced in 1998 with Bronwyn Cottle as Coordinator and ran in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The Battle of the Bands logo was designed Glenys Tiller. The Battle of the Bands proved very successful and popular when it was run. The committee reviews the viability of each section of the Eisteddfod competitions (including the Battle of the Bands) each year and adjusts the program accordingly.

The Grand Piano Fund was launched at the 2000 Eisteddfod. Donations towards the purchase of a Grand Piano (approximate discounted cost $15,000) for the Balaklava Town Hall are being sought by Balaklava Community Arts Inc.

From 1982 - 2001 Balaklava Community Arts Inc. has staged over thirty productions including full-scale musicals, pantomimes, plays, operettas, variety concerts, and musical comedies. In 1999 the group worked in conjunction with the Inter-Church Council to stage "The Royal Nativity" and "Bethlehem Market" outdoors in the town, under the direction of Paul Paulenas. This was repeated in 2001 and 2003.

At the Annual General Meeting on 5 August 1999, Life Memberships were awarded to Beris Barr, Guelda Hackett and Wyn Parish for their continuing devotion to Balaklava Community Arts Inc. since the 'Music Lovers' days. These three members were noted as 'silent achievers' deserving of recognition for years of committee, chorus line and 'behind the scenes' involvement. Certificates of appreciation were also awarded on that night, to Lyn Smyth, Pam Uppill, Bronwyn Cottle, Paul Paulenas, Sally Cowan, Jo May, Geoff Spence, Janette Neumann, Terry Neumann, Joyce Ross, Di Spence, Kevyna Gardner, Mary Fisher, Isobel Anderson and Linda Zerk in recognition of their dedicated involvement and contribution to the group over the years.

The turn of the century saw Paul Paulenas presented with Life Membership at the Annual General Meeting held on 9 August 2000 for outstanding achievement in the promotion of the arts. He has held various positions on the committee including President and has been actively involved since joining in 1988, as make-up coordinator for most productions, appearing on stage in various roles and directing. Paul Paulenas had directed the most successful shows that the group had ever staged, including "The Sound of Music" which was awarded event of the year in 1992 and the highly successful "Royal Nativity" in 1999. Margaret Baker was awarded a certificate of appreciation for her hard work and dedication to Balaklava Community Arts Inc. and its sub-committee Balaklava Eisteddfod Society not only as a member since 1982 but especially as Treasurer since July 1993 and still held that position until 2007.

Balaklava Community Arts Inc. has become well known for its high quality theatrical productions - a tradition that the group strives to maintain, while keeping up the times. In keeping with the change in technology, Balaklava Community Arts Inc. now has its own Internet web site and is looking to be around for many years to come, promoting and sharing the arts with the wider community.

Added in 2003

A new website was started in 2002-3 for the Balaklava Eisteddfod Society in view of its growth since its humble beginnings. This was initially a very basic website, later replaced by our very own domain name -

Prior to the staging of "HMS Pinafore" on 5th, 6th & 7th September 2003, past members of BCA were sent special invitations to attend the show and join in the 21st birthday celebrations. Each performance was followed by a ceremonial cutting of the 21st Birthday Cake and sharing of birthday cake amongst the audience. At each performance, audience members who had been involved previously in BCA at some stage were invited to fill out their special memories of their time in BCA. These memoirs will be put into a book.

At the conclusion of the final performance on Sunday 7th September 2003, Life Membership was awar

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