Band History

In 1887 a private band was formed in Ballarat by Thomas Bulch, who had arrived from England with a group of his musician friends in 1885 at the age of 22 years. Bulch had previously held an appointment as a Bandmaster in England, and at age 17 had written his first Band March, called “The Typhoon”.

Bulch became a leader in the local banding scene, was partly responsible for initiating the South Street Band Contest, and indirectly played a role in popularising “Waltzing Matilda” as it was his arrangement of “Craigielee” that Banjo Patterson’s friend Christina MacPherson heard at the Warrnambool Races.

Bulch’s Band was known as Bulch’s Model Brass Band, and in 1900 sometime after October, it became The Ballarat City Brass Band.

Ballarat Brass Band 1914

Ballarat Brass Band 1914

The Ballarat City Brass Band has been in existence for over 110 years, providing music and entertainment to the citizens of Ballarat – Band concerts at the Gardens or in the lower part of Sturt Street, Parades, funerals, Church fairs, band contests, ANZAC Day ceremonies, and more.

Thousands of musicians have played in it and scores of famous Bandmasters have directed its fortunes.

The Band plays all types of music from the classics to jazz and popular music of the day, and of course, the foot tapping music that is heard in Street Parades.

Over the years, we have competed in hundreds of band contests, and this still takes place today. Our fortunes have fluctuated over the years with several wins in the two top grades.

Come and enjoy one of our concerts. Bring a chair and a sun hat, and sit and do as the citizens of Ballarat have been doing for over a hundred years.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Band’s colourful history, be sure to check out the following publications:

Band History Book

Prout’s History Book