240 Lydiard Street, Ballarat


The VRI Board of management is pleased to announce VRI Ballarat Centre as the Premier District Centre of the year for 2020.

Over the past year a major development has been built almost on the boundary of the hall. This has caused many issues for the centre and they have continued to manage the situation with outstanding results for all.

Ballarat VRI Centre always offer outstanding service to their members and are always willing to open the doors to new members and hall users.

We appreciate and acknowledge the extra efforts involved from everyone at Ballarat over the year and wish to congratulate them on this honour.

At Ballarat VRI we offer a range of services, in addition your normal VRI Membership, facilities include:

  • Billiards and Snooker tables and equipment for use
  • Competitive Indoor Bias Bowls teams
  • Social dancing in the main hall
  • Gymnasium
  • all the benefits of the VRI

For details on how to become involved or hall hire please email

From the archives

BALLARAT VRI CENTRE Annual Report 2020

The Ballarat VRI for the first time in many years failed to record a financial profit, mainly due to the COVID-19 drama. Prior to the virus our sporting bodies, Bias Bowls and Billiards/Snooker performed creditably at local and district level.

The billiards/snooker under the leadership of Jason Colebrook and Mick Williams with three teams at both levels where in the top four sides during competition.

The Bias Bowls Club under the control of John Redfern and Mal Dowler once again showed its strength throughout the winter season with both sides enjoying finals victories.

Both Clubs conducted local VRI championships.

Financially the Ballarat VRI has held fairly firm. A new heater in the main hall, a hot water system in the men’s toilets and spouting works to the south end of the building were the major works conducted during the year, which has drained the local account somewhat.

Through the great work by our current VRI Manager Katherine Jackson whom persistently kept contact with our neighbour's Pellicano and Vic Track a great deal of work was put into our storm water problem. Thanks Katherine and all concerned. Pellicano have erected a new fence on the south side from Lydiard St through to Nolan St with the Ballarat VRI now in construction of gates to secure the area.

Since the COVID-19 the Ballarat Centre has been very quiet, but has received numerous bookings for 2021.

The dance groups, karate, Probus, calisthenics have all made contact rehiring. Hopefully 2021 will see a brighter future for the Centre and the VRI in general.


John Wakeling, Secretary, Ballarat VRI 

Ballarat History

Ballarat Branch of the VRI was formed in 1916, with the main building opening in 1926, with the bottom or "Messenger Hall" opening in 1959.

The "Messenger Hall" was named after the Secretary Bert Messenger who served as Secretary for Ballarat from 1958 to 1967. The funding from the building came solely from the selling of tobacco and sweets from cupboards manned by Ballarat VRI members, installed at Ballarat North Railway Workshops. Of course you had to sell a lot of tobacco and sweets to have the  building erected, but should also remember that in those days all workers were members of the VRI and in excess of 800 workers worked at the shops so tobacco and sweets were very easy to get rid of.


From the archives

Join the club

I would encourage everybody and anybody to join the VRI. It’s a community and family that have been welcoming to me and my family. There are so many benefits and activities to participate and socialise to meet new people. BILL MITREVSKI  VRI Member