Webb Avenue

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Webb Avenue in 2013[1]

Webb Avenue is a residential street in Ballarat East, located south of Black Hill, on Black Hill Flat, on land formerly mined by the Black Hill Company and others. The land was reclaimed in the 1950s as part of the efforts of the Citizen's Reclamation Committee. It is named after former Mayor Kenneth Crago Webb[2].



European history in the area commenced in the 1830s, when the land now occupied by Webb Avenue was used for grazing by the cousins Archibald and William Yuille who "sat astride the Yarrowee River and possessed the beautiful basin beneath Black Hill..."[3]


Gold mining in the area commenced within two months of the discovery of gold at Ballarat. "Before the end of October [1851] gold was also discovered in the middle of Black Hill Flat..." [3]

With the advent of company mining at the end of the 1850s, a number of company mines were opened up in the area, with the land eventually coming under the control of the Black Hill Mining Company, which broke up into several smaller companies as gold mining became less profitable toward the end of the nineteenth century.[4]

Photo by Richard Daintree c.1861 looking across the area now occupied by Webb Avenue.[5]
The poppet head in the middle distance on the left is over the Victoria No.2 shaft, located in what is now Webb Avenue park. The mullock heap extends across what is now Webb Avenue to the south bank of the Yarrowee River. [6]

Following closure of the mines associated with the Black Hill Mining Company, there appears to be little activity in the Webb Avenue area until the Great Depression. At least two mining claims, apparently to go over the tailings left behind by the nineteenth-century mines, were registered in the 1930s.[7]

Present-day Webb Avenue property boundaries overlaid on a 1939 survey.[7]

Development as residential

The area was identified as suitable for reclamation for residential development in the 1950s as part of the efforts of the Citizen's Reclamation Committee, and the 1956-57 Mayor’s Report states that the work preparing the site was ''well underway" at the time of Henry Bolte’s visit on 28 June 1957. [8]

The 1957-58 Mayor's Report states that "the extensive work of levelling what was known as Black Hill Flat is now almost completed. On the Black Hill Flat twenty-seven building allotments will be surveyed and these have been offered to the Victorian Housing Commission as a single proposal."[9] The Housing Commission of Victoria was established in 1938 for the purpose of improving existing housing and to provide adequate housing for people of limited means. The Housing Commission ceased to exist in 1984.[10]

The site cleared and flattened.[11]

The decision to name the street after Kenneth Crago Webb was made by Council on 21 November 1958.[2].

The 1958-59 Mayor’s Report provides greater detail regarding the major works required to prepare the site:

New streets were necessary and a main drain traversed the area, and this was undergrounded by construction of large culverts. Before bulldozers were put to work, the area contained a large tailings heap and numerous sand heaps and uneven places. This, too, was an area accepted by the Housing Commission for development, and, as soon as the streets and drains were laid, contracts were let for the housing. Work on the erection of 23 new homes is already well in hand, and should be ready for building in the near future.[11]
Completed and partially-constructed homes.[11]
Plan of subdivision [12]

In 1960 the Mayor was happy to report:

…the Housing Commission of Victoria completed the twenty-three homes under construction a year ago. Four more homes have been tendered for and another two are in course of preparation for tendering. Formerly a tailings heap from early mining activity in the area, we now find a suburban street, fully serviced with homes of pleasing appearance and in a situation ten minutes walk from the centre of the city.[13]

Construction of the additional houses appears to have been completed by the time of the 1960-61 Mayor's Report, which states "twenty-nine houses have already been established at what was originally an extremely rough area known as the Black Hill Flat."[14]

Appearance in City of Ballarat heritage documents

In 2003 the Ballarat City of Ballarat Heritage Study (Stage 2) April 2003 listed Webb Avenue for consideration for heritage protection. It was recommended for further investigation during the Community Consultation process by Greg Binns.[15] Greg Binns was a widely-respected advocate for heritage protection whose efforts are commemorated by the City of Ballarat's Greg Binns Award for Outstanding Community Contribution to Heritage.[16]

At the time of writing (2016), Webb Avenue has no heritage protection within the planning scheme. However, according to the Ballarat Heritage Precincts Statements of Significance (2006):

The northern section of the [Humffray Street Heritage] Precinct (in the general area now bounded by Princes, Morres and Newman Streets) [which includes Webb Avenue] is historically important as an example of environmentally degraded mining wasteland that was only reclaimed recently for the construction of Housing Commission houses in the 1950s, while other areas along the Yarrowee River channel remain vacant.[17]



May 3 New football club called Wilhelmina. BALLARAT, Vic – For the first time in 3 years, Ballarat has a Dutch football club. The club, called 'Wilhelmina', has 2 teams and a good number of supporters. The board of Wilhelmina is composed as follows: chairman and trainer Mr. Noy, secretary W. Wans, 15 Webb Street, Ballarat, and treasurer J. Ruyg. It is also intended to form a junior league. Boys from 10 years and up are requested to apply to the board.[18][Notes 1]


December 1 Young man narrowly saved from drowning. BALLARAT, Vic, November 24 - Fast action by three young men from Ballarat saved 20-year-old Felix Wans from drowning in the Barwon River. Felix Wans, who resides in Webb Avenue in Ballarat, was seized by the rapid flow, while he tried swimming across the river. He was carried along for 200 metres, before he was able grab the anchor of a fishing boat and lift himself aboard. Nearby fishermen advised him to swim from boat to boat toward the pier, to avoid being carried out to sea. When he reached the last boat, he realised that it was still 20 metres to the pier he could not make it because of the strong currents. He clung to the boat and Graeme Vincent from Sebastopol swam to him to support him. While Vincent held him above water, Roger Hilton and Colin Hibberd, both also from Sebastopol, came and brought him to the pier. They used a buoy. Felix Wans was totally exhausted, but recovered later.[19][Notes 2]

See also

Kenneth Crago Webb

Citizens' Reclamation Committee

Black Hill Flat


  1. Original text: Nieuwe voetbalclub heet Wilhelmina. BALLARAT, Vic — Voor het eerst sinds 3 jaren heeft Ballarat weer een Nederlandse voetbalclub. De club heet 'Wilhelmina', heeft 2 elftallen en een behoorlijk aantal supporters. Het bestuur van Wilhelmina is als volgt samengesteld: voorzitter en trainer M. Noy, secretaris W. Wans, 15 Webb Avenue, Ballarat, en penningmeester J. Ruyg. Het is ook de bedoeling om een junioren afdeling te vormen. Jongens vanaf 10 jaar worden verzocht zich bij het bestuur op te geven.
  2. Original text:Jongeman op nippertje van verdrinkingsdood gered BALLARAT, Vic, 24 November — Snel ingrijpen van drie jongelieden uit Ballarat heeft de 20-jarige Felix Wans gered van de verdrinkingsdood in de Barwon Rivier. Felix Wans, die in de Webb Avenue te Ballarat woont werd gegrepen door de snelle stroom, terwijl hij de rivier probeerde over te zwemmen. Hij werd 200 meter met de stroom meegevoerd, voordat hij in staat was het anker van een vissersboot te grijpen en zich aan boord te hijsen. Vissers, die zich nabij bevonden. adviseerden hem van boot naar boot te zwemmen in de richting van de pier, zodat hij deze zou bereiken alvorens naar zee te worden gevoerd. Toen hij de laatste boot bereikte, bemerkte hij dat hij de 20 meter naar de pier vanwege de sterke stromingen niet kon afleggen. Hij hield zich aan de boot vast en Graeme Vin cent uit Sebastopol zwom naar hem toe om hem te steunen. Terwijl deze hem boven water hield, brachten Roger Hilton en Colin Hibberd, beiden eveneens uit Sebastopol, hem naar de pier. Zij maakten hierbij gebruik van een reddingsboei. Felix Wans was volkomen uitgeput, maar herstelde later.


  1. Photo by Neil Huybregts, 20 October 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 City of Ballarat. Council meeting minutes. 21 November 1958, p.191
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bate, Weston. Lucky City: The First Generation at Ballarat 1851-1901 (1978)
  4. Baragwanath, W. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Victoria No 14 The Ballarat Goldfields, 1923.
  5. Black Hill, Ballarat / Richard Daintree [1] (accessed 30/8/2013)
  6. Unknown (date unknown), [View from Black Hill showing Black Hill Company crushing mill with water storage ponds, poppet head and mullock heap beyond], Max Harris Collection, Ballaarat Mechanics Institute
  7. 7.0 7.1 PROV, VPRS 3559/U0/2 Mining Warden's Registers of Surveys, Ballarat Mining Division March 1912 - October 1941
  8. City of Ballarat - Mayor’s Report 1956-1957
  9. City of Ballarat - Mayor’s Report 1957-1958
  10. http://www.eoas.info/biogs/A001521b.htm, accessed 25 January 2017.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 City of Ballarat - Mayor’s Report 1958-1959
  12. Plan Of Subdivision LP 51732 - Crown Allotment 2 Section 1 & Crown Allotments 1 & 2 Section 4 - Township Of Ballaarat East - Parish Of Ballaarat - County Of Grant - Vol 3217 Fol 949 (1960)
  13. City of Ballarat - Mayor’s Report 1959-1960
  14. City of Ballarat - Mayor’s Report 1960-1961
  15. City of Ballarat Heritage Study (Stage 2) April 2003: Thematic History
  16. City of Ballarat (2016), 2016 Ballarat Heritage Awards. [2]
  17. City of Ballarat (2006), Ballarat Heritage Precincts Statements of Significance"
  18. Nieuwe voetbalclub heet Wilhelmina (1963, May 3). Dutch Australian Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1951 - 1993), p. 12. [3]
  19. Jongeman op nippertje van verdrinkingsdood gered (1967, December 1). Dutch Australian Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1951 - 1993), p. 2. [4]

Further reading

External links


--Neil Huybregts 20:41, 10 February 2015 (AEDT); --Clare K.Gervasoni 13:18, 25 January 2017 (AEDT)

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