Royal South Street Eisteddfod

South Street season begins for calisthenics

The inaugural Grand Annual Eisteddfod of Australasia was held in Ballarat in 1891 and has since grown to become one of the largest and the longest running performing arts eisteddfods in Australia. The annual Royal South Street Competitions are often referred to as “South Street“, or in the calisthenics community, simply as “Ballarat”.

Calisthenics began as an Australia sport on the 1850s goldfields as a way of helping people to stay healthy. It focused on keeping joints supple and muscles strong. Public classes were introduced in 1880 and calisthenics evolved from a form of physical exercise to theatre performances that incorporated costumes, music and weight-bearing apparatus. It was even added to Victorian State School curriculum as a ‘graceful art’ in 1930.

Calisthenics was included in the South Street competitions in 1903.  It now runs for 4 weeks and clubs participate from Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, NSW, ACT and QLD.

An article published in The Star newspaper on 5 Oct 1915 excitedly announced that a record 100 teams participated for the first time that year.

Today, part of the attraction of performing at the prestigious competition is the historical venue of Her Majestys Theatre, opened in Ballarat in 1875.


-> Learn more about the Royal South Street Eisteddfod

-> View the Calisthenic section details and timetable

-> Learn more about Her Majestys Theatre


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