Ballan is a small town in the state of Victoria, Australia, part of the Moorabool Shire located 78 km north west of Melbourne just off the Western Freeway, on the Werribee River with a population estimated at 7,730 people.
The area around Ballan was part of the tribal area of the Wathaurung people, part of the Kulin nation. The area was rich in fauna including kangaroo, kangaroo rats, bandicoots, dingos, and two species of native cat. Many species had vanished by the end of the nineteenth century, with European settlement.
The first European settlers crossed Bass Strait landing near Geelong and worked their way up the Moorabool River with their sheep flocks. Robert von Steiglitz first settled the area in 1838, who named the area after Ballan in Ireland. Other early settler names included Covvie, Stead, Wallace and Egerton.
The first Mechanics’ Institute in Ballan was built in 1861, with the current Mechanics’ Institute built on land purchased in 1881, although the façade was demolished and rebuilt in 1922. The building houses the library for the town and a hall.
St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Ballan was officially opened in July 1866.