Division of Ballarat

The Division of Ballarat (spelt Ballaarat from 1901 until the 1977 election[1]) is an Australian electoral division in the state of Victoria. The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election.[1] It was named for the provincial city of the same name by Scottish squatter Archibald Yuille, who established the first settlement − his sheep run called Ballaarat − in 1837,[2] with the name derived from a local Wathawurrung word for the area, balla arat, thought to mean "resting place".

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Ballarat in Victoria, as of the 2019 federal election.
MPCatherine King
NamesakeBallaarat (from a Wathaurong Aboriginal word: balla arat, thought to mean "resting place".)[1]
Electors114,981 (2019)
Area4,322 km2 (1,668.7 sq mi)

The division currently takes in the regional City of Ballarat and the smaller towns of Bacchus Marsh, Ballan, Blackwood, Buninyong, Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford, Myrniong and Trentham and part of Burrumbeet.

The current Member for Ballarat, since the 2001 federal election, is Catherine King, a member of the Australian Labor Party.


At various times in its existence the division has included other towns such as Ararat, Maryborough, and Stawell.

Ballarat is a marginal seat, changing hands at intervals between the Labor Party and the non-Labor parties. Unlike most marginal seats, it is not a barometer for winning government; since 1955, all but one of its members has spent at least one term in opposition.

Its most prominent member has been Alfred Deakin, who was Prime Minister of Australia three times. Liberal senator Michael Ronaldson was the grandson of Archibald Fisken, a former Member for Ballarat.[3]

Ballarat also holds the distinction of seeing the closest seat result in Australian history. Nationalist Edwin Kerby unseated Labor incumbent Charles McGrath by a single vote in 1919. However, McGrath alleged irregularities, and the result was thrown out in 1920, forcing a by-election that was won by McGrath.[4]


Image Member Party Term Notes
  Alfred Deakin
Protectionist 30 March 1901
26 May 1909
Previously held the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Essendon and Flemington. Served as minister under Barton. Served as Prime Minister from 1903 to 1904, 1905 to 1908 and 1909 to 1910. Served as Opposition Leader in 1909, and from 1910 to 1913. Retired
  Commonwealth Liberal 26 May 1909 –
23 April 1913
  Charles McGrath
Labor 31 May 1913
13 December 1919
Lost seat by one vote
  Edwin Kerby
Nationalist 13 December 1919
2 June 1920
1919 election results declared void. Lost seat in subsequent by-election
  Charles McGrath
Labor 2 June 1920
March 1931
Died in office
  Independent March 1931
7 May 1931
  United Australia 7 May 1931 –
31 July 1934
  Archibald Fisken
United Australia 15 September 1934
23 October 1937
Retired. Grandson is Michael Ronaldson
  Reg Pollard
Labor 23 October 1937
10 December 1949
Previously held the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Bulla and Dalhousie. Served as minister under Chifley. Transferred to the Division of Lalor
  Alan Pittard
Liberal 10 December 1949
28 April 1951
Lost seat
  Bob Joshua
Labor 28 April 1951
April 1955
Lost seat
  Labor (Anti-Communist) April 1955
10 December 1955
  Dudley Erwin
Liberal 10 December 1955
11 November 1975
Served as Chief Government Whip in the House under Holt, McEwen and Gorton. Served as minister under Gorton. Retired
  Jim Short
Liberal 13 December 1975
18 October 1980
Lost seat. Later elected to the Senate in 1984
  John Mildren
Labor 18 October 1980
24 March 1990
Lost seat
  Michael Ronaldson
Liberal 24 March 1990
8 October 2001
Served as Chief Government Whip in the House under Howard. Retired. Later elected to the Senate in 2004. Grandfather was Archibald Fisken
  Catherine King
Labor 10 November 2001
Served as minister under Gillard and Rudd. Incumbent

Election results

2019 Australian federal election: Ballarat[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Catherine King 49,077 47.79 +4.50
Liberal Tim Vo 31,462 30.64 −4.05
Greens Karen McAloon 9,077 8.84 −2.01
United Australia Peter Cozyn 4,741 4.62 +4.62
Animal Justice Bryn Hills 4,393 4.28 +4.28
Independent Nick Shady 2,288 2.23 +2.23
Independent Alex Graham 1,645 1.60 +1.60
Total formal votes 102,683 95.63 +0.92
Informal votes 4,689 4.37 −0.92
Turnout 107,372 93.40 +1.03
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Catherine King 62,615 60.98 +3.62
Liberal Tim Vo 40,068 39.02 −3.62
Labor hold Swing +3.62


  1. "Profile of the electoral division of Ballarat (Vic)". Current federal electoral divisions. Australian Electoral Commission. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  2. Buninyong monument. Ballarat Reform League. Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
  3. "House of Representatives: Voting by constituency, Victoria". Legislative election of 24 March 1990. Adam Carr. 1990. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  4. "BALLARAT ELECTION VOID". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 3 June 1920. p. 8. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  5. Ballarat, VIC, Tally Room 2019, Australian Electoral Commission.

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