Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey
Ballarat : The Forgotten Village
It is probably a surprise to most, but there were actually TWO Olympic Villages for the 1956 Melbourne Games-
At around 70 miles from Melbourne, Ballarat was too far for daily commuting, but as most of the athletes only required accommodation for one or possibly two nights during their event -
The athletes were housed in ex-
The complex also included a post office, bank, canteen, medical centre (three rooms), a storeroom, work shop and boiler room)
There was a dining and recreation room of approximately 2,400 square feet, which given the much smaller number of athletes, compared most favourably with Heidelberg's, 2,600.
The total number at any one time at Ballarat was around 500 athletes and team officials -
The Nissen Hut
The concept originated in 1916 with Major Peter Nissen of the British Army Royal Engineers as a semi-
The concept was quickly adopted by the United States Army when it entered the war in 1917.
It was estimated some 100,000 were produced in the latter two years of the Great War; Nissen as an enlisted officer received no payment for his design (although he was awarded a Distinguished Service Order), but post-
The concept was revived during the Second World War and hundreds if not thousands of surplus huts in Australia were converted to cheap housing, especially for the influx of migrants in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s when they provided “temporary” housing.
They were also used at remote sites including storage at country railway stations and for accommodation at construction camps – there were attempts to adapt them for permanent housing (including one design in the U.S. which added a second storey), but as many reports suggested, they gave the inhabitants "average" climatic conditions -
The other advantage was that they were prefabricated -
The “Olympic Village” at Ballarat; below, a German crew outside their hut.
Left : A typical Nissen hut (believed U.S. Army) and right, an interior view, Second World War at an R.A.A.F. base
|A City Within the Village|
|Hungary vs Russia|
|Ballarat : The Forgotten Village|