The Ballarat East Fire Brigade Tower, designed by prominent local architect Henry Caselli, was constructed in 1864 by William Cowland, builder, and brigade volunteer. Lack of funds prevented the Engine House from being constructed to Caselli's design, the existing Engine House officially opened in 1916, recalls the earlier structure (1858) which it replaced.
The Ballarat East Fire Station is historically significant as one of the few remaining examples of nineteenth century fire stations and is possibly the oldest in Victoria. Formed in 1856, the brigade was the first to be established in Ballarat, and was progressive in its use of new fire fighting technology being the first in Victoria to use a steam fire engine and install electric street fire alarms.
The Ballarat East Fire Station is of architectural significance demonstrating outstanding application of brick masonry as both a decorative and structural material in the octagonal tower in particular, with its combination of arcaded corbel tables and angled bricks. The tower in combination with the boldly articulated and complementary Engine House forms an unusual and sophisticated ensemble of buildings.
The Ballarat East Fire Station is of further historical significance in its ability to demonstrate the size and pre-eminence of the Ballarat region in the state of Victoria, East Ballarat forming one of its many suburbs until the early decades of the twentieth century.