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VICTORIA
MELBOURNE
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GEELONG
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BALLARAT
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BENDIGO
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ECHUCA
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OTHER PLACES TO
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Hotels in Victoria
Anglesea
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Ballarat
Gold, Sovereign Hill and the Eureka Rebellion

 

By Richard Moore

Ballarat Map
Ballarat and Sovereign Hill Day Tour with Optional Wildlife Park from Melbourne
Grampians National Park and Australian Animals Small Group Tour from Melbourne
2-Day Great Ocean Road and the Grampians Tour from Melbourne

Ballarat is a Victorian gold-rush city of just under 100,000 people 105km to the west and north of Melbourne.

The city was originally a sheep station called Ballaarat - after the Aborginal term balla arat, which is said to mean resting place.

The 1851 gold rush transformed the area as 20,000 people flocked in within months.

Ballarat's gold run continued for decades with its rich veins of the ore making the surrounding city one of the richest in the country. Today's magnificent Victorian buildings attest to the wealth created.

Accommodation:

Ballarat
Ararat
Hamilton
Halls Gap
Horsham
Maryborough

It was also the scene of Australia's only armed rebellion where in 1854 miners rose up against the cost of digging licences among other complaints. They armed themselves, built a wooden stockade and waited for colonial forces to arrive.

The battle, when it came, was bloody and quick, with 27 people dying in the clash - 22 of them miners.

One hundred and 20 miners were arrested and of those 13 were put on trial for high treason and faced the death penalty. After hearing the Crown and defence cases the judge took 30 minutes to deliberate and came back with a verdict of not guilty.

Visitors to Ballarat can go to the site of the battle in Eureka St.

And there is the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka near the site too. This museum has interactive and immersive exhibitions that it says will explore the evolution and the future of democracy looking at culture, civics, history and citizenship for Australians. The centrepiece of the museum is the actual Eureka flag - the Southern Cross - that was raised at the Eureka Stockade.

For a hands-on experience of life in the Victorian goldfields you can visit Soveriegn Hill, a multi-award winning outdoor museum where you can see how miners and early settlers lived, as well as try you hand at panning for gold. Any you find you get to keep!

And, for a real thrill, hop aboard a stagecoach and have a ride around the diggings or steel yourself and head into the underground workings themselves.

For more on gold and its importance to the city of Ballarat head along to the Gold Museum in Bradshaw St. other museums of note include the Tramway Museum and the Observatory and Museum.

If plants are your thing then Ballarat has wonderful Botanical Gardens regarded as one of the country's most important cool-climate gardens. They were created in 1857 and have the country's greatest concentration of public statuary including the official Prime Ministers Avenue.

There is also the Ballarat Begonia Festival over the Labour Day long weekend in March that attracts tens of thousands of flower lovers to the city.

The city is also home to Australia's oldest regional arthouse - the Ballarat Art Gallery.

Just outside Ballarat at Mt Helen is the amazing Bird World, which has Australia's largest display of cockatoos and parrots. There is more wildlife on offer at the Ballarat Wildlife Park on the corner of Russell and York streets.

Visit Ballarat, it's an amazingly big, little city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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