Ballarat, first named by a Scottish settler in 1837 (as Ballaarat) is known for its boom during the Goldrush days, transforming it from a sheep station to a large settlement.
Gold was first discovered in 1851 and before long thousands of migrants came to Ballarat in search of their own fortune. Gold yields here remained high for decades compared to other gold rush towns. The first prospectors were gettin half an ounce to 5 ounces per day. Way more than the average wage of that time.
The largest nugget (at the time the worlds largest) weighed in at 62.8kg/136.11lbs, called the Welcome Nugget was found in 1858 at Poverty Point.
Of course gold rush towns bought with them the usual riff raff, ensuing arguments and questions over taxes imposed by authorities. Ballarat was no different and in 1854 'Civil disobedience in Ballarat led to Australia's only armed civil uprising. The Eureka Rebellion (colloquially referred to as the Eureka Stockade) took place on 3 December, 1854. The event in which 22 miners were killed, is considered a defining moment in Australian history.'
The Eureka Stockade was essentially the rebellion of miners against the Victorian and Colonial (ie mother England) authorities. They were objecting to the expense of a Miners Licence and its associated taxes. After a half hour battle the miners came off second best with 22 or more miners being killed.
It is said that perhaps this led to the birth of democracy in Australia.
Anyway there is a whole other story behind that. The Eureka flag is still used and flown in Australia. It was actually designed by a Canadian miner, blue and white with only the southern cross and was said to be an act of defiance not having the British Union Jack flag on it as well. It was also known as 'the diggers flag' and 'the southern cross'.
You saw it in the Glenrowan blog post and pictured below through the dirty windscreen coming into town and flying proudly above the beautiful Town Hall building.
So, first stop after finding a car park, was Irish Murphy's for a pub lunch and a pint of Guiness!
We made a quick trip to the Tourist Information Centre, grabbed a couple of brochures about the Victorian buildings and architecture. To which I am most pleasantly surprised that all these facades and buildings still exist! I walked around most of the time looking up at the gorgeous details!
We walked down Sturt street snapping pic's of buildings and the gorgeous statues and monuments down the centre island. In its hey day, Ballarat was also teeming with trams.
Then it was into the car and did a quick drive around Lake Wendouree. I wasn't allowed out long lol! I found more beautiful statues awaiting photo opportunities in the botanical gardens. Did get a quick few though.
Sovereign Hill we did not do. Need a whole day for that and was way too expensive just for an hour or so. It is a whole village and gold rush experience with staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing around the town. There are mining tours, evening sound and light shows, a museum etc.
Anyway I can say I've been to Ballarat now! On with the road trip to South Australia.