Gracious and historic city - the largest in inland Victoria
Ballarat is a major rural centre with a population of more than 100,000 which makes it Victoria's largest inland city. Only Melbourne and Geelong have more people. Ballarat is hugely impressive and has an air of stateliness and grandeur as a result of its elegant wide thoroughfares; its Victorian and Edwardian heritage buildings, tree-lined avenues, parks, gardens and statuary (there are 25 statues and monuments on Sturt Street); and its substantial educational institutions.
Historically it was created as one of the great Victorian centres of gold mining and prospecting. Today it is driven by a combination of tourism, retail, manufacturing and community services. The city's most important event, a defining moment in Australian history, was the Eureka Stockade rebellion in December, 1854 when miners rose up and fought the local authorities. It is celebrated throughout the city and particularly in the city's major tourist attraction, Sovereign Hill. There is so much to see and experience at Ballarat that visitors need to spend two to three days ... and even then they will feel there is still much more to enjoy at the nearby towns of Buninyong, Clunes, Smythesdale and Daylesford.
Ballarat, which is 441 metres above sea level, is located 115 km west of Melbourne.^ TOP
Origin of Name
It is claimed that the local Aborigines, the Wathawurung people, called the district 'Balla-arat' which meant 'a good resting place'.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
The city is so rich in historic buildings that it is hard to see all the impressive structures - symbols of the wealth created by gold - that there are three heritage walking trails through the city exploring its mining past. The trails are along Sturt Street, Lydiard Street and Camp Street and deserve to be enjoyed by taking very leisurely strolls. There is a useful brochure, available at the Visitor Centre, titled Ballarat's Historic Streetscapes. In total it lists 35 places of historic interest on the Lydiard Street Walking Trail and 25 places on the Central Ballarat Walking Trail which combines Sturt Street with Camp Street. The entries here at Aussie Towns (all 60 of them) are much more detailed than the map and combine information collected from a variety of sources including the old, but hugely useful, Ballarat Heritage Walking Trails. Walk and explore this wonderland of buildings - all symbols of the wealth created by an excess of gold. A copy is available at http://phoenixp12cc.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/6/3/26634243/walking_trails_brochure_2011.pdf
1. Sturt Street and Camp Street
Sturt Street is the city's main street. It is six lanes wide with an elegant median strip characterised by numerous statues and monuments. The section between Grenville Street and Pleasant Street is a wonderland of gracious Victorian and Edwardian buildings which bear witness to the wealth of the city during its goldrush heyday.
Buildings of particular interest include:
2. 23 Sturt Street
This wonderfully ornate, bright blue building, sometimes called the Log Tavern, is listed in the Victorian Heritage Database. It is Victoria's only surviving Edwardian Flemish Baroque building and stands out as a unique contribution to the town's rich architectural heritage.
3. Former Sutton's Music Store
Located at 31 Sturt Street, was built in 1891. Today it stands as an impressive the three storey structure. It was the tallest commercial building, standing twenty-two metres, when it was built. Richard Henry Sutton’s started his music business in a tent on Bakery Hill in 1854. "When the building was completed the ground floor featured five German-made decorative stained glass panels. Each one had an image of a celebrated musician. Today only one, Mozart, can be seen just above the veranda. Richard's son, Henry Sutton (1856 – 1912), who was born in Ballarat, worked in his father’s music business but became a noted inventor. His inventions included an experimental ornithopter (c.1870), driven by clockwork, which could fly in a circumference of twelve feet (3.7 m) and from left to right and upwards at any desired angle. In later years Henry built a hydraulic lift for his father’s music store and invented more than twenty kinds of telephones." For more detailed information check out https://www.flickr.com/photos/40262251@N03/6724275755.
4. Pioneer Miner's Monument
Located on the corner of Sturt and Albert Street, the impressive Pioneer Miner's Monument (sometimes referred to as the Gold Monument) was dedicated in 1951 - a century after gold was first discovered - and lists, in great detail, the richest alluvial and quartz mines and the largest nuggets. It is fun to notice, for example, that a total of over 20 million ounces were dug up in the district and that the Welcome nugget weighed in at 2,217 ounces. For more detail, and a list of the information on the monument, check out http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/technology/industry/display/30212-gold-monument/photo/6.
5. Ballaarat Mechanics Institute
Located at 117-119 Stuart Street and open 10.00 am - 4.00 pm Monday to Friday and 9.30 am - noon on Saturday, the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute was established in 1859 in a Reading Room at the local Fire Brigade. The website (https://ballaratmi.org.au) records: "On Friday, September 28, 1860 the foundation stone of the back section of the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute was laid with full Masonic honours in front of a crowd, estimated by the Ballarat Star, as numbering 10,000. This first part of the building consisted of a reading room, library, lecture room and two classrooms on the ground floor and a large hall on the first floor, capable of seating 1200 people. Charles Boykett was the architect. The cost of the building was reported to be around £3400 and the Committee of the day took some time to pay off the debt. The lecture hall on the first floor was not finally completed until 1864. By 1868 the Institute was running out of space, so the Committee boldly decided to erect the existing, grand three-storey frontage to Sturt Street. The design of architect J.H. Jones, of Ballarat, was chosen in mid 1868 and the front section was completed in July 1869 at an approximate cost of £6000. Difficulties with the foundations, the architect and the contractors caused a substantial overrun in cost."
The Victorian Heritage Database records: "The Ballaarat Mechanics Institute is a brick building with an impressive four level symmetrical rendered Victorian Free Classical style facade with a verandah with a central barrel vault. The facade has a recessed central section flanked by two three storey bays with Greek and Roman classical motifs. The coved arch above the entrance is bordered by sculptural relief panels with two reclining figures, and to either side are shopfronts. The library floor has a central arched and fanned alcove with a slightly projecting balustraded balcony. The central bay of the top floor is also recessed with a small balcony and above the parapet is a sculpture of Minerva, the Roman goddess associated with wisdom, symbolising the Institute's desire for knowledge. The building is substantially intact internally. The library houses a vast collection of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century books, newspapers, journals, and Institute records dating from c. 1857. It includes early Ballarat and Australian colonial publications, and collections of notable individuals such as John Fawkner and JB Humffray." Today it is one of ten Mechanics Institutes in Victoria which provides library services to the community. There are also tours, cultural events and exhibitions. For more information tel: (03) 5331 3042 or https://ballaratmi.org.au.
6. Former Unicorn Hotel
Located at 127 Sturt Street, the Unicorn Hotel, now known simply as The Unicorn, was built in 1866. The facade was completed that year and the rest of the building was constructed in the next few years. The Victorian Heritage Database notes that: "The hotel facade is composed on the upper floor of French doors surmounted by austerely detailed Renaissance heads on consoles, and on the centre door a pediment. The building has a particularly elegant and early veranda and balcony, which tend to over-shadow the facade. It is a two storey version of the early single storey flat roofed and balustraded post verandas. The original elements are (from ground up): the slender cast iron columns with Corinthian capitals; ground floor brackets, swag bellied balcony panels; the double timber balusters with frieze iron inserts; cornice and brackets ... Early photographs and etchings show the hotel as an opulent structure which was originally luxuriant with potted palms on the first floor level ... This building, and especially its veranda, is of great interest in a state wide context. This is the only remaining two storied veranda of this form." For more information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/123569/download-report.
7. Former National Mutual Insurance Company
Located on the corner of Lydiard and Sturt Street, this imposing building was completed in 1905 to a design by J.J. and E.J. Clarke. The Victorian Heritage Database notes that: "The building is a sizeable composition with mixed Renaissance and Venetian Gothic characteristics, including recessed loggias on the three upper levels, with trefoil Gothic arches to two levels and very unusual cusped stilted segmental arches on the top storey. From the roof projects an openwork octagonal structure, formerly domed with pinnacles at the corners." For more information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/120901/download-report.
8. Sugg Lamp
Notice the remarkable street light in the centre of the road at the corner of Lydiard and Sturt Street. It is known as a Sugg Lamp. The Ballarat Revealed website notes: "In 1881 the City of Ballarat introduced 20 gas lamps - this is one of two 'original' Sugg lamps in Ballarat (the other one is at the junction of Sturt and Grenville Streets), the oldest of their kind in the world. It is particularly rare because these English 12-sided lamps were built large enough to house candles, pre-dating piped gas systems when street lights became much smaller. In 1807 William Sugg became the first person to make and lay a gas pipeline for lighting, and the Sugg company which designed and manufactured gas lighting was for a time one of the biggest such companies in the world." The lamp is the same as those outside Buckingham Palace in London. Check out https://williamsugghistory.co.uk/?page_id=94 for more detailed information about the history of the lights.
9. Town Hall
The Ballarat Town Hall, which dominates Sturt Street, is actually the third Town Hall in the city. The Victorian Heritage Council (see https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67573/download-report) notes: " It was constructed in 1870 to the designs of Architects J J Lorenz and H R Caselli (Interiors), the 1860 second Town Hall (Police Court) being incorporated in the new building but refaced . The symmetrical facade decorated with a trabeated system of pilasters, is dominated by the dome roofed clock tower, which has a peal of bells and pedimented end towers with fan-shaped windows ... The building is one of the earliest very substantial town halls in the State and is one of the very few with a central clock tower. Ballarat Town Hall is believed to be one of a few in the world with a peal of bells. The detailing of the corner towers is most unusual. Parts of the interior are intact." If you really want to experience the building in all its glory there is a ten point audio tour which looks at the building and various rooms - the Portrait Room, the Council Chamber, the Jessie Scott Room, the Morton Room - in great detail. It can be accessed, and listened to, at http://www.hulballarat.org.au/townhall.php.
10. Former Post Office Building
Located at the corner of Lydiard and Sturt Streets, the former Post Office was Victoria's second largest post office. The GPO in Melbourne was larger. "The earliest section, designed in Italianate palazzo style by the Public Works Department during William Wardell's tenure as Inspector-General and Chief Architect, opened in 1864. A telegraph office and treasury was added to the Lydiard Street north frontage in 1871, followed by further offices and a clock tower in 1885." For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1364/download-report.
11. Camp Street
In the 1850s a Government Camp (hence the name) was established on this elevated site to give troopers an open view of the gold diggings below. It was from this point that government troopers left to march to the Eureka Stockade on 3 December, 1854. Today Camp Street is notable for its impressive historic buildings including the Masonic Hall, the Police Station, the YMCA and the Trades Hall.
12. Summerscales Building
Occupying the corner of Lydiard Street and Camp Street, and with a number of shops under the awning, the Summerscale Building was constructed in 1895 by bookseller, H.J. Summerscales. The shop he built included part of the Mining Board Room and was extended in 1901.
15. Former Police Court
Located just up from the corner of Lydiard Street, this handsome red brick Federation-era courthouse (sometimes known as the Sheriff's Office) was built as the New Police Court in 1904 and contained a two-storey courtroom with Clerks’ and Magistrates’ rooms. After 1941 courtrooms were provided in the new state government offices. It is now used as the Federation University's Arts Academy’s music theatre studio.
16. Ballarat Police Station (also known as Huyghue House)
Located at 15 Camp Street, and uniquely defined by its decorative cast iron veranda, this Italianate multi-coloured building was constructed between 1884 and 1886 on a bluestone base. The old police station was renamed after S. D. S. Huyghue, a Canadian-born novelist, poet and essayist who witnessed the events of the Eureka Stockade. The Victorian Heritage Database records that "This double storey brick building was constructed as a police station for a contract sum of £1623 3s 11d. The northern single storey wing was apparently added at a later date. The brown brickwork is relieved by bands of cream, and rough-faced bluestone is used below grounds floor level along Camp Street. A raised single storey verandah with cast iron columns and balustrading complete the camp street elevation. The use of decorative cast iron (of a type more commonly seen in residential work) makes this police station unique in Victoria." See https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/61 for details. The building now forms part of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, housing offices and meeting rooms.
17. Pratt's Warehouse
Located at 101-103 Mair Street (on the corner of Camp Street) with the old David Pratt & Sons General Merchants still on the side of the building, this free standing rough-faced masonry warehouse was built in 1869 as McDowall and Gray’s Warehouse to a design by prominent local architect, J.A. Donae. The Victorian Heritage Database notes that it is "a rare example of a two-storey masonry warehouse of the mid-19th century. In its original form, with pulleys, hooks, and hoists, it exhibits the type of warehouse structure of the day ... it is a free-standing corner structure with a double facade. The facade is also notable for its unusual false and real chimneys, used to establish the symmetry on the Mair Street side." Check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1347/download-report for more details.
18. Former YMCA
Located at 38 Camp Street (corner of Field Street), the former YMCA "is a fine example of Edwardian style architecture. Built on an unusually shaped and sharp block, the building has a complex design that utilises the tight space. Designed in Federation Queen Anne style the building features a pepper pot dome and an impressive sheer wall disappearing down Field Street. It features a profusion of stained glass windows on all facades, an open bay with Art Nouveau fretwork and circular accented balustrading along the roofline. Built in 1908 on land which was given by John W. Wilson, one of the pioneer citizens of Ballarat, the building was opened by the Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin as Ballarat's YMCA, and operated as such until 1994 ... Queen Anne was mostly a residential style inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement in England, but also encompassed some of the more stylised elements of Art Nouveau, which gave it a more decorative look. Queen Anne style civic buildings are a rarity in Australia. The red brick from which the YMCA is built is typically Arts and Crafts as is the the roughcast wall treatment over the portico, on which the Young Men's Christian Association's name appears in stylised lettering. The beautiful stained glass windows on the other hand are very Art Nouveau in design, as is the fretwork around the open upper floor bay. The pepper pot dome is made of pressed metal in a "fish scale" pattern, which was made very popular by the worldwide craze for all things Japanese in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries after Japan opened its borders to Westerners." For more information check out https://www.flickr.com/photos/40262251@N03/7109116899.
19.Ballarat Trades Hall
Located at 24 Camp Street, the Ballarat Trades Hall was constructed in 1887-88 as a meeting place for trade unions and the offices of the local Trades and Labour Council. The Victorian Heritage Database notes: "It is a three-storey brick building set on a sharply angled site. Its rendered facade is executed in a grandiose mannerist design using giant Corinthian orders and broken pediments. The hall is located on the ground floor with offices at the front and the central bluestone stair leads to more office space on the 1st floor and a meeting room on the second. With the exception of the facade, the building is simple, functional and unadorned. The building was designed by prolific Ballarat architects, James and Piper, and built by local contractors, Leech and Outtrim, at a cost of £2,128. Only Ballarat tradesmen were allowed to work on its construction." There is more detail at https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/62.
20. Former ANA Hall
Located at 22 Camp Street, this hall, built in 1925, was the Ballarat home for the Australian Natives’ Association (ANA) that was founded in 1871. The ANA was established in Australia in the middle of the 19th century to provide medical and other services. By 1900, it had 17,000 members, mostly in Victoria.
21. Freemasons Hall
Located next door to the ANA Hall, this building in Greek revival style was Ballarat’s first Freemasons’ Hall. It was built between 1872 and 1874 in textured cement with impressive columns on either side of the entrance and an original ornate fence that surrounds the building.
22. Former Ballarat State Bank
Located at 48 Sturt Street (on the corner of Camp Street) this elegant Renaissance revival building was originally the State Savings Bank. The Ballarat State Bank opened for business in 1858 and this impressive two-storey building was constructed in 1872. It remained with the State Bank until this branch closed in 1995. There is an historic photograph at https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/123562.
23. Former Chamber of Commerce
Located at 42-46 Sturt Street, this building was constructed for the local Chamber of Commerce in 1859. It is worth observing the first floor windows which are alternately triangular and curved.
24. Former Camp Hotel
Located at 38 Sturt Street, the former Camp Hotel needs to be viewed from across the street. It is a remarkable example of an art nouveau-influenced building. It was built in 1907 and known as the Camp Hotel. It was converted into Irish Murphy’s pub in 1998. The building features wrought iron lamp brackets on the top and from a distance the first floor has two windows that look like eyes and a central window which looks like a nose.
2. Lydiard Street Walking Trail
Lydiard Street is regarded as one of Australia's most beautifully preserved historic thoroughfares. It has some of the country's finest examples of colonial architecture and is often used as an historic setting for movies and advertisements .
1. Ballarat Gaol (1857)
This section of Lydiard Street has been turned into a mall by the University of Ballarat. At the end of the mall, at 5 Lydiard Street, is the Ballarat Gaol which was built around 1857 and housed prisoners until 1965. The gaol's prisoners included Captain Moonlight (Andrew Scott) who escaped and at least 12 people who were executed. The Victorian Heritage Database explains its significance: "The former Gaol, Lydiard Street South, Ballarat, was constructed to designs by the Public Works Department of Victoria; the first cell blocks in 1857, gaolers and warders quarters, towers and walls all in 1860. The cell blocks have been demolished. The entrance front comprises the two storey quarters blocks about a central entrance, with side walls and entrances and a corner lookout tower. Construction is in brick with basalt dressings.
The former Gaol is a building of considerable historical importance and forms an essential part of the streetscape and historic townscape of Ballarat. Architecturally the building is a representative example of nineteenth century prison design by the Public Works Department of Victoria and is essentially Classic Revival stylistically, with 'medieval' detailing to the corner tower." For more detail check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67524.
2. School of Mines (1870)
The city’s School of Mines, situated at 107 Lydiard Street, is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. It is the oldest remnant of a school of mines in Victoria and in Australia having been constructed in 1870 to provide a scientific and practical education in mining and related fields. The School of Mines became especially famous for its science, engineering, metallurgy, chemistry and geology courses. The Heritage Database notes its significance as "The Ballarat School of Mines (Federation University Australia) is architecturally significant and demonstrates most of the principal characteristics of the class of further education campuses since the 1870s. It is a notable example of the class as demonstrated through its combination of purpose built and adapted buildings featuring a range of construction eras and built forms and spread over a diverse topography. The Ballarat School of Mines (Federation University Australia) also includes fine two-storey brick and rendered buildings along the former School of Mines' boundary on Lydiard Street South which contrast with buildings constructed at later periods across the balance of the campus." It merged with the University of Ballarat in 1998 and is now known as the SMB Campus. Check https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/77 for more detailed information.
3. Wesleyan Church and Sunday School
Located on the corner of Lydiard and Dana Streets (101 Dana Street) this impressive Gothic Revival church, listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, and constructed in 1883-1884 to a design by prominent local architects, Terry and Oakden. The elaborate structure of polychromatic brickwork with geometric tracery around the windows includes stunning amphitheatre-style seating. The Victorian Heritage Database notes: "The Gothic design of the former Wesleyan Church, which skilfully handles a difficult site, is important as a striking example of polychrome brickwork. The elongated windows of the former Wesleyan Church, with geometric tracery, are also of significance for their notched brickwork diaper patterns, together with the horizontal wall banding the lozenge motifs." For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1379.
5. Sugg Lamp
Notice the remarkable street light in the centre of the road at the corner of Lydiard and Sturt Street. It is known as a Sugg Lamp. The Ballarat Revealed website (see https://ballaratrevealed.com) notes: "In 1881 the City of Ballarat introduced 20 gas lamps - this is one of two 'original' Sugg lamps in Ballarat (the other one is at the junction of Sturt and Grenville Streets), the oldest of their kind in the world. It is particularly rare because these English 12 sided lamps were built large enough to house candles, pre-dating piped gas systems when street lights became much smaller. In 1807 William Sugg became the first person to make and lay a gas pipeline for lighting, and the Sugg company which designed and manufactured gas lighting was for a time one of the biggest such companies in the world." The lamp is the same as those outside Buckingham Palace in London. Check out https://williamsugghistory.co.uk/?page_id=94 for more detailed information about the history of the lights.
8. Christ Church of England Cathedral
Located at 49 Lydiard Street, this handsome bluestone Gothic church is believed to be one of the city’s earliest stone buildings. The foundation stone was laid in 1854 and the church was designed by Backhouse and Reynolds and completed in 1857 at a cost of more than £2000. The sanctuary and transepts, designed by Edward James, were added in 1868. There is an impressive stained glass window to St George which was installed in 1947.
9. Chancery House
Located at 38 Lydiard Street South, Chancery House is an impressive Renaissance Revival building which still has its original floor, chimney, roof, Doric columns and frieze. It was built in 1880.
Located at 32 Lydiard Street, and originally known as Furnival Chambers, it was originally an office building in the mid 1800s which was subsequently converted into a boutique hotel.
11. Fraser, Nevett, Frawley
Located at 41 Lydiard Street South, this solid Renaissance revival building was originally a bank with nine arched windows on the first floor. It was built in 1881 and by 1911 it was being used as solicitors’ offices.
12. Lynn's Chambers
Located at 26 Lydiard Street, Lynn’s Chambers was once the office of Adam Loftus Lynn, the first solicitor to practice on the Ballarat goldfields. Described by the Ballarat Courier as "Constructed in 1870 as a single-storey building and expanded around 1898 to its current two storeys, the building retains many of the features that a wealthy Victorian would have thought de rigueur. Tesselated tile floors, inlaid fireplaces and sizeable rooms marked the building as the office of a person of considerable influence." Irish-born Lynn appeared for the Scobie family at the inquest of James Scobie’s murder. The inadequacy of the trial was an important event in the lead-up to the Eureka Stockade.
13. Craig's Royal Hotel
Craig's Hotel, at 10-16 Lydiard Street South, is one of the legendary goldrush hotels. It evolved from Bath's Hotel which was built in 1853 by Thomas Bath who received the first hotel licence of the Victorian diggings. The Members of the Eureka Stockade Royal Commission of Enquiry opened their commission at Bath's Hotel shortly after the Eureka Rebellion.
Walter Craig bought the hotel in 1857. He added the present three-storey Lydiard Street brick facade in 1862, the corner tower and three-storey western section in 1890 and the portico in 1891. In 1867 the hotel was made the headquarters of the visiting Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son. Noted Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon ran Craig's Livery Stables in 1867-68. American writer Mark Twain stayed at Craig's Hotel during a visit in the 1890s and Dame Nellie Melba famously sang from its balcony in 1908.
The Victorian Heritage Register records its complex history: "Craig's Royal Hotel, 10 Lydiard Street South, Ballarat, was built in stages: the south wing in 1862 to designs by architect C.D. Cuthbert, the north wing from 1889-90 by James and Piper, and the cast iron porch in 1901 by Smith and Malloy. The south wing comprises a ground flour of banded rustication surmounted by two storeys of loggias with two towers above. The north wing features and octagonal tower with pointed roof and window' walk. Craig's Royal Hotel, 10 Lydiard Street South, Ballarat, is a hotel of considerable architectural importance, has substantial historical associations and forms an essential part of the streetscape and townscape of Ballarat. The south wing is an important and substantial example of the Italianate style, of note particularly for its double storey loggias, towers and detailing. The north wing has been sympathetically added yet is distinctively late boom style." For more information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/79.
14. Her Majesty's Theatre (1875)
Located at 17 Lydiard Street, Her Majesty's Theatre opened as the Academy of Music in 1875. It cost £13,000 and was built to a design by the architect, George 'Diamond' Browne. It is Australia’s oldest continuously operating purpose-built theatre and has been known as Her Majesty's since 1898. Today, concerts and live shows are still held on the stage where Dame Nellie Melba once performed. The theatre has been owned by the City of Ballarat since 1987. The theatre website is https://hermaj.com/ and it has box office information. The Victorian Heritage Database notes "it is the most substantially intact of our remaining 19th century theatres, which include the Theatre Royal in Hobart, the Princess in Melbourne and Her Majesty's in Brisbane ... the Ballarat theatre has special importance for its unique interior. Its double horse-shoe shaped balconies supported on columns, added from the designs of the notable architect William Pitt in 1898, are the last example of this type of theatre design in the State." Check https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67 for details.
15. Former Union Bank Building
Located at 4-6 Lydiard Street, the former Union Bank Building was constructed in 1863-1864 and is considered one of architect Leonard Terry’s finest works. The Victorian Heritage Register notes: "This two storey building constructed of stuccoed brick has a five bay facade. The fluted Doric columns of the ground floor colonnade are in the Greek manner, without bases. This colonnade is grandly matched by an upper floor colonnade of unfluted Corinthian columns supporting an entablature with dentillated cornice below a balustraded parapet. Behind the colonnades is a conventional Terry facade, with a rusticated ground floor of ruled masonry courses, and hooded windows in the piano nobile with projecting balconettes. The Greek revival character is maintained by the diagonal patterned transom lights above the entrance and the iron scroll work of the balconettes." For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/78/download-report which also notes, of the building's significance, "The bank demonstrates the historical importance of Ballarat as a gold mining town and is representative of the large number of institutions that established branches to service a thriving community founded on gold."
16.Former National Mutual Insurance Company
Located on the corner of Lydiard and Sturt Street, this imposing building was completed in 1905 to a design by J.J. and E.J. Clarke. The Victorian Heritage Database notes that: "The building is a sizeable composition with mixed Renaissance and Venetian Gothic characteristics, including recessed loggias on the three upper levels, with trefoil Gothic arches to two levels and very unusual cusped stilted segmental arches on the top storey. From the roof projects an open work octagonal structure, formerly domed with pinnacles at the corners." For more information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/120901/download-report.
17. Former Bank of Australasia
Located on the corner of Lydiard Street North and Sturt Street (currently a jeweller and a cafe), the former Bank of Australasia was designed by architect Leonard Terry who designed at least 50 other banks in Victoria. It is an extraordinary and imposing Italian Palazzo-style building, which was constructed in 1863. Note the elaborate 18 ceiling, distinctive balustrades and decorative arch windows.
18. Former National Bank
Located at 5 Lydiard Street North, this three-storey building, designed by architect Leonard Terry, was originally constructed as the National Bank of Australasia in 1862.
19. Former Colonial Bank of Australia
Located at 9 Lydiard Street North, this Colonial Bank of Australia building was constructed in 1860 to a Leonard Terry design.
20. Former Bank of New South Wales
Located at 13-15 Lydiard Street North, This building, listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, is an imposing Renaissance revival building designed by architect Leonard Terry and constructed in 1862. The Victorian Heritage Database notes: "The two storied structure is stuccoed with a bluestone plinth. The ground floor facade features smooth rustication to arch springing level with a smooth surface above, decorated with voussoirs and quoins. The smooth surfaced upper storey is decorated with segmental window hoods, string courses and quoins and a balustraded parapet." For more details check https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/71.
21. Former Post Office Building
Located at 106 Sturt Street or 2-6 Lydiard Street, the former Post Office was Victoria's second largest post office. The GPO in Melbourne was larger. "The earliest section, designed in Italianate palazzo style by the Public Works Department during William Wardell's tenure as Inspector-General and Chief Architect, opened in 1864. A telegraph office and treasury was added to the Lydiard Street north frontage in 1871, followed by further offices and a clock tower in 1885." For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1364/download-report.
22. Mining Exchange
Located at 8-14 Lydiard Street North, and clearly marked "Mining Exchange", this classical building with wide elliptical entrance was erected between 1887-1889. The Victorian Heritage Database explains: " It was designed by the local architect Charles Figgis, and replaced an earlier stock exchange established at the corner of Sturt and Lydiard Streets. As early as 1857, the buying and selling of shares took place as a result of the formation of mining companies, necessary to finance the costly deep sinking of mines ... The Mining Exchange building comprises a two storey block of shops at the front and a large single storey exchange hall at the rear. A central entrance in the symmetrical front facade leads to the main exchange hall, which is itself flanked internally by arcaded brokers' booths with arched clerestorey windows above, and a call room at the rear. The bull nose, corrugated iron roof of the main hall is supported on light trusses, principally formed of tension rods. Internally a bow fronted balcony projects above the entrance, set within an open elliptical archway with matching archways either side. Designed in the typical classical 'boom' style of the late 1880s, the facade of this dark brick building utilises render to provide contrast. Shops are paired either side of a central wide elliptical entrance and prominent rusticated arches dominate the facade at street level. At first floor level, modified Palladian motifs form openings with emphasis placed on that of the central bay. A pedimented window and pediment placed centrally in the balustraded parapet above further emphasise the central bay." It is lined with 40 offices that were once bustling with share brokers and mining agents selling shares in goldmines. The Mining Exchange recorded 98 members when it opened and when gold mining declined, the elaborate building was used as a garage, bus depot and craft market. For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/70/download-report.
23. The George Hotel
Located at 25 Lydiard Street North, the George Hotel, Ballarat’s second officially licensed hotel,was built in 1853 and called the George Inn. The Victorian Heritage Database records: " It was an imposing two storey building located in a key position on Camp Hill, and was a landmark of early Ballarat. It was ... witness to many of the events that shaped early Ballarat, particularly the Eureka uprising of 1854, when it was the rendezvous point for the civil and military authorities. In 1902 it was replaced by the present building, designed by the Ballarat architects E & B Smith and built by J McGregor. The tender price was £8397, and the total cost including furnishings was £17,000. Although built after the boom period, its flamboyant design is akin to the styles of the late nineteenth century. It had seventy five rooms of which thirty were bedrooms. There were four bars, behind which were four sitting rooms, a reading room, complete with grand piano, which opened into the dining room by means of wide folding doors, a commercial room, a billiard room with two tables, and a grand stair hall with an elaborate timber reception desk and a fine walnut staircase. An unusual feature was the carriage way to the right hand side of the building, now closed off, which separated a suite of offices, the George Chambers, on one side from the bars and lounge rooms on the other. The stables at the rear were designed to accommodate both horses and motor vehicles." The present three-storey federation classicalbrick building, with its three-level iron lace verandas, is unique to Victoria. For more information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/73/download-report.
24. Old Colonists' Club Building
Located at 16-24 Lydiard Street North, Old Colonists' Club Building was built between 1887-1889 with the veranda being added in 1901. It was built on the site of the former gold escort barracks and stables, and was a popular spot for early pioneers to gather for a natter. The Victorian Heritage Database notes: "The symmetrical facade is distinguished by its double stage parapet, with balustraded central bays and coat of arms beneath a broken pediment. The double storied, cast iron verandah has an infilled central cable. The interior and especially the hall, stairs and billiard room are distinctive ... Architecturally the interiors and the detailing of the Classical Revival facade, which derives from Renaissance design, are distinctive and important." The stone mask of the man with the stern face and Quaker-style beard above the entrance is recognisable as John Murray, who was the president of the Old Colonists’ when the building was constructed. For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67500.
25. Former Alexandria Tea Room
Located at 26-34 Lydiard Street North, "In 1924 this building became tea rooms operated by the Misses Brazenor, becoming known as the Alexandria Tea Rooms in 1936. This use continued at least into the 1970s and later became known as Alexandria Receptions in the 1980s and 1990s. Designed in a Renaissance Revival style, this two storey building has a two storey verandah which appears to have been constructed at a later date. At ground level the shop fronts are divided into four bays by Roman Doric pilasters, with fluted columns flanking the central entrance, which led to the club rooms. This is repeated at first floor level, with four bays of triple windows. The facade is completed with a balustraded parapet containing a central triangular pediment. The cast iron verandah at both levels comprises paired slender Corinthian columns at the corners and flanking the entrance and gablet above. Friezes, of different design at each level, run between columns, and a balustrade of unusually broad panels, incorporating a radiating pattern, is possibly of local origin. The central gablet, which is penetrated by an arch, reflects the parapet pediment and emphasises the symmetry of the composition." This description is taken from the Victorian Heritage Database. There is more detailed information at https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/74/download-report.
26. Art Gallery of Ballarat
Located at 40 Lydiard Street North, is the Fine Art Gallery, also known as the Art Gallery of Ballarat, which was established in 1884 and is now recognised as Australia's largest and oldest purpose-built provincial gallery.
It has a major collection covering the history of Australian art, from colonial to contemporary, with a special goldfields collection that includes works by Eugene Von Guerard who painted the local fields in the early 1850s. There are particularly strong collections of material from the Heidelberg School and the Lindsay family.
Artists in the gallery include Tom Roberts, E. Phillips Fox, William Dobell, James Gleeson, Ian Fairweather, Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and Fred Williams.
Since 1895 the gallery has also possessed an original Eureka Flag which flew over the stockade until it was attacked by government forces. The troopers took the flag and damaged it at a celebratory victory party. It remained in the possession of trooper John King until 1895 when his widow donated it to the gallery.
The gallery also houses fine collections of prints and drawings (including material from Captain Cook's voyage), together with costumes, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, an unusual selection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, oriental rugs, together with some English and European paintings and decorative arts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Gallery is open daily from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm , tel: (03) 5320 5858.
27. Former Union Fidelity Trustees Co. of Australia
Located at 101 Lydiard Street North, the building replaced a wooden hotel that was destroyed by fire in 1887. It was originally built as the Ballarat Palace Hotel and designed by architects James and Piper. But it was de-registered as a hotel in 1918, the building later became known as the Union Fidelity Trustees. The building is noted for its fine stone detailing with cement render, and elegant pilasters and decorative lintels above the windows on the upper floor. For more details check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/177908/download-report.
28. Former JJ Goller & Co Warehouse
Located at 114 Lydiard Street North, this two-storey warehouse was built in 1862 from bluestone carted to Ballarat from quarries near Geelong. From 1876 it housed Goller’s Wholesale Wine and Spirit Merchants. For more information https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/177412.
30. Ludbrook House
Located at 115 Lydiard Street North, this impressive Roman Renaissance building was planned in 1867 and finally built in 1913. It was used as a hostel and canteen for servicemen during World War II and became St Paul’s School in 1949. Today it is the office of Ballarat’s Child and Family Services.
31. Former Reid's Coffee Palace
Located at 128 Lydiard Street North and built in 1886, this Victorian classical building was once home to Reid’s New York Bakery and is now called Reid's Guest House. The wonderfully ornate veranda was added in the late 1890s and the Edwardian balcony and hand-painted ceiling have been saved.
33. The Provincial Hotel, Ballarat
Located at 123 Lydiard Street North, the Provincial Hotel is a wonderland of rich design. The Victorian Heritage Database explains: "The Provincial Hotel, built in 1909 was designed by a Ballarat architect, Percy S. Richards ... The overall composition of this corner building is very baroque in its approach ... The whole composition is controlled by the use of two domed tower elements - one an oriel tower which stresses the building's corner, the other a turret crowned with four small corner domes and a larger central one. A variety of window shapes is used and these framed by prominent chimneys whose expression is carried onto the facades. Horizontally, the building is divided into three major elements; the rendered ground floor, the first floor which is accentuated by the banded use of red red brick and stucco, and the rendered parapet which is arythmically pierced by domes and chimneys. The detailing of the building derives from many varied styles ranging from renaissance window treatment and ground floor restication through muslim use of banded voussoirs and ogee shaped domes, to art nouveau detailed wrought iron, stained glass and decorative panels. Added to that are traces of Norman architecture interspersed with "modern 1909" detailing. Given the nature of the style, very few examples of this important type have survived, even fewer have survived intact." Check for more details at https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/66.
35. Ballarat Railway Station (1862)
Located off Lydiard Street, the Ballarat Railway station was constructed in 1862. The tower section was constructed in 1888. It is a symbol of the importance and affluence of Ballarat at the height of the city's goldrush days. The Victorian Heritage Database notes "The architectural significance of the complex is borne out by the following information:
* Together with Maryborough, Albury (NSW), Port Pirie (SA) and Brisbane Central (Qld), Ballarat is the only nineteenth century station built at the national level to have a prominent clock tower.
* Together with Geelong and Normanton (Qld), Ballarat is the only surviving nineteenth century station building now retaining a substantial and imposing train hall. It is representative of others, now demolished including Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Brisbane Central.
* The train hall and clock tower symbolise Ballarat's importance as a provincial city and simultaneously recalls the status of rail travel in the Victorian age." For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/68.
Sturt Street Statue Walking Trail
There are an amazing 25 fountains, sculptures, statues and monuments on Sturt Street which start with the Petersen Fountain just up from the Drummond Street corner and continue down Sturt Street for nine blocks. The http://phoenixp12cc.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/6/3/26634243/walking_trails_brochure_2011.pdf has detailed information. Here is a list with brief notes where relevant:
1. Petersen Fountain - Sturt Street - Unveiled in 1922, the fountain is carved in marble and is surrounded by bronze frogs and a bird. It features a granite circular base.
2. Mother Earth - Sturt Street near Raglan Street - a statue depicting Mother Earth sculpted in 1952 by George Allen.
3. Gordon Memorial - on the corner of Sturt and Lyons Streets a bronze statue of a horse mounted on a stone plinth - a memorial to the 958,600 horses and mules killed in the First World War sculpted in 1969 by Raymond Ewers and constructed from bronze and granite.
4. Cenotaph - near the corner of Sturt and Lyons Streets and designed by John Shimmin at a cost £2064. It is constructed of massive sandstone blocks set on a granite base. It was officially unveiled on 24 November 1949.
5. Eternal Flame - World War II 1939-1945 Memorial - a metal sculpture in the shape of a flame, is green on three sides and gold on the face to the setting sun and was designed and constructed by Ballarat sculptor Peter Blizzard and is set on sawn bluestone flags.
6. Peter Lalor - bronze statue honours the hero of Eureka, Peter Lalor sculpted by Nelson McLean in 1892. The statue cost £2400.
7. Korean, Borneo, Malayan & Vietnam Memorial - on the corner of Dawson Street and commemorates the wars in Korea, Borneo, Malaya and Vietnam. It is in the shape of a cross, and is constructed in sawn bluestone.
8. Sir Albert Coates - on the corner of Dawson Street to Sir Albert Coates - a leading surgeon.
9. Queen Alexandra Bandstand - constructed in 1908 and named in honour of the then Queen. The structure incorporates fine wrought iron detail and includes musical motifs.
10. Harold ‘Pompey’ Elliott - near the bandstand, a bronze statue by Louis Laumen and marks Elliott’s contribution to Australia’s military history.
11. William Dunstan Victoria Cross Memorial - a memorial to Ballarat’s Victoria Cross winner who won the award at the Battle of Lone Pine at Gallipoli.
12. King George V Monument - on the corner of Doveton Street, this bronze statue was constructed in 1938 by sculptor Victor Greenhalgh to commemorate the King’s Silver Jubilee of 25 years on the throne.
13. Hebe - a marble statue of Hebe constructed in 1899 which forms a pair with the statue of Ruth.
14. Ruth - it was sculpted in 1899 by Charles Summers.
15. Thomas Moore - This statue was designed by Ballarat sculptor George Grant in 1889. The base features striking alternate cream and red square tiling.
16. Queen Victoria - located opposite the Town Hall this statue commemorates the reign of Queen Victoria, and incorporates four bronze scenes from her life. It was created by Sir Bertram MacKennal.
17. Queen Victoria Fountain - a second memorial to Queen Victoria in Ballarat presented by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1902 and includes a drinking fountain. It incorporates a marble statue of two children on a polished granite column set on a circular granite path.
18. Boer War Memorial - by sculptor James White commemorates the soldiers who took part in the Boer War in South Africa between 1899 and 1902.
19. Burke & Wills Fountain - on the corner of Sturt and Lydiard Streets. The fountain was constructed in 1863 in memory of Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills. Wills had been a resident of Ballarat, and his father had been a physician in Humffray Street. The fountain became known as ‘the grandest candlestick’, and was stocked with gold fish and a pair of tortoises.
20. Robert Burns - on the corner of Sturt and Lydiard Streets, this statue was erected to commemorate Scottish poet Robert Burns by Ballarat’s local Scottish community. The statue of Burns and his dog, which cost £1000, is believed to be the first statue constructed to honour a poet anywhere in Australia. Once the project was under way, passionate locals engaged in heated debates before an appropriate site was selected for the statue. The memorial was carved from Italian marble by sculptor John Undy in Italy. Take a close look at the patterned tiles around the base.
21. Titanic Memorial Bandstand - located opposite Camp Street, this Edwardian bandstand, erected in 1913, is dedicated to the bandsmen who lost their lives aboard the Titanic in 1912. Perched on top of the elaborate terracotta roof of the octangular bandstand is a silhouette of the Titanic, which acts as a weather vane.
22. Point to the Sky - on the corner of Camp Street and Sturt Street focuses on the link between past and the future. Created by sculptor, Akio Makigawa in 2002.
23. Perseus - a marble statue of the ancient Greek hero was donated to Ballarat by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1943. It is the work of sculptor J. Cranari and dates from the 1880s.
24. Pioneer Miners’ Monument - located on the corner of Sturt and Albert Street and constructed by members of the Ballarat Historical Society. It commemorates the discovery of gold at Poverty Point on 2 August 1851, and is dedicated to the memory of the pioneer miners of Ballarat. Check out http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/technology/industry/display/30212-gold-monument for more details. The monument, constructed mostly out of large lumps of quartz, features a miniature gold mine on the top. Mounted on the side is a replica of the Welcome Nugget.
25. James Galloway Monument - on Sturt Street before Grenville Street, is an Eight Hour Labour Day Memorial constructed in 1880 to honour James Galloway, who founded the eight hour system of work in Victoria. The monument is constructed of quartz and bluestone and incorporates cast-iron lion heads.
The Eureka Trail
The Eureka Trail is a 3.5 km walk (it takes around 1 hour) which retraces the route taken by the police and soldiers from the government camp to the Eureka Stockade on 3 December, 1854. The aim of the police and soldiers was to take the miners by surprise so they followed a path through gullies, rivers and hills which is now indicated by bollards and interpretative signs. It takes in the fine Victorian architecture of Lydiard Street (the site of the original government camp is now the city's Post Office), the Eastern Oval, bluestone channels, the banks of the Yarrowee River, the Black Hill Lookout and Reserve and old miners' cottages in Ballarat East and it provides linkages with the Yarrowee River Trail and the Great Dividing Trail. The trail starts at the post office in Lydiard Street and concludes at the Eureka Stockade Centre. Check out https://www.visitmelbourne.com/regions/goldfields/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/walking-and-hiking/vv-eureka-trail for additional details.
Sovereign Hill is a huge open-air museum established in 1970 near the site of the first gold strike at Ballarat and on the site of the Sovereign Quartz Mining Company which sank a shaft of 216 metres near the summit of the hill. It is designed so that visitors can spend a day or two exploring the rich diversity of experiences it offers.
It seeks to recreate aspects of Ballarat as it was in the gold mining heyday of the 1850s. As the website explains: "Sovereign Hill is a living museum with working exhibits brought to life by costumed characters and over 40 horses. Set on 25 acres of an original mining site, Sovereign Hill is a goldfields town with shops, hotels, a theatre, schools, factories, a gold diggings and underground mines to explore. The buildings duplicate the original structures from the 1850s as they were photographed, drawn or painted. Actors in authentic costumes populate the historical park on a rostered basis. They engage in activities appropriate to the era, employ 1850s technology and demonstrate contemporary social values and attitudes. The sounds of Sovereign Hill - the working steam engines, stamper batteries, horses' hooves, passenger coaches - help to make it a convincing and realistic experience.
The daily activities (see https://www.sovereignhill.com.au/visit/what-s-on/daily-activities) include a goldfields tour, diggings tour, Red Hill mine tour, gold panning, demonstrations by a blacksmith, musket firing, theatre events, gold pouring, redcoat soldiers, gold mine tours, candlemaker, metal spinning, wheelwrighting, horses and stables and street activities.
The main activities include:
Mine Adventures - this is a fully guided tour of a gold mine with a tram journey into the heart of the mine. There are three options: (a) the secret chamber - where two Chinese miners seek for gold (b) trapped - recalls the story of 27 miners trapped by a flood at Creswick Mine in 1882 and (c) Journey through the labyrinth of gold - a journey through a Ballarat mine.
Red Hill Mine - this is a self-guided tour which leads to the discovery of the famous Welcome nugget. It weighed 69 kilograms. There is more detailed information at https://www.sovereignhill.com.au/visit/what-s-on/mine-adventures.
Trades, Crafts & Stores - Check out https://www.sovereignhill.com.au/visit/what-s-on/trades-crafts-stores. The range of activities at Sovereign Hill includes a gold smelting works, a wheelwright and coach builder, a foundry, a horse bazaar, a saddlery, a jeweller, a printer, a candle works, a tinsmith, a theatre, an apothecaries hall, a post office, and photographic rooms as well as gift shops, a confectionary and a drapery store.
Hidden Histories - the story of the Wadawurrung Aboriginal people told through a series of excellent videos. Check out https://sovereignhillhiddenhistories.com.au/videos which offers commentary on the museum collection, the food eaten by the local people before the arrival of Europeans, the Aboriginal mining practices, the role of the Native Police, the use of science to justify racism, the clothing worn by the Wadawurrung people, and the use of trees, ochre, foods and medicine.
Sovereign Hill is open from 10.00 am - 5.00 pm daily and the Gold Museum is open from 9.30 am - 5.30 pm. There are additional costs for the Gold Mine Tours, Coach Rides and the Sweet Experience.
At night time there is the Aura show which occurs twice nightly where, as the website explains (see https://aurasovereignhill.com.au for bookings and times) "Over 64 acres, hundreds of stunning projections create an immersive storytelling experience that transports you back in time. The Wadawurrung creation story is told with projections on a magnificent lake, gunfights and protests erupt under the night sky, and the gold rush is brought to life as never before ... Feel the vibrations as stars explode in front of your eyes, watch as the land is transformed by the gold rush, and dive into the chaos of the Eureka Rebellion as you witness the creation and discovery of the world's most precious metal."
The complex is located in Bradshaw Street, just south of the city centre, tel: (03) 5337 1199 or check out https://www.sovereignhill.com.au.
Located in Bradshaw Street, opposite Sovereign Hill, the Gold Museum has been operating since 1978. It contains around 150,000 items in a significant series of collections including:
* Jessica and Paul Simon Collection - which displays over 900 gold coins (ducats, denarii, doubloons etc), nuggets and alluvial samples (garnered from local creeks) and a display examining the history of gold in relation to Ballarat.
* Ballarat Historical Society Collection - over 20,000 photographs, 5,000 books and documents and 2,000 artefacts all relating to the history of Ballarat.
* Arnott-Rogers Collection - a collection of Chinese decorative arts and textiles which were collected in China around 1900.
* Costume Collection - costumes from 1790 to today ranging from domestic through military, industrial and ceremonial.
* Eureka Collection - documents and artefacts relating to the Eureka Stockade.
The collections are housed in an attractive, glass fronted modern building. It is open daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, tel: (03) 5337 1107. If you have purchased a ticket for Sovereign Hill it entitles you to entry into the Gold Museum or, if you do not wish to visit Sovereign Hill, you can pay for access to the Museum separately. For more information check out http://www.goldmuseum.com.au.
Located at 102 Stawell Street, the Eureka Centre is a striking building, set amidst fine lawns and gardens of the Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens which include a huge Eureka Flag on a 50 metre mast. It has been erected at the site of the 1854 Eureka Stockade Rebellion and its galleries illustrate the Eureka story. Its most important exhibit is the Eureka Flag - the flag of the Southern Cross. There is a cafe and gift shop. It is open 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, tel: (03) 5333 0333 or check out https://www.visitballarat.com.au/explore/eureka-centre.
The Ballarat Wildlife Park
The Ballarat Wildlife Park is located at 250 Fussell Street, in Ballarat East. It is spread across 16 acres of peppermint gum woodland and features native animals such as koalas, giant tortoises, over 100 free-range kangaroos, the largest crocodile and alligator collection in southern Australia, wombats, a colony of Tasmanian Devils, goannas, snakes and native birds including emus and wedge-tailed eagles. There are guided tours each day at 11.00 am and visitors "see a Koala, Tasmanian Devils, feed Kangaroos, meet a Wombat, see some of the most venomous Snakes of the world, see giant Saltwater Crocodiles and much more!" There are also VIP Tours which include "close encounters with a Koala, Kangaroos, a Wombat, Tasmanian Devils, our Goodfellow Tree Kangaroo, a giant Tortoise and even handle a Snake." There is a daily program of keeper talks which includes a Tiger Presentation, Dingo Adventure, Reptile Presentation and Tasmanian Presentation during the week with additional Penguin, Meerkat and Crocodile presentations on the weekend. It is open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, tel: (03) 5333 5933.
Lake Wendouree covers 238 ha with a foreshore area of 18 ha. It is 6 km in circumference and has a maximum depth of two metres. Located just to the north-west of the city centre it was once a prominent feature of the landscape to the Wathawurung people who, along with large numbers of kangaroo and emus, camped on its foreshores. It was originally known to Europeans as Black Swamp (as it was dark with dense reed growths) then Yuilles Swamp (after William Yuille who took up the first land here in 1838) but was named Wendouree in the first 1851 survey. Legend has it that, when Yuille asked an Aboriginal woman what the swamp was called she replied 'wendaaree' meaning 'go away'.
In 1851 a dam was built across the lake outlet and it was sometimes used as a water supply to the people of Ballarat. Wendouree Parade was first surveyed as a road reserve in 1855. Bluestone quarries, flour mills, a lemonade factory, plant nurseries and four large gold mining companies were established around the lake. In 1858 an underground pipeline was laid through to the waterworks and carters filled their wagons with lake water then sold it on the goldfields. In subsequent years the prolific reeds were cut back, the lake bed was deepened, and the gums were cut down and replaced by English trees. The first pleasure steamboat on the lake began operating in 1865.
Today the lake is edged by elms, oaks, pines and willows and there is a 6 km bluestone walking and cycling path known as the Steve Moneghetti running and walking track. A total of 166 species of water birds have been identified. The lake is used for rowing, canoeing, kayaking, sailboarding and yachting. It is well-stocked with trout and redfin. It also has a 2000 metre rowing course. A wetland walk incorporates interpretative signs outlining the fauna and flora of the lake and foreshore.
There are electric barbecues, a childrens' playground, the Lake Lodge kiosk and function centre (1890), the Almieda Pavilion (1907 - a former penny arcade), boatsheds, a jetty, rowing, yachting, canoeing and fly-fishing clubs, the Lake View Hotel (1875), a rockery (1904), View Point (constructed in 1881) and toilets. For more information check out https://www.visitballarat.com.au/things-to-do/experience-our-top-attractions/lake-wendouree-precinct.
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Located on the western side of the lake are the city's 40 ha Botanical Gardens. They were created in 1858-59 on what had been the Ballarat police horse paddock. The soil for the gardens was carted from what was then Yuilles Swamp. It is now regarded as one of the finest cool climate gardens in the country.
The Robert Clarke Conservatory is a state-of-the-art, free-standing, fully-glazed walk-through floral conservatory which, from March of each year, showcases the city's famous tuberous begonia displays. Six different displays are mounted each year with the landscaping completely redesigned for each exhibition. The Robert Clarke Centre also incorporates the Gardens Shop, the Interpretative Gallery, a visitor information service and a function room which is for hire.
Other features of the garden are a fernery, the water lily pond, a nursery, an azalea garden, a camellia garden, the floral clock (1953), the enormous trees of Sequoiadendron Avenue (planted from 1863 to 1874), Horse chestnut Avenue, Californian redwoods, the swamp cypresses on either side of the statue pavilion, the turkey oak at the entrance of Prime Ministers Avenue, the druid's oak behind Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage, a rockery, the sensory garden with its huge bluegum, the dahlia garden (in bloom from March to Easter), the weeping elms near the wishing well, the rose garden, autumn's chrysanthemums, winter's cyclamen, spring's schizanthus and spring bulbs, summer's flower displays and two major floral beddings created each year by the planting of over 80,000 seedlings (at their peak from March to October).
The Prime Ministers Avenue (set within Horse Chestnut Avenue) features bronze busts of all Australian prime ministers. The Statuary Pavilion contains allegorical figures donated by Thomas Stoddart and J. Russell Thomson who made their fortunes on the local goldfields. Many were collected in Genoa and made of Carrara marble. A highlight is Benzoni's Flight from Pompeii.
Other attractions are the Claxton Monument at the fernery, the intricate cast ironwork of the Morey Gates which frame a pair of 19th century marble lions, and the Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage. The Gardens are open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage
The sign on Wendouree Parade, Lake Wendouree, explains that "Adam Lindsay Gordon, Poet, lived in this Cottage during his time in Ballarat in the late 1860s. Gordon had an unhappy stay at Ballarat after his arrival in October, 1867. He ran a livery stable to the rear of Craig's Hotel and lived in the cottage which stood adjacent. In March 1868 the stables burned down and he was injured in a fall from his horse. The following month his daughter died at age 11 months. In October 1868 he left town, committing suicide in 1870. The cottage was moved to its present location in 1934. It has operated, on a non-profit basis, since 1992 by the Crafts Council of Ballarat as an outlet for local crafts. Open from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm between October and April. Craft work in the cottage includes jewellery, painting, photography, woodwork, cards, textiles (knitting, sewing, crochet and felting) including scarves, hats, gloves, bags and embroidery. Check out https://www.visitballarat.com.au/explore/adam-lindsay-gordon-cottage for more information.
Ballarat Tramway Museum
The Ballarat Tramway Museum and depot is located at the southern end of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, on the western shore of Lake Wendouree. Double-decker, horse-drawn trams began carrying visitors to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens in 1887. Electric trams replaced the horses from 1905 and the trams were only replaced by buses in September, 1971. The main attraction is the vintage electric tramway which offers rides along a 1.3 km track, on board a 100 year old tram which winds through the Gardens beside Lake Wendouree. Trams run between 11.30 am and 4.00 pm Saturday, Sunday, public holiday and during the Victorian school holidays. The tram depot houses the tramcar collection, a museum display with photographs, videos, tramway memorabilia, trammie stories, souvenirs and book shop. Tel: (03) 5334 1580. For more information check out https://www.btm.org.au
Ballaarat Old Cemetery
Located at the corner of Macarthur Street and Creswick Road is the Ballaarat Old Cemetery which was established in 1847. The first official burial was in 1856 and since then over 35,000 people have been buried on this seven hectare site. There are special monuments to the soldiers and miners who were killed in the Eureka Stockade Rebellion. The Eureka Graves Visitors' Centre features a touch screen computer listing these burials, along with Chinese interments and the names of 120,000 people interred at the crematorium and at both the old and new cemeteries. There is a display explaining the significance of the Eureka graves and two brochures are available: one lists 30 important graves and the other tells the history of the Eureka monuments. The cemetery is open daily from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Tel: (03) 5332 1469. Check out http://www.ballaratcemeteries.com.au/visit/ballarat-old-cemetery/ for more details and downloadable brochures.
Avenue of Honour and Arch of Victory
The Avenue of Honour is Victoria's oldest and longest known memorial avenue. It was established between 1917 and 1919. Monuments Australia (see http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/multiple/display/30181-arch-of-victory) records "In May 1917, Mrs W. D. Thompson, a director of clothing firm E. Lucas & Co, suggested planning an Avenue of Honour at Ballarat. The idea was accepted enthusiastically with planting beginning on 3 June 1917. The final planting took place on 3 June 1919. Eleven species, totalling 3,912 trees, had been planted in eight phases by the staff of the Lucas factory with the support of local farmers, who provided tree guards. Each of the plantings was accompanied by Members of Parliament and in some cases by the Premier of the State. The cost of the trees was £2,000, raised by girls at the factory, which employed over 500 women. A further £2,600 was raised to build the Arch of Victory as an entrance to the Avenue of Honour." The 22 km stretch of road was lined with trees: one for every person that enlisted and fought overseas in World War I, regardless of rank.
The Arch of Victory, built in 1920, is the largest commemorative arch in the country. It is a 17.4 metres high and 19.5 metres wide structure, floodlit at night, which straddles Sturt Street. It was funded by female employees of Eleanor Lucas's lingerie factory and was opened in 1920 by Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales. The associated Temple of Remembrance is situated at the entrance of the Avenue of Honour. The names of those who served in World War II, Korea, Borneo, Malaya and Vietnam were added in 1987. There are more details at https://honouringouranzacs.com.au/page/arch_of_victory.
Other Attractions in the Area
Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail
The Ballarat–Skipton Rail Trail runs 57 kilometres along the old Skipton railway line from Ballarat, south-west through Haddon, Smythesdale and Pittong to Skipton. The total length of the trail is 63 km including a section from Ballarat railway station to the trailhead. One major landmark on the route is the historic timber Nimmons Bridge at Newtown - this is on the 17 km Smythesdale to Linton section. There is a very major description of the stages of the rail trail at https://www.railtrails.org.au/trail?view=trail&id=145. Bikes can be hired at Linton Bike Hire.
Ballarat Aviation Museum
Located at Ballarat Airport (10 km north west of the CBD) the Ballarat Aviation Museum houses a collection of vintage, military and classic aircraft, along with aviation memorabilia such as radios, cameras, uniforms and engines. It is open Friday and Saturday from 11.00 am - 4.00 pm, Sunday from 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm or by appointment, tel: (03) 5339 5016. Check https://www.ballarataviationmuseum.com.au.
Kirks Reservoir Park and Gong Gong Reservoir Park
Located at 255 Daylesford Road, the Kirks Reservoir Park and Gong Gong Reservoir Park blend exotic gardens with watery walking trails. They feature over 100 indigenous species, some dating back to 1863. There are picnic and recreational areas with dense areas of fern, stonewalling and interpretative signs. There are also a wooden and a steel rotunda.
A feature of the Kirks Reservoir Park is the Water Wise Garden which provides information about effective water usage and planting methods and, to that end, it features a wide variety of commonly found plants in various watering and planting conditions to demonstrate their response to each variation. Guided tours and information days are conducted, tel: (03) 5320 3100.
Across the road is Gong Gong Reservoir Park which features replantings of mostly naturally occurring natives. There are scenic views, picnic facilities, toilets, bushwalking areas and some good fishing. For more information and maps check out https://www.chw.net.au/community/kirks-reservoir-park.
Kryal Castle - A Land of Adventure
Located 12 km east of Ballarat at 121 Forbes Road, Leigh Creek (at the base of Mount Warrenheip), Kryal Castle is a medieval theme park. It comes complete with moat, drawbridge, portcullis, arena, dungeons, 'graveyard' and keep.
There are medieval re-enactments and a wide range of activities from knights and warhorses though to a Birds of Prey display. There are magic shows and medieval displays (armour, weapons, heraldry, trophies, tapestries, taxidermy, the crown jewels, a Magna Carta display), a Torture Museum Tour, a maze, a Dragon's labyrinth, animal petting, , a wizard's workroom, stationary models, a glassblower, a Trojan horse, 'Royal' accommodation for guests and, for weddings and functions, an Ale House and the Abbey Tavern, 'Gothic chapel' and honeymoon suite, tel: (03) 5334 7388.
Enfield State Park
Enfield State Park is a 4,400 ha park located 22 km south of Ballarat via the Colac-Ballarat Road. South of Enfield on the Ballarat Road is Misery Creek Road which leads to Surface Point where there are toilets, camping and picnic facilities. There are wildflower displays (including 61 species of orchids) in spring and plenty of eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, koalas and echidnas in stands of messmate, swamp gum, manna gum, yarra gum and peppermint gum. Over 100 bird species have been recorded in the park including kookaburras, Grey Currawongs, Boobook Owls, Crimson Rosellas and Superb Fairy wrens. Surface Point was the site of a Chinese mining settlement in the 1860s and there are still remnants. The park features a large circuit walking track with side tracks to Enfield and Bald Hills. The Searle’s Loop Walk from the Enfield Township picnic area passes through mining relics and different vegetation and will take around 40 minutes to complete at an easy pace. For more information and a downloadable map, check out the Park Note at https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/313797/Park-note-Enfield-State-Park.pdf.
The Eureka Rebellion
The goldrushes in Australia, which lasted from the 1850s through to the 1880s, were wild affairs attracting prospectors and miners from all over the world and resulting, at least for some men, in vast fortunes and huge discoveries. The most impressive were in Victoria and there are literally dozens of towns - some still prosperous, some nothing more than ghostly remnants - where gold was discovered and fortunes were made. Wherever a goldrush occurred in the state, a gold commissioner was appointed to provide law and order and to collect, from the miners, a monthly licence fee.
The licensing system had been introduced in 1851 and was a payment of £1/10/- a month for the right to dig for gold. Miners objected when gold at Ballarat became increasingly difficult to access.
Failure to pay for a licence entailed a £5 fine for a first offence and up to six months in gaol for a second. Resentment was intensified by police raids where anyone without a licence on their person was liable to arrest and fines. Many of the police were ex-convicts from Tasmania who received a payment of half the fine.
In June 1854 the Victorian lieutenant-governor, Sir Charles Hotham, noted that only 70% of the fees were being collected. In September that year he stepped up inspections from a monthly to a twice-weekly basis. The miners felt the impost was unfair. They did not have voting rights and they did not have political representation.
The catalyst for rebellion was a perception that miners were second class citizens in the eyes of the law. On 6 October, 1854, a miner named James Scobie was kicked to death shortly after entering the Eureka Hotel. The owner of the hotel and three other men, were charged with the murder. The case was heard by the stipendiary magistrate, the goldfields commissioner and the assistant commissioner and, even though the evidence was overwhelming, the four men were honourably discharged.
A public meeting was called and, on 17 October, several thousand miners gathered, denounced the finding and initiated a fund to provide reward money for further evidence. Afterwards, the men gathered outside the Eureka Hotel. The hotel was burnt down. The police, seemingly randomly, arrested three miners who were given short prison sentences for their part in the riot.
Another meeting was held on 11 November at Bakery Hill and the Ballarat Reform League was formed. The miners wanted comprehensive reform including universal suffrage, voting by ballot, annual parliaments, the payment of political representatives, the abolition of the licensing system, revision of laws relating to crown land and changes to the administration of the goldfields.
On 27 November a miners' deputation to Lieutenant-Governor Hotham requested the release of the three imprisoned miners. He declined but supported their desire for enfranchisement, reminded them that constitutional moves were afoot to achieve this outcome, said he would appoint their chosen representative to the legislative assembly and told them they could voice their grievances about the licensing system at a proposed commission of inquiry into the matter.
Another mass meeting was planned for the 29th so that the delegation could report back to the miners. Hotham was told by Commissioner Rede that he expected trouble and troops were dispatched to the area. Ominously, there was a skirmish as they entered Ballaarat on the evening of the 28th.
The delegation reported favourably about their meeting with Hotham but the miners decided to burn their licences at a public bonfire on Bakery Hill and to protect anyone facing arrest for being without one. That day the diggers, probably for the first time, sported their now famous blue flag adorned with the stars of the Southern Cross.
On the 30th Rede ordered a licence check. The police were rebuffed with stones and shots were fired. Rede called on the military and arrests were made. The miners elected Peter Lalor, a prominent figure of the Reform League, as their commander-in-chief. About 500 men took an oath to "fight to defend our rights and liberties" and set about erecting a stockade on the Eureka claim.
Commissioner Rede and the infantry captain learned about the miner's defences, including the fact that the numbers had dwindled to 150 untrained men as some had left and many were out scouting for food and ammunition.
In the early hours of 3 December, 152 infantry, 30 cavalry men and their officers, and 100 police approached the stockade by a circuitous route. They charged the camp, where many still slept, and overcame resistance within about 15 minutes. The troops almost certainly employed excessive force, needlessly destroying property and tents. Six police were killed. Peter Lalor claimed 22 miners died and another 12 later recovered from substantial wounds. 120 prisoners were taken, although some of the leaders escaped, including Lalor who went into hiding until a general amnesty was declared. Most were released but 13 were accused of high treason. Of these 12 would later be acquitted and proceedings were dropped against the 13th. The editor of the Ballarat Times received a six-month prison sentence for three counts of seditious libel.
Lieutenant-Governor Hotham appointed the promised commission of inquiry into the gold fields on 7 December. In March 1855 it recommended the abolition of the licensing fee and the establishment of a Miner's Right document which cost one pound per annum and which gave prospectors the title deed to their claim. It also advocated the opening of crown land to small landowners and an export duty on gold. All recommendations were eventually adopted.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to Wathaurong Aboriginal people.
* In 1837 a group of Scottish squatters from the Geelong area headed north searching for sheep and cattle pastures. They were the first Europeans in the district.
* William Cross Yuille, camped adjacent to Black Swamp (now Lake Wendouree) and established the 'Ballaarat' station in March, 1838.
* A settlement developed at Buninyong and on 8 August, 1851, a blacksmith named Thomas Hiscock, found the first gold in the district.
* John Dunlop and James Regan started prospecting on the Ballaarat Station and on 21 August, 1851 they struck gold at Poverty Point in the White Horse Range.
* By mid-October, 1851 there were over 2000 diggers in the area.
* On 25 August, 1851, the diggers learned that the government was to impose a 30-shilling monthly licence fee. They organised a meeting to oppose the tax.
* On 21 September 1851 the licence impost led to a confrontation.
* By 7 November, 1851 the Poverty Point site was worked out and the area virtually deserted.
* By December, 1851 Ballarat was surveyed and a plan drawn up to establish a town.
* A second gold rush occurred in 1852 and skilled British miners arrived, sinking shafts into the flats at the foot of the hills. Numerous gold-rich quartz reefs, such as the Eureka, Gravel Pits and Canadian leads, were located.
* By 1853 there were 20,000 prospectors working the field. That year 9926 kg of gold were shipped to Melbourne with another 77 700 kg transported from 1854 to 1857.
* The first gold battery in Australia was established at Ballarat in 1854.
* The major single find of these years was the Welcome Nugget which, at almost 69 kg (99% of it pure gold), was the second-largest solid gold nugget to be found in the world. A cairn, on the corner of Mair and Humffray Streets, marks the spot of the find.
* In the meantime the settlement of Ballarat (originally spelled 'Ballaarat') had begun to emerge as a service centre to the diggings.
* Ballarat West was proclaimed a township in 1852 and the first town land sale occurred that year. Initially a 5-km stretch of canvas tents, it began to develop more substantial buildings with the addition of
* a proper hotel in 1853,
* an official post office building in 1854, the commencement of work on Christ Church Anglican Cathedral that same year,
* the erection of two churches in 1855,
* Ballarat became a municipality in 1855. At that time, between one-sixth and one-quarter of the population was Chinese although they were forced into six separate protectorates or villages from 1855.
* and a gaol and hospital in 1856.
* Ballarat East became a municipality in 1857 and both were declared boroughs in 1863.
* The arrival of the railway from Geelong (Australia's first country railway) in 1862 further enhanced marketing, commercial and social possibilities.
* Small-scale shaft mining was gradually replaced by more ambitious deep-lead mining enterprises, particularly under the Sebastopol Plateau to the west which, between the late 1850s and 1875 (when the mines there started to close), produced far more gold than the Ballarat East fields.
* The Band of Hope Mine had a single shaft which yielded 9700 kg of gold.
* In 1868 the population of the Ballarat goldfield peaked at around 64 000.
* 1870 saw the formation of the Sebastapol Miners' Union.
* By 1870 the city had 477 hotels, 56 churches and 3 town halls.
* Ballarat West was declared a city in 1870
* Ballarat East became a city in 1872 (they were merged in 1921).
* In the late 1860s some 300 mining companies were working the fields and the Ballarat Stock Exchange was set up to facilitate the marketing of shares in mining ventures.
* The Phoenix Foundry was established in 1855, supplied batteries, engines, boilers and mining equipment throughout Australia and New Zealand.
* Other forms of industry appeared, including woollen mills (1872)
* The Phoenix foundry, for example, found a new lease of life when it won the contract to manufacture locomotives for the state government, producing 350 steam engines before it closed in 1906.
* Another local enterprise to emerge was Eleanor Lucas's lingerie factory which started as a cottage industry in 1888 (this factory was eventually taken over by Courtaulds in 1969).
* Moreover, the town became a significant rail centre with the lines to Maryborough and Ararat opening in 1875.
* The last gold mine closed down at Ballarat in 1918 although some tailings dumps were retreated in the desperate years of the Great Depression.
* The local fields yielded some £230 million worth of gold which, between 1851 and 1960, amounted to 27% of the state's total production.
* Throughout the twentieth century Ballarat has prospered as a major administrative, manufacturing and commercial service centre.^ TOP
The Ballarat Visitor Information Centre, Town Hall, 225 Sturt Street, Tel: (03) 5320 5741 or toll-free on 1800 446 633.^ TOP
The official Ballarat website can be found at https://www.visitballarat.com.au.^ TOP