Ballarat City Travel and Tour
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Published by TOP4 Team
Gold was first found in 1851, and within a few months, thousands of ill-sorted diggers were frantically prospecting in spite of mud, cold and frequent bitter disappointment. Surface deposits were soon exhausted, and individual miners were succeeded by companies with sufficient clout to dig deep mines and buy the machinery to run them. Gold may have made Melbourne, but it made Ballarat too; profits seem not to have been gambled or drunk away, but to have been invested respectably in a fine 19th-century building as can be seen anywhere in the country. Banks, churches, a synagogue, clubs, a mining exchange, a splendid town hall and an art gallery all demonstrate how quickly the raw life of the diggings was transmuted into civic respectably.
Ballarat’s Botanics. By the side of beautiful Lake Wendouree, the Botanic Gardens in Ballarat are a perfect example of High Victorian taste, with white marble statuary among the pretty pavilions and bedding plants. On plinths beneath the trees stand the busts of former prime ministers, some, like Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, none too comfortable at seeing each other in such close proximity again.
Sovereign Hill is a superb re-creation of life and work on the goldfields in the 1859s. It is justifiably popular with its many visitors, who can pan for gold, ride Cobb & Co’s stagecoach, shop in the emporia of Main Street, savour the strangely distinct world of the Chinese Village, or even spend the night in the tents and officers’ quarters of the Government Camp. Other major features include the Mine Museum, with 600m of underground workings, and the Gold Museum, with exciting displays on the history of the precious metal.
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