"Reason for being" Top 5 Page for this destination Ballarat by iandsmith

Ballarat Travel Guide: 201 reviews and 499 photos

In the beginning

When Thomas Livingstone Learmonth and a party of young squatters climbed Mount Buninyong in April 1837 and looked down on the hills and valleys which today form the City, they little realised what the place would be like in 15 years time.
Next year William Cross Yuille and Henry Anderson brought their flocks and formed a sheep station with its headquarters by the dark reedy swamp which is now the landscaped and pretty Lake Wendouree. An obelisk near the Pleasant Street State School now marks the site of their first camp.
Learmonth and Scott took up land near Buninyong, and Waldie and Pettit around Blowhard and Rowan. For the next thirteen years this district was like any out-back of Australia today. Twice every year the bullock waggons travelled to Geelong with supplies of flour, sugar, tea, clothing, tools and other needs of the small community consisting of about seventy families, scattered about and living in bark huts and mud cabins. It was a significant and time consuming journey in those days.
Buninyong was the centre of the district. Here was Mrs Jamieson's Inn, Campbell and Woolley's General store, the Smith of Scotty McLachlan, and the only church in the district. This was a mud Presbyterian Kirk conducted by the Rev Thomas Hastie, who spent most of his time visiting the neighbouring stations and holding services at the homesteads.
In August 1851, Dunlop and Regan discovered gold at Poverty Point in Ballarat East. In a fortnight there were 400 people from Melbourne and Geelong digging for gold around Golden Point, at the foot of Black Hill, and on both sides of the Yarrowee - and finding plenty of it.
When the news reached the Old World, gold fever struck.
"In fifty-one a tale was told
In many a town in Europe old,
Of a new found pasture shown with gold.
Ho! Ho! Have ye heard of Ballaarat?
Then bid farewell and sail away
Sail and sail for a hundred day,
Across the seas to Hobson's Bay,
To the golden fields of Ballaarat."
Tens of thousands of adventurous young men left their homes and set out to seek their fortunes in the golden holes of Ballaarat. By the middle of 1853 there were 20,000 men of all nationalities feverishly at work with pick and spade. In that one year - 1853 - 319,154 ounces of gold worth more than a million pounds, went to Melbourne under Police Escort.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots to see, plenty to do
  • In a nutshell:One of Australia's great historical towns
  • Last visit to Ballarat: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (32)

Comments (3)

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2007 at 12:52 PM

    an interesting page and great pics of lovely architecture. So far I always had been lucky, when camping in my motorhome...

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2007 at 7:03 AM

    A great read for a history buff - like me. Lots of interesting architecture. The robbery sounded a bit scary.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 13, 2007 at 11:31 PM

    A fine new page with fascinating historical texts! Great to hear they have good train service. (I've got our two tickets for Elektra on February 18th.)


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