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Ballara panorama from black hill.jpg
Ballarat CBD panorama from Black Hill lookout
Ballarat is located in Victoria
Population: 78,221 (2006)[1] (19)
Density: 1220/km² (3,159.8/sq mi)
Established: 1838
Postcode: 3350
Coordinates: 37°33′S 143°51′E / 37.55°S 143.85°E / -37.55; 143.85Coordinates: 37°33′S 143°51′E / 37.55°S 143.85°E / -37.55; 143.85
Elevation: 435 m (1,427 ft)  AHD
Area: 740 km² (285.7 sq mi)
Time zone:

 • Summer (DST)



LGA: City of Ballarat
State District: Ballarat East, Ballarat West
Federal Division: Ballarat
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
17.3 °C
63 °F
7.0 °C
45 °F
695.3 mm
27.4 in

Ballarat (pronounced /ˈbæləˌræt/; formerly spelt "Ballaarat")[2] is a regional city in Victoria, Australia. In terms of population, it is both the third largest city and the largest inland city in state.

Ballarat is approximately 105 kilometres (65 mi) north-west of the state capital Melbourne. The city had a urban population of 78,221 on the 2006 Census night[1]. In 2008 the city had an estimated statistical district population of 91,787.[3] The city lies at 441 metres (1,447 ft) AHD and consists of an area of approximately 740 square kilometres (290 sq mi), with the city occupying a built up area of approximately 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi). Ballarat's demonym is "Ballaratian".

Ballarat is one of the most significant Victorian era boomtowns in Australia. Gold was discovered near Ballarat in 1851 spawning the Victorian gold rush. The area of Ballarat was found to be a rich aluvial field where gold could easily be extracted, bringing with it rapid growth. The arrival of over 10,000 migrants to the city within a year transformed it from a station to briefly become the largest settlement in the newly proclaimed Colony of Victoria.

Ballarat is notable as the site for Australia's only armed civil uprising, a fight for Miner's Right, the Eureka Rebellion which took place on 3 December 1854. The event is considered to be a defining moment in Australian history.

While Ballarat's importance relative to Melbourne faded with the slowing of gold extraction the city it endures as the major centre of the Central Highlands and Goldfields region of Victoria and is a tourist destination, known for its extensive and well preserved cultural and architectural heritage.



Miners swearing allegiance to the Southern Cross on 1 December 1854 — watercolour by Charles Doudiet
The township's main street, Lydiard Street in 1857 looking west from the government camp in 1857 with the post office, formerly situated on the southwest corner of Mair Street, on the right
The intersection of Lydiard and Sturt Street in 1899 was the heart of a bustling city of trams, horses and pedestrians.

The site of the city was originally a stock station established by William Cross Yuille and Henry Anderson in 1838 and named Ballarat (originally under the spelling Ballaarat), which is generally believed to be derived from local Aboriginal dialect meaning 'resting place'.

The settlement, originally known as Ballarat, flourished in the early 1850s when gold was discovered, the Post Office opening on November 1, 1851.[4] The area where gold was found was situated northeast of Ballarat, about 3 miles (4.8 km) away. An estimated 200,000 ounces of gold are said to have been extracted from an area of approximately 1 square mile (3 km2). With several other notable gold fields in the Ballarat area including the Berringa, Clunes, Creswick, Talbot and Enfield Gold Fields, Ballarat quickly became the wealthiest city in the district. Additionally there were several other notable gold fields in the Ballarat area including the Berringa, Clunes, Creswick, Talbot and Enfield Gold Fields.

Ballarat was first surveyed by William Urquhart in 1851 and the first land sales were conducted the following year.[5] With a huge influx of population and wealth as a major participant in the Gold Rush, Ballarat became, for a time, Victoria's largest township[citation needed].

Australia's only armed civil uprising, colloquially referred to as the Eureka Stockade but more correctly titled the Eureka Rebellion, which took place in Ballarat on 3 December 1854. The event, in which 22 miners died, is considered to be a defining moment in Australian history. The purported site of the rebellion contains an historical park and a memorial to the event. The remains of the original Eureka Flag are on public display in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

During the last 50 years of the 19th century Ballarat prospered on gold mining, being proclaimed a city in 1871. The railway came to the town with the opening of the Geelong-Ballarat line in 1862,[6] with the current direct route to Melbourne completed in December 1889.[7]

The early confidence of the city's early citizens in the enduring future of their city is evident in the sheer scale of many of the early public buildings, generous public recreational spaces, and opulence of many of its commercial establishments and private housing. The period from the 1880s to the early 20th century witnessed a successful transition of the city from a gold rush town to an industrial age city. Many industries and workshops that had been established as a result of manufacturing and servicing for the deep lead mining industry during the 19th century later made successful transition into engineering and manufacturing businesses throughout the 20th century. Pressure on the state government for decentralisation saw the Victorian Railways open their Ballarat North Workshops in April 1917.[8]

During 1901, the Duke of Cornwall and York, later King George V, opened the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne. While in Victoria, the Duke and Duchess made several journeys by train, one of which was on 13 May from Melbourne to Ballarat via Geelong, returning to Melbourne via Bacchus Marsh.[9]

In 1930 an aerodrome was established, which was ceded to the Commonwealth in 1940 as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. During WWII the base was a RAAF Wireless Air Gunners' School as well as the base for USAAF Liberator bomber squadrons. During the war the airport was expanded and consisted of three sealed runways of which two were over 2,000 metres (6,550 ft) long and 45 metres (150 ft) wide. The aerodrome remained the RAAF School of Radio until 1961 when it was returned to civil operations. The City of Ballarat is the civil operator of the aerodrome. The site is now listed on the Victorian Heritage Register for its social and historic significance.

After World War II, Ballarat expanded significantly to the northwest. An acute post war housing shortage was eased with the establishment of an extensive Housing Commission of Victoria estate on the former Ballarat Common (today known as Wendouree West).[10] The estate was originally planned to contain over 750 prefabricated houses. Whilst planning for the estate began in 1949, main construction occurred between 1951 to 1962. During the 1970s a further 300 houses were constructed. Private housing in the adjacent suburb of Wendouree closely matched and eventually eclipsed this by the mid 1960s. The suburb of greater Wendouree and Wendouree West had evolved by the 1970s as the suburban middle-class heart of the city.

From the late 1970s and early 1980s urban growth slowed in Wendouree and began expanding to the Southern and Western corridors of the city. In 2008 the City Council released a plan directing that growth of the city over the next 30 years is to be concentrated to the west of the city centre and through the redevelopment of inner city housing blocks, and other under-developed inner city land in the East that is being redeveloped to create a higher density housing structure. Throughout the 20th century Ballarat maintained steady economic and population growth, keeping pace with that of the Australian national average without ever experiencing any significant growth surges. Steady population and economic growth has enabled the city to mature and preserve much of its historical grandeur and beauty whilst accommodating thoughtful and modern development. Ballarat's modern architecture was designed to blend with the old with examples being the City Library, the Law Courts and Justice Centre and the Ballarat Base Hospital.




Ballarat lies at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in Central Western Victoria. Also known as the Central Highlands, it is named so because of its gentle hills and lack of any significant mountains that are more common in the eastern sections of the Great Dividing Range. The city lies within a gently undulating section of the midland plains which stretch from Creswick in the north, to Rokewood in the south, and from Lal Lal in the south-east to Pittong in the west. These plains are made up of alluvial sediment and volcanic flows, and contain large areas of rich agricultural soils.[11]

There are still thought to be large, undiscovered gold reserves around the Ballarat region, with investigations being made by local and national companies to extract potentially as much gold as the Gold Rush days in the mid 1800s.[12]

There are numerous densley forested areas around Ballarat and large bodies of water including the White Swan Reservoir and other lakes, rivers and creeks which are used for urban water use and agriculture.

Settlement patterns around Ballarat consist of small villages and country towns, some with less than a few thousand people.


Snow scene in Sturt Gardens in 1905

Ballarat has a moderate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb)[13][14] with four seasons. Its elevation, at 435 metres (1,427 ft) above sea level, causes its mean monthly temperatures to tend on average 3 - 4 degrees Celsius below those of Melbourne. The mean daily maximum temperature for January is 25.0 °C (76.8 °F) whilst the mean minimum is 10.8 °C (51 °F) In July, the mean maximum is 10.0 °C (50 °F), with average July minimums a chilly 3.2 °C (38 °F).

The mean annual rainfall is 695 millimetres (27.75 in), with August being the wettest month (77 mm/3.0 in). There are an average of 198 rain-free days per year.

In winter, snow usually falls on nearby Mount Buninyong, and in very cold winters, has been known to fall heavily in the city. It is not uncommon however for snow to fall in the city during most winters. Widespread frosts are also common in and around the city during the cooler months.

Ballarat's highest maximum recorded temperature was 44.1 °C (111.4 °F) on the 7th of February 2009 during the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave. This is 2.1 °C above the previous record of 42.0 °C , set on the 25th of January 2003. The city's lowest ever recorded minimum was -6.0 °C (21.2 °F) on 21 July 1982.[15]

In recent years, Ballarat (along with South Eastern Australia) has experienced a severe decrease in average annual rainfall with falls averaging as low as 400 mm (16 in) per year since 2001. This is evident by the recent drying out of Lake Wendouree and substantial water restrictions being imposed on the city and many other regional centres throughout Victoria.

Climate data for Ballarat
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 42.0
Average high °C (°F) 25.1
Average low °C (°F) 10.8
Record low °C (°F) 0.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 38.1
Avg. rainy days 7.7 7.2 9.5 12.5 16.1 17.8 19.9 19.5 16.7 15.5 12.8 11.0 166.2
Source: [16]

Extreme weather events

In 1869 a serious flood of the Yarrowee River put most of the lower section of the city including Bridge and Grenville Street undewater.

Between 1905 and 1907, Ballarat experienced a series of winter snowstorms which blanketed the city with snow.

Prolonged drought caused Lake Wendouree in 2006 and 2007 to dry up completely for the first time in its history.

Light snowfalls occurred in central Ballarat in July 2007, June 2008 and July 2009.

Urban Structure

The southwest corner of the city's main intersection at Lydiard and Sturt Streets

The central area of Ballarat, known as "Ballarat City", includes the locality of Bakery Hill has a large mixed use office and retail district centred around Sturt Street (which spans the floodplain of the Yarrowee River) and Lydiard and Bridge Streets set on the higher ground at each side and bounded at the north by the main railway line. Lydiard and Sturt Street in particular contain significant and well preserved stands of commercial and civic buildings of state and national heritage significance. Additional major retail and industrial streets in the CBD include Armstrong and Mair Streets. Approximately 89% of housing in Ballarat Central is separate with 7% of housing is terraced or semi-detached and just 6% strata titled units or apartments.[17] Beyond which Ballarat sprawls out into several suburban areas.

A view over Eureka toward Ballarat East from Sovereign Hill open air museum

The inner established suburbs were initially laid out around the key mining areas and include Ballarat East, Soldiers Hill, Black Hill, Brown Hill, Eureka, Caledonian, Canadian, Redan, Sebastopol, Newington.

The post gold rush era has seen a boom in planned suburbs, particularly in the north and west of the CBD, including Alfredton, Wendouree, Ballarat North and parts of Nerrina, Invermay and Invermay Park, Sebastopol, Delacombe, Mount Clear and Mount Helen.

Ballarat also has some more rural suburbs of 2-20 acre blocks within 15 minutes of the CBD that are very popular with families which include Miners Rest, Smythes Creek and Bunkers Hill.

The suburbs encroach nearby towns such as Buninyong which are considered to be part of Greater Ballarat.

Ballarat is renowned for its cultural heritage and decorative arts, especially applied to the built environment, combined with the gold rush, this has created a picturesque urban landscape. In 2003 Ballarat was the first of two Australian cities to be registered as a member of the International League of Historical Cities and in 2006 hosted the 10th World League of Historical Cities Congress.

Many of its features demonstrate the breadth and depth of Ballarat's Heritage,[18] which are celebrated during heritage weekend in May.[19]

Avenues and boulevards

The Avenue of Honour, Ballarat

Ballarat is notable for its very wide boulevards. The main street is Sturt Street and is considered among one of the finest main avenues in Australia with over 2 kilometres of central gardens known as the Sturt Street Gardens featuring bandstands, fountains, statues, monuments, memorials and lampposts.

Ballarat is home to the largest of a collection of several Avenues of Honour in Victoria. The fifteen kilometre (9.3 mi) long Ballarat Avenue of Honour consists of a total of approximately 4,000 trees, mostly deciduous which in many parts arch completely over the road. Each tree has a bronze plaque dedicated to a soldier from the Ballarat region who enlisted during World War I. The Avenue of Honour and the Arch of Victory are on the Victorian Heritage Register and are seen by approximately 20,000 visitors each year.

Statues and monuments

RMS Titanic Memorial in front of Mechanics Institute. Sturt Street.

The city also has the greatest concentration of public statuary in any Australian city with many parks and streets featuring sculptures and statues dating from the 1860s to the present day.

Some of the other unique memorials located in the Sturt Street Gardens in the middle of Ballarat's main boulevard include a bandstand situated in the heart of the city that was funded and built by the City of Ballarat Band in 1913 as a tribute to the bandsmen of the RMS Titanic, a fountain dedicated to the early explorers Burke and Wills, and those dedicated to Monarchs and those who have played pivotal roles in the development of the city and its rich social fabric. The most recent memorial is dedicated to a war hero Sir Albert Ernest Coates. Sir Albert Ernest Coates was a soldier and a surgeon born at Mount Pleasant in Ballarat who served as a medical orderly at Gallipoli, trained as a doctor on his return and was worked tirelessly with minimal resources to save countless lives in Prisoner of War camps during World War II.[20]

War memorials

Ballarat has an extensive array of significant war memorials, the most recent of which is the Australian Ex Prisoner of War Memorial. The most prominent memorial in the city is the Ballarat Victory Arch that spans the old Western Highway on the Western approaches of the city. The archway serves as the focal point for the Avenue of Honour. Other significant individual monuments located along Sturt Street include those dedicated to the Boer War (1899–1901), the World War II (1939–1945) cenotaph, and Vietnam (1962–1972) (located adjacent to the Arch of Victory).

Parks and gardens

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens until recently were amongst the finest Botanical Gardens in Australia with extensive varieties of native and introduced species of plants and trees. The Gardens have been stressed and significantly underplanted by the caretakers due to stesses imposed by an enduring drought that has affected the region for 13 years. The gardens are also home to many heritage listed trees and contains a mostly non-native, European mix of trees some planted many years ago.

Lake Wendouree hosted the rowing events for the 1956 Summer Olympics, and is normally a large recreational lake that was created out of former wetlands. The Lake has also recently been stressed by the drought and plans are well advanced to address water supply issues with a permanent solution. The gardens are home to the annual Ballarat Begonia Festival, and feature a modern glasshouse and horticultural centre. Also of note is the Prime Minister's Avenue which features bronze busts of every Australian Prime Minister.

Architectural heritage

Distinctive Australian style of Victorian filigree displayed by the facade of Reid's Coffee Palace

The legacy of the wealth generated during Ballarat's gold boom is still visible in a large number of fine stone buildings in and around the city, especially in the Lydiard Street area. This precinct contains some of Victoria's finest examples of Victorian era buildings, many of which are on the Victorian Heritage Register or classified by the National Trust of Australia.

Notable civic buildings include the Town Hall (1870–72), the former Post Office (1864), the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery (1887), the Mechanics' Institute (1860, 1869), the Queen Victoria Wards of the Ballarat Base Hospital (1890s), and the Ballarat railway station (1862, 1877, 1888). Other fine buildings include the Provincial Hotel (1909), Reid's Coffee Palace (1886), Craig's Royal Hotel (1862–1890) and Her Majesty's Theatre (1875). A history of Her Majesty's Theatre, the oldest intact and operating lyric theatre in Australia, has been written.[21] Ballarat has what is considered to be the greatest concentration of historic architectural cast iron lace building decoration in the world, with lacework adorning many public buildings, commercial establishments and houses. Considerable efforts have been made in recent years to restore or rebuild some of the more significant cast iron lace verandahs that were torn down in the 1960s. The most recent significant projects include the rebuilding of the 1914 Mechanics Institute verandah and the restoration of the former Unicorn Hotel facade. Information about heritage related things to do and see is found on the City of Ballarat webpage.[22]

Ballarat is also home to the oldest Jewish synagogue on mainland Australia. The first stone was laid on January 25, 1861, during the Victorian Gold Rush period. The synagogue is located in Bakery Hill.[23]

In 1998 a group of concerned citizens formed the Ballarat Citizens for Thoughtful Development with the aim of ensuring Ballarat's unique architectural heritage was given due consideration in the planning process. The group is now incorporated as Ballarat Heritage Watch.

The Ballarat City Council has begun drafting a Central Business District Stratergy for the development of buildings, development sites, transport and streescape for the next 20 – 25 years. As part of the proposal it aims to secure funding and private and government interest in the ongoing development of Ballarat's CBD. The draft proposal also aims to find a 'Civic Heart' for the city where public events can be conducted on a regular basis [24].


Ballarat's major industries include the service industries, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, education and information technology services.

As a major service centre for the populous goldfields region, Ballarat has large sectors of employment in retailing, service industries, state and federal government branch offices and agencies and health care.

Tourism & Hospitality

Sovereign Hill, a large open air gold mining museum is Ballarat's most famous attraction.

Ballarat's tourism industry is a AUD$480 million a year industry which accounts for around 15% of Ballarat's economy and employs around 2,870 people.[25]

A significant heritage tourism industry has grown substantially in Ballarat since the 1960s. Ballarat is most notable for the award-winning Open-air museum known as Sovereign Hill, a recreated 1850s gold mining settlement opened in 1970. Sovereign Hill is Ballarat's biggest tourism drawcard and is consistently rated amongst one of the best tourism theme parks in the world and continues to expand. The museum is frequently used for school education excursions.

Several tourist traps and spin-offs have capitalised on Sovereign Hill's tourism popularity, most of these have sprung up near the eastern entrance of the Western Freeway between Melbourne and Ballarat. They include Kryal Castle (1972), Ballarat Wildlife Park (1987) which has grown to 32 acres (130,000 m2) and includes a large reptile collection, "Gold Rush Mini Golf" (2002) featuring the "Big Miner" (2006) one of Australia's big things at Ballarat's eastern entrance.

Other tourist attractions including the Ballarat Botanic gardens and tramway museum and Ballarat Ghost Tours. A large number of Ballarat hotels, motels and restaurants service the tourism industry. The Ballarat Tourist Association is an industry based non-profit, membership organisation representing the city's tourism industry.


Ballarat attracts investment from several international manufacturers. The Australian headquarters of Mars, Incorporated was established in Ballarat in 1979 with the main Ballarat factory producing Mars bars for the Australian market. Ballarat is also home to the Australian headquarters of McCain Foods Limited. The Ballarat North Workshops is a major manufacturer of public transportation products with current investment from Alstom.

Ballarat also has a large number of home grown companies producing textiles, general industrial engineering, food products, brick and tiles, building components, prefabricated housing components and automotive components.


Ballarat has become a major education centre with the formation of the University of Ballarat which exports education through a large international students program and throughout Australia through Distance education programs.

Information Technology

In recent years, a large technology park, the University of Ballarat Technology Park with communications centre has been established, with tenants including IBM and employing over 1,400 people.[26]


The 2006 Australian national census indicated that the permanent population of the City of Ballarat was 85,196.[27] Of this the urban population was measured to be 78,221.[28] Although surging land and house prices in Melbourne coupled with significant recent public transport upgrades between Melbourne and Ballarat has witnessed a significant growth surge. Ballarat's abundance of affordable land and highly established infrastructure have caught the notice of many people and families seeking a family friendly lifestyle. Since 2006 Ballarat has averaged an annual population growth of 1700 and in June 2008 had an estimated resident population of 91,787.[3] In August 2009 the estimated resident population was 94,000.[citation needed] Whilst most of the city's population can trace their ethnic roots to Anglo-Celtic decendency, 13.6% of the population are born overseas, with New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy the most common places of birth outside Australia. More recently the city has welcomed new arrivals from the Asian sub-continent and Africa.

Almost 15% of the population is over the age of 65, with over a quarter of the population expected to be over the age of 65 by 2021. The median age in Ballarat is 36 years. 46.8% of the population are married, with almost 35% of the population having never been married.[29]

There were 31,959 households in the 2006 census, with 56.5% of the population having access to the internet at home.[30]


Christianity remains the dominant religion in Ballarat, with over 65% of residents claiming Christian affiliation, slightly above the national average of 64%. Catholics (27.1%), Anglicans (15.0%), Uniting Church (11.2%) and Presbyterians (4.0%) remain the largest Christian denominations in Ballarat.

Over 21.6% of Ballarat residents claim no religious affiliation. Minority religious groups include Buddhism, Judaism and Islam and total less than 5% of the population.

Educational Attainment

42.5% of the population have completed further education after high school, with only 11.1% of the population holding a Bachelor Degree or greater, well below the national average.



Ballarat has two local newspapers, both owned by Rural Press Limited, The Courier is a daily, and the Ballarat News, a free weekly. The latter is distributed almost universally across the city every Wednesday, and containing news of community events, advertisements for local businesses, and a real estate and classifieds section.

Radio stations

Local radio stations include '3BA', 'Power FM' and also several community radio stations. There are also local branches of ABC-run ABC Radio, Triple J and ABC Classic FM.

  • 102.3 FM - 3BA (local "classic hits" commercial radio station)
  • 103.1 FM - Power FM 103.1 FM (local "top-40" commercial radio station)
  • 99.9 FM - Voice FM - formerly known as 3bbb (local community-accessoradio station)
  • 107.1 FM - 3JJJ (ABC Youth Radio)
  • 107.9 FM - ABC Local Radio (Government-funded local news, current affairs, light entertainment and talkback)
  • 621 AM - ABC Radio National (Government-funded, mostly news and talkback)
  • 105.5 FM - ABC Classic FM (Government-funded, classical music station)
  • 103.9 FM - Good News Radio 103.9 (Christian community-based religious station)


Television station BTV Channel 6 Ballarat commenced transmission of test patterns on 17 March 1962. Among the many local programs BTV6 produced, the 90 minute live variety program "Six Tonight" (1971–1983) hosted by local Ballarat identity Fred Fargher, was one of the few live Australian programs of this type being presented in Australia.

In his 1999 book And Now Here's... (Four Decades of Behind the Scenes Fun in Australian Television), Mike McColl Jones fondly remembers local live television variety. "...and in Ballarat, Victoria, a Tonight show ("Six Tonight") was carving its name into Australian television history. The show, hosted by Fred Fargher, ran for 13 years, and managed to attract many of the top name entertainers in the world, simply by offering them a limo ride to this beautiful country centre, a no-pressure spot on the show, and then a great dinner afterwards at one of the city's excellent restaurants. The sheer bravado of the offer enticed some of show business' biggest names."

Today Ballarat is serviced by numerous 'free to air' High Definition and Standard Definition Digital television services. Two television broadcasting stations are located in the city including WIN and GO! (sub-licensees of Nine Network) and PRIME (a sub-licensee of Seven Network). These two stations broadcast relayed services throughout regional Victoria. The city also receives Southern Cross Ten and One (sub-licensee's of Network Ten) that is based in Bendigo but operates a local office. Ballarat television maintains a similar schedule to the national television network but maintains local demographic commercials and local/regional news. In addition to commercial television services, Ballarat receives Government ABC (ABC1, ABC2 and ABC3) and SBS (SBS One and Two) television services.

Subscription television services are provided by Neighbourhood Cable, Austar, and SelecTV.


The University of Ballarat's main campus is set among the heritage buildings and former Ballarat Gaol at the School of Mines and Industry in Lydiard Street

Ballarat is home to two universities - Australian Catholic University Ballarat (Aquinas) and the University of Ballarat.

The University of Ballarat originated as the Ballarat School of Mines, founded in 1870 and once affiliated with the University of Melbourne. The university consists of six campuses, three of which are in Ballarat—two in the city (Camp Street and SMB campuses), and the main campus in Mount Helen, approximately 6 kilometres (3.75 mi) southeast of the city at the foot of Mount Buninyong.

The Australian Catholic University has campuses in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, with the Ballarat campus being the only one outside a capital ciy. The site began life as the Aquinas Training College run by the Ballarat East Sisters of Mercy in 1909.

Ballarat has four State Government-operated secondary schools, of which Ballarat High School (established in 1907) is the oldest. The other schools are Sebastopol College, Mount Clear College, and Ballarat Secondary College. Ballarat Secondary College was formed in 1994 by the amalgamation of Ballarat East Secondary College, Wendouree Secondary College and Midlands Secondary College.

The city is well serviced by Catholic schools, with 8 primary schools and 3 secondary colleges, the all-boys St Patrick's College, the all-girls Loreto College, and the co-educational Damascus College, which was formed by the amalgamation of St Paul's Technical School and Sacred Heart College in the 1990s. Additionally, there are two private day or boarding schools which provide education from Years 1 to 12; Ballarat and Queens Anglican Grammar School and Ballarat and Clarendon College.

Ballarat has several public libraries, the largest and most extensive of which is the City of Ballarat Library, run by the Central Highlands Regional Library Corporation and located on Creswick Road. Another library service is provided by the Mechanics' Institute in Sturt Street, which contains an excellent collection of historic, archival and rare reference material.

Arts and culture


Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Lydiard Street

The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery houses one of Australia's oldest and most extensive collections of early Australian works. It is considered to have the best Australian collection outside any capital city in Australia.

The University of Ballarat operates the Post Office Gallery in the Wardell designed former Post Office on the corner of Sturt and Lydiard Streets.[31]

Performing arts

Her Majesty's Theatre facade, Lydiard Street.

Ballarat has a lively and well established theatrical community with several local ensembles as well as a number of large performing arts venues. Major performing arts venues include:

  • Her Majesty's Theatre - Seating 940
  • Post Office Box Theatre (University of Ballarat Arts Academy, Camp Street Campus) – Flexible Seating up to 100
  • Helen Macpherson Smith Performing Arts Theatre (University of Ballarat, Arts Academy Camp Street Campus) – Seating 200
  • The 1870 Founders Theatre (University of Ballarat, Mount Helen Campus) - Seating 600
  • The Courthouse Theatre (University of Ballarat, SMB Campus) - Seating 140
  • The Victoria Theatre (Sovereign Hill) - Seating 300
  • Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts (Ballarat Grammar School) – Seating 900
  • Gay E. Gough Theatre (Mount Clear Secondary College) – Seating 350

Additionally the Mechanics Institute hall (seating 700) is used from time to time for travelling performances and cinema shows.

The Ballarat Civic Hall is a large public building constructed in 1958 as a general purpose venue. Its stripped classical design was heavily criticised during its planning, however it has gained some cultural significance to the city with its cavernous spaces holding many significant events over the years. Civic Hall was closed in 2002 and there have been moves to redevelop it for many years[32] with some calls to retain the building as a venue.

Ballarat is also the home to Australia's oldest and largest annual performing arts eisteddfod. The Royal South Street Eisteddfod is an all-encompassing performing arts festival and competition event that is conducted over twelve weeks annually.[33]

Entertainment and nightlife

Regent Theatre on Lydiard Street, a restored 1930s theatre expanded to include a post modern multi-cinema complex

In the 1970s the Ballarat urban area contained no less than 60 hotels. The introduction of gaming machines in the early 1990s has brought about significant change in the city entertainment precincts. By 2006 at least 20 hotels had closed and some of those that remain have been redeveloped as dining and/or gaming venues. Gaming machines have brought significant revenue to the remaining hotels, sports and social clubs which has enabled many to expand and modernise.

The city has several dance clubs as well as a highly active live music and jazz scene. Hotels are popular meeting places for young people. The city has many fine restaurants, wine bars and eateries as well as themed restaurants . December 2006 saw the creation of BTR, an organisation within Ballarat that has begun hosting dance events in Ballarat.

A large cinema complex consisting of several theatres is located behind the facade of the old Regent cinemas in the heart of the city.

Dance parties are popular within the Ballarat area; however, the director of Ballarat Health Services (BHS), Andrew Rowe, has stated that Ballarat is "an inappropriate place to hold a rave" and has called for the Moorabool Shire Council to forbid raves (such as the one held at Kryal Castle) around the immediate Ballarat area.[34]


Ballarat City Oval grandstand, built 1887

Ballarat has produced many notable sports people, perhaps the most famous being marathon runner Steve Moneghetti. The city is well endowed with parks, sport fields and organised sporting clubs and associations.

Australian rules football and cricket are highly popular in the city. Basketball, horse racing and rowing are also popular.

The city is excellently equipped with indoor stadiums and training centres for most sports. The city has three international standard cricket ovals, an international standard athletics track, two Olympic sized pools as well as an indoor 25 metre (82 ft) competition short course pool.

Notable sporting teams in Ballarat include the North Ballarat Roosters (who share an AFL affiliation with North Melbourne Football Club) who compete in the Victorian Football League and the Ballarat Miners and Ballarat Lady Miners who play at the WIN Minerdome which played host to games in the 2006 Commonwealth Games and compete in the South East Australian Basketball League. The region is home to the strong Ballarat Football League and Central Highlands Football League. Ballarat, Lake Wendouree and North Ballarat City have teams in the Ballarat Football League. The Ballarat Football Club, formed in 1860, remains one of the oldest football clubs in the world.

The city has an amateur soccer competition, known as the BDSA and is home to the Ballarat Red Devils who play in the FFV State League division Two North-West.

Ballarat has excellent horse and greyhound racing tracks, and the Harness Racing centre is considered to be among the best in Australia. The Ballarat Turf Club schedules around 28 race meetings a year including the Ballarat Cup meeting in mid-November.[35] Ballarat Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the city. [36] The Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club holds regular meetings at Sebastopol.[37]

Ballarat is home to numerous rowing clubs, and annually hosts the Victorian Schools Rowing Championships. Lake Wendouree plays host to the annual 'Head of the Lake' rowing regatta- contested by Ballarat High School, Ballarat and Clarendon College, Ballarat Grammar School, St Patrick's College and Loreto College. The city hosted rowing events for the 1956 Olympic Games.

Ballarat's Eastern Oval hosted a game in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Plans are currently in progression to upgrade Northern Oval (currently known as Eureka Stadium) for hosting regular AFL pre season matches, with an aim to accommodate seating for 20,000 people.[38]

Ballarat was also the first place in Australia to hold organised baseball games in 1857. Ballarat is now home to the Ballarat Brewers who field three teams in the Geelong Baseball Association Winter Divison, A Grade, A Reserve and C Grade teams.

Golfers play at the course of the Ballarat Golf Club on Sturt Street in the suburb of Alfredton[39] or at the course of the Midlands Golf Club on Heinz Lane.[40]



Ballarat Base Hospital's Henry Bolte wing (completed in 1994)

Ballarat has major hospitals in Ballarat Base Hospital which services the entire region and the Queen Elizabeth Centre. Private hospitals include a St John of God Health Care centre, established in 1915 and is currently the largest private hospital in regional Victoria.



The main mode of transport in Ballarat is the road network and the automobile. A single dual carriageway freeway - the Western Freeway connects Ballarat to Melbourne and also bypasses the city on its way to Ararat and Horsham. A network of state single carriageway highways from Ballarat including the Midland Highway which runs north toward Creswick and south toward Geelong, the Glenelg Highway to Mount Gambier and the Sunraysia Highway near Ballarat which connects the city with Mildura. Sturt, Mair, Victoria Street and Creswick Road carry the bulk of the city's domestic traffic.

Ballarat is also served by an extensive public bus service and taxi system.

Regional coaches operated by V/Line connect Ballarat with other regional centres such as Warrnambool, Bendigo, Mildura and Maryborough.


Modern fleet of VLocity railcars inside the Train shed of Ballarat railway station.

Ballarat has rail connections for freight and passenger services. The main railway line, the Ballarat Line was opened in 1862 and runs from Ballarat railway station to Melbourne. The Ararat Line continues in the opposite direction. Since 2006, V/Line has operated a 64-minute express service on VLocity trains running at up to 160 km/h (99 mph) which is popular with commuters to Melbourne.[41] Intercity trains run half hourly or hourly from Ballarat station.

A second railway station for the city, Wendouree was opened in May 2009 with 11 weekday services and 8 weekend services.[42]

As of mid 2010, Ballarat will be linked to Maryborough with 14 weekly train services through a partial reopening of the Mildura railway line.[43]

A new Regional Rail Link due for completion in 2013 will give Ballarat a direct line into central Melbourne without being delayed by metropolitan services.[44]

There is also a railway which connects Ballarat to Geelong (the Geelong-Ballarat railway line), however this currently operates as a freight line only (passenger services were withdrawn in 1978).


The city airport, located 8 km (5 mi) North-West of the CBD consists of two sealed runways (each approximately 1,400 m/4,600 ft length and 30 m/100 ft wide) as well as extensive sealed aprons, night lighting and NDB Navaid. In 2005 the City of Ballarat commissioned a Master Plan 2004-2014,[45] that outlined future development and growth of the Airport. The report made a series of recommendations and forecasts that included eventual lengthening, widening and strengthening of the existing main runway up to 1800 metres (5,900 ft), consideration for expansion of the passenger terminal and recommendations for future use of aprons and development of future structures supporting larger aircraft and increased frequent usage. It is forecast that by 2012-15 regular domestic passenger services using 40-50 seat commuter aircraft may feasibly commence.

Historic Tramways

A heritage tram passes the Lake Pavilion

Ballarat once operated an extensive tramway network which began in 1887, however it was closed in 1972 and replaced by buses. A small section of track remains used as a tourist and museum tramway. There have been proposals to extend the network, particularly to connect it to the railways and return it as a viable component of the Ballarat public transport system.


Central Highlands Water supplies Ballarat with water. The main reservoir is the White Swan reservoir which is topped up through the Goldfields Superpipe sourced from the Goulburn-Murray waterway system.

Ballarat's data communications services now come from several providers, however for a long time the city went without Broadband services. An extensive private broadband network was built by Neighbourhood Cable, now Telstra and Optus provide broadband services.

The main electricity supplier to Ballarat is Powercor with a number of smaller suppliers also servicing the residential market.

Sister cities

The City of Ballarat's sister cities are:

Notable residents


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Community Profile Series : Bendigo (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Retrieved on 19 November 2007
  3. ^ a b "3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2007-08". ABS. 23 April 2009. 
  4. ^ Premier Postal History, Post Office List,, retrieved 2008-04-11 
  5. ^ pg 11. Jacobs, Wendy. Ballarat: A Guide to Buildings and Areas 1851-1940 Jacob Lewis Vines Conservation Architects and Planners (1981)
  6. ^ "Rail Geelong - Geelong Line Guide". Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  7. ^ Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)): 71–76. 
  8. ^ Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing Ltd. p. 144. ISBN 9780522851342. 
  9. ^ Royal Visit to Ballarat 1901 McLean, Jack Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, August, 1994 pp211-233
  10. ^ Wendouree West
  11. ^ City of Ballarat (Maps, Population & Location -
  12. ^ Ballarat Goldfields -
  13. ^ Peel, M. C.; B. L. Finlayson, and T. A. McMahon (1 March 2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification". HESSD – Hydrology and Earth system sciences (4): 439–473. 
  14. ^ Linacre, Edward; Geerts, Bart (1997). Climates and Weather Explained. London: Routledge. p. 379. ISBN 0-415-12519-7. 
  15. ^ Weatherzone, 2009
  16. ^ "Climate statistics for Ballarat". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Heritage - City of Ballarat
  19. ^ Ballarat Heritage Weekend - Home
  20. ^ Albert.shtml University of Ballarat Honour Roll.
  21. ^ Her Maj: A History of Her Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat by Peter Freund with Val Sarah ISBN 9780975748312.
  22. ^ HeritageEventsOpps - City of Ballarat
  23. ^ Ballarat Hebrew Congregation
  24. ^ Central Business District (CBD) Strategy -
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Ballarat (VIC) (Statistical District)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  28. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Ballarat (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. 
  29. ^ Ballarat East Electorate Statistical Data -
  30. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics - Ballarat Statistical Region
  31. ^ UB Site Listing
  32. ^
  33. ^ Royal South Street Society
  34. ^ "Three overdose at Daft Punk show". The Age. 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  35. ^ Country Racing Victoria, Ballarat Race Club,, retrieved 2009-05-07 
  36. ^ Australian Harness Racing, Ballarat,, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  37. ^ Greyhound Racing Victoria, Ballarat,, retrieved 2009-04-15 
  38. ^ The Courier, 2009
  39. ^ Golf Select, Ballarat,, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  40. ^ Golf Select, Midlands,, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  41. ^ Regional rail travel booming, despite delays from The Age
  42. ^ Victorian Transport Plan - Ballarat:Wendouree Station
  43. ^ Maryborough Rail Serices
  44. ^ Victorian Transport Plan - Regional Rail Link
  45. ^


History Books on Ballarat

  • Bate, Weston. Lucky City: The First Generation of Ballarat 1851-1901 (1978)
  • Bate, Weston. Life After Gold: Twentieth-Century Ballarat Melbourne University Press (1993)
  • Carboni, Raffaello. The Eureka Stockade (1980) first published (1855)
  • Goodman, David. Gold Seeking: Victorian and California in the 1850s (1994)
  • Jacobs, Wendy. Ballarat: A Guide to Buildings and Areas 1851-1940 Jacob Lewis Vines Conservation Architects and Planners (1981)
  • Lynch, John. The Story of the Eureka Stockade: Epic Days in the early fifties at Ballarat, (1947?)
  • Fleet, James. The History of Gold Discovery in Victoria
  • Moloney, John. Eureka, (1984)
  • Serle, Geoffery. The Golden Age: A History of the Colony of Victoria, 1851-1860, (1963)
  • Freund, P with Sarah V, Her Maj: A History of Her Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat (2007)
  • Ballarat City Council
  • Victorian Heritage Register, Heritage Victoria

External links

Simple English

File:Lydiard Street
Craigs Hotel and other old buildings in Lydiard Street, Ballarat.
Population: 85,197 (2006) [1]
Density: 1220/km² (3,159.8/sq mi)
Established: 1838
Postcode: 3350
Elevation: 441 m (1,447 ft)  AHD
Area: 740 km² (285.7sq mi)
Time zone:

 • Summer (DST)



LGA: City of Ballarat
State District: Ballarat East, Ballarat West
Federal Division: Ballarat
File:Ballarat location map in
Ballarat's location in Victoria
[[File:|250px|right|thumb|The Cathedral in Ballarat]]

Ballarat is a city in central Victoria, Australia. Nearly 90,200 people live there, which makes it the third biggest city in Victoria, after Melbourne and Geelong. It is also the biggest city that is not on the coast in Victoria. It is about 105 km (65 mi) north-west of Melbourne. The city area covers about 7,500 ha (18,533 acres).




Tribes of Australian Aborigines, the Wathaurang and the Borneghurk[2], used to rest here, and called it "Balla-arat" meaning "elbow-place."

The first people from Europe came to Ballarat in 1837 to be sheep farmers. They took over large areas of land, with some farms more than 40,000 ha (98,842 acres). By 1840 there were more than 20 farms with 1000's of sheep in the Ballarat area. The city area was a farm owned by William Cross Yuille and Henry Anderson who arrived in 1838.

Gold rush

Gold was found at Ballarat in late August 1851, by James Regan and John Dunlop[3] and within three weeks there were nearly 1000 people digging in the area looking for gold. In two days the Cavanagh brothers dug up 27.2 kg (60 lb) of gold from a hole less than two metres deep[3]. This area is now called "Golden Point". Within a year there were 20,000 people living in Ballarat. With so many people coming to look for gold, the town soon got bigger. The Post Office opened on November 1, 1851 [4].

Ballarat is famous as the site for an uprising, or rebellion. This is known as the Eureka Stockade or the Eureka Rebellion, which took place on 3 December 1854. About 30 miners were killed. This is an important moment in Australian history. The site now has a museum, called the Eureka Centre, with displays about the rebellion. The rebel miners flag, the Eureka Flag can be seen at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

Big city

Gold mining made Ballarat a rich town, and it was made a city in 1871. The railway came to the town with the opening of the Geelong-Ballarat line in 1862,[5] and a direct line to Melbourne finished in December 1889.[6]

The money made from gold mining can still be seen in size of many public buildings, the large parks, wide streets, the grand style of shops and hotels, and large houses built for the wealthy residents. From the 1880's to the start of the 20th century the city changed from a gold rush town to a large industrial city. Factories that made equipment for mining slowly changed into engineering and manufacturing businesses. The Victorian Railways built the Ballarat North Workshops in April 1917.[7]

During 1901, the Duke of Cornwall and York, later King George V, opened the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne. While in Victoria, the Duke and Duchess made several journeys by train, on 13 May they went from Melbourne to Ballarat via Geelong, returning to Melbourne via Bacchus Marsh.[8] Ballarat's airport was opened in 1930.

World War II

In 1940 the Federal Government took over the airport as an air base for the Empire Air Training Scheme. During WWII the base was a RAAF Wireless Air Gunners' School as well as the base for USAAF Liberator bomber squadrons. During the war the airport was made much bigger, with three sealed runways. Two of these were over 2,000 metres (6,550 ft) long and 45 metres (150 ft) wide. The aerodrome remained the RAAF School of Radio until 1961 when it was returned to normal use. The City of Ballarat now runs the airport which is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register for its social and historic importance.

After the war

After World War II, Ballarat grew to the northwest. To ease the housing shortage a large estate was built by the Housing Commission of Victoria on the old Ballarat Common This area is now called Wendouree West).[9] From 1951 to 1962, 750 houses were built, with another 300 added in the 1970's. This was matched by private housing built in Wendouree.

In the 1980's the areas of growth have been in the south and west of the city, as well as new building in the inner areas of the city. Through the 20th century Ballarat continued to grow at a steady rate. New public buildings have been built including the hospital, the library, the law courts and the police station complex.

Other pages


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Ballarat (VIC) (Statistical District)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Weston Bate (1978). Lucky City: The First Generation at Ballarat, 1851 - 1901. p. pg 7. 
  4. Premier Postal History, Post Office List,, retrieved 2008-04-11 
  5. "Rail Geelong - Geelong Line Guide". Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  6. Sid Brown (March 1990). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Tracks Across the State"]. Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)): 71–76. 
  7. Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing Ltd. p. 144. ISBN 9780522851342. 
  8. Royal Visit to Ballarat 1901 McLean, Jack Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, August, 1994 pp211-233
  9. Wendouree West
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