Sovereign Hill, Ballarat: Old Gold Town

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Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum (and theme park of sorts) in Ballarat, a city north-west of Melbourne. It’s got historically-recreated buildings to give us an idea of what Australia in the 1850s might have looked like, complete with antiques, machinery, and other paraphernalia of that era. (Here’s the Wikipedia link for more info.)

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You can mine for actual gold, but I doubt you’ll find more than a speck or two.

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Main Street. It’s no Disneyland, but it still has a certain charm.

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Hope Bakery serves sweet and savoury pies! Bought an apple turnover for Mum and a beef and cheese pie for myself. There’s also a modern cafeteria off Main Street, where Mum bought a cup of coffee.

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Gorgeous houses. I don’t think we were able to enter though. Oh well, happy to admire from afar.

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Since Sovereign Hill is well, a hill, you can these stunning views.

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There’s real livestock too!

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If Mum had an Instagram account. #coffeeaddict #seetheworld

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There probably weren’t any recycling bins back in the day. Just sayin’

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Some of the activities that you could participate in include nine-pin bowling. No extra charge, but it’s quite popular and you might have to wait quite a while for your turn.

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Ye Olde Fire Brigade.

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(Singing) ~ Going to the chapel and I’m… already married.

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You could also ride on a carriage, but it would cost extra.

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Waiting for the mine tour, which is underground. Yes, we had to pay extra, and no, we could not climb that tower.

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The mine tram would go down at an approximately 45 degree angle and the tunnel was PITCH BLACK. Even with the lamps at the end of the tunnel, the underground mines were really dim and it took some getting used to.

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The show that we watched was a tale of two Chinese brothers. Yes, there were Chinese miners in Ballarat 150 years ago. The Chinese went to distant corners of the world for gold, and The Land Down Under was no exception.

Our tickets also included admission to the Gold Museum. There were gold nuggets, gold trinkets, tools for mining gold, and of course lots of history lessons, but the exhibit that really caught my eye was this one…

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“Chinese Fashion Design Students Re-imagine the 1850s in the ‘New Gold Mountain Street Style’ Competition”. Apparently the costumed characters in Sovereign Hill fascinated the Chinese visitors and so Sovereign Hill had a fashion design competition to strengthen its ties with the overseas Chinese community. Interesting.

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One last photo for the road: one of my favourite displays in the museum. Golden chalice, anyone?

http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/

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