Monday, 4 November 2013

Sovereign Hill

As I mentioned in my last post this is a long weekend - because of a horse race!

Today we set off west and a little north to the city of Ballarat.  This is a former sheep station that rose to considerable fame and wealth on the back of local gold finds.  Unlike many other towns in the area, Ballarat continues to produce gold to this day.

It is also famous as the site of an armed rebellion against taxation in the form of gold licenses, which were sold without any political representation.  The clash between a group of miners and the forces of the government is the stuff of Australian legend.

But we did not visit to dig for gold, or to protest, we went to visit an open air museum that is based around a reconstruction of the old main street of Ballarat as a mining town.

Past experiences have suggested that this could be a little cheesy - to much plastic realism and cheap trinkets.  But the truth of the matter was that I rather enjoyed it.  There seemed to be a good balance between being a tourist attraction (which it clearly is) and an attempt to portray some aspects of life on the gold fields.  Some of the small miners "cottages" are, to say the least, grim looking - and I can only assume it was worse for the miners and their families that lived under canvas.

There was a demonstration of gold pouring - which was remarkable for the amount of heat that radiated off the block of gold, and for the speed at which a length of wood caught fire when it was pushed onto the still glowing block.




There were a number of staff in "costume" on foot in the complex - and there was a delightful lack of faux "oh yea, oh yea" about their approach.





As you may be able to tell I had a good day - as did the rest of my clan!

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

22 comments:

Arija said...

I rather enjoyed the place too and you post but I am itching to do your proof reading.My guess is, with the holiday, you didn't get a chance to read it through. Please don't be offended, it is not meant as a criticism.

Fun60 said...

Good to see some of the history being brought back to life. Was that a pure gold ingot he was melting? Couldn't see any security guards around. Mind you, at that temp I don't suppose anyone would be tempted to pick it up and run off with it!

Carole M. said...

I didn't realize you had a long weekend for the big race down there Stewart. I'm surprised the guy pouring the gold bar didn't need to wear goggles ... good you made a family day outing on the 'holiday'

eileeninmd said...

I would enjoy a long weekend for any reason! It is a neat attraction for the family to visit. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

stiefbeen said...

dit is heel leuk Stewart om dit eens mee te maken .een mooie reportage heb je ervan gemaakt.

TexWisGirl said...

watching someone melt gold would not be something you get to see every day. glad it was interesting and not too cheesy.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

What an interesting event this must have been! Fun sounding weekend.

Sylvia K said...

It does look as though you had a fun, great weekend weekend holiday, Stewart!! Wonderful captures for the day! Thanks for sharing the fun with us! Have a good week!

Montanagirl said...

I always looked forward to long weekends when I was working. It looks like yours was well spent!

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

It looks like this place draws a hoard of tourists. I like your selective focusing of staff in costume.

Timur said...

Hi Stewart...

great impressions !! Very nice :)

Best regards

Gail Dixon (LaBelle) said...

Looks educational and fun! Two great pursuits. Thanks for sharing. Really enjoyed the pics of the costumed folks.

Pat Tillett said...

I love seeing people making an effort to preserve and revive history!
We also have a mining ghost town out here in Death Valley named Ballarat! Now I'm wondering if our Ballarat has an Australian connection. Okay, I just Goggled it...
An immigrant prospector (George Riggins) from Australia, got the town named after the town of Ballarat in your country! I had no idea!

Jim said...

I'd like to visit someday. We once had Old Sydney Town up near Gosford and that was a lot of fun to visit.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Cool place to visit and interesting things to see.

ladyfi said...

I love living history like this! Great shots.

Lea said...

Very interesting!
Have a wonderful week!
Lea

Dave said...

A nice educational post Stewart, accompanied with some good portrait shots.

Lady Lilith BloodCrave said...

Looks like you had a lovely time.

CountryMouse said...

That looks like a great place to visit. I would love to go one day.

DIMI said...

What an interesting post Stewart!!!
A lovely place to visit!!!Great shots!!!
Dimi...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love this kind of stuff because it sticks in my weak brain better than printed history. And I think it would be great for kids!