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Ballarat – Victoria – a sleepy town with a turbulent past

Ballarat in Victoria must be one of the prettiest towns I have recently visited. The manicured lawns, the tranquil lake in the middle of the town, the black swan. I think I could easily live there. It is close enough to a large city and it looks so livable.

This used to be a very busy town in the second half of the 19th century. When gold was discovered in Australia thousands of prospectors descended on this little town, just north of Melbourne. I saw a couple of mining shafts in the middle of the town. I’m not sure if they are still operational, but they do point to the fact that the town rose around the mining, and it grew to a very large size before the gold dried out.

Judging by the architecture, the town must have been pretty rich in its heyday. The Catholic and the Anglican cathedrals look very impressive. There is also a number of old building from the gold-rush era worth checking out. They even have a tram which looks like means of transportation, rather than just a tourist attraction.

And of course, there is the Eureka Stockade. One of the more famous rebellions against the British rule in Australia, and regarded as a birth of democracy in the colony. The main quarrel the miners had with the crown was high taxation and high gold mining licensing fees. Taxation without representation was what they protested against and due to a massive public support for the rebels, 2 years later the Electoral Act of 1856 was introduced which mandated suffrage for the colonists.

I didn’t spend that much time in Ballarat, but it was really nice taking a stroll in the center of this town, admiring some of the oldest buildings and soaking in a bit of history as well.

Here are a few images from Ballarat, Victoria.


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