Bradshaw Street, Ballarat VIC 3350, Australia
Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum presenting the story of Australia’s fabulous goldrush history. Its particular focus is the impact of the great 19th century gold discoveries on the growth of Ballarat, which was a small pastoral settlement when gold was discovered in 1851. By 1861, Ballarat had grown into a fine provincial city built on the wealth derived from its gold.
Since opening in November 1970, Sovereign Hill has become an Australian tourism icon, winning many major tourism awards. Today, Sovereign Hill attracts some 450,000 visitors each year and is known world wide as a living museum with a strong emphasis on working machinery and exhibits, costumed interpreters and visitor participation.
Sovereign Hill is administered by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association - a not-for-profit, community-based organisation. The Association is controlled by a Board elected by members and serving in a voluntary capacity. Management is in the hands of an Executive Director and professional staff. In all, some 350 people are employed, and their work is supported by over 250 volunteers who help bring the Outdoor Museum to life and assist the Gold Museum with its curatorial work and tour guiding.
Sovereign Hill occupies around 25 hectares of land. Half of this comprises the Outdoor Museum. The remainder is used for our evening sound and light show, ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’ and as paddocks for our working horses.
‘Blood on the Southern Cross’ is an explosive multi-million dollar sound-and-light show like nothing you’ve ever seen before!
The story of the Eureka Rebellion, a dramatic battle between gold miners and Government forces at Ballarat on 3 December, 1854, is retold nightly by ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’, Sovereign Hill’s acclaimed sound-and-light spectacular.
Set under the night skies at Sovereign Hill, ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’ involves no actors – just voices, dazzling sound-and-light effects and a stunning open-air set. Visitors travel across the site on a comfortable transporter and view much of the action from the re-created Free Trade Hotel on the Eureka Diggings.
Experience the miners’ disgust at unfair gold taxes and witness the dramatic burning of the Eureka Hotel. Then, listen to Governor Hotham’s reasoning for a dawn attack on a band of men who were the first to swear an oath of loyalty on Australian soil to a flag that was not British – the flag of the Southern Cross.
Gillies St N, N Ballarat VIC 3355, Australia
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
One of Australia’s most significant cool climate gardens, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens feature a remarkable collection of mature trees and marble statues set amongst colourful bedding displays.
Located on the western shore of Lake Wendouree, approximately four kilometers from Ballarat’s CBD, the Gardens are a popular and invaluable heritage and recreational location for residents and visitors.
The Gardens cover 40 hectares and are divided into four distinct zones. The central part of the Gardens features the traditional, 'gardenesque' style, open parkland on either side are known as the North and South Gardens and the area alongside Lake Wendouree as the Lake foreshore precinct.
ROBERT CLARK CONSERVATORY
Officially opened in 1995, the Robert Clark Conservatory was built as part of the two million dollar bequest of Bob Clark in honour of his Grandfather Robert Clark – co-founder of The Courier newspaper.
The third conservatory on the site, this is the first that allows visitors to wander inside amongst the seasonal floral displays.
Seasonal displays feature in the Conservatory all year round from plants grown in the Botanical Gardens Nursery:
- Summer - Hydrangeas, Fuchsias and Pelargoniums
- Autumn - Tuberous Begonia Display (coincides with the Ballarat Begonia Festival)
- May - Chrysanthemum
- Winter - Cyclamen, Cineraria and Primula
- Spring - Schizanthus and spring bulbs
The Conservatory is FREE and open every day 9am to 4.30pm, excluding Christmas Day.
PRIME MINISTERS AVENUE
The Prime Ministers Avenue is a feature of national significance, set in the magnificent Horse Chestnut Avenue of the Gardens. The 28 Prime Ministers of Australia are displayed as bronze portraits mounted on polished granite pedestals. The collection includes a portrait of one of the founding fathers of Federation, Alfred Deakin, who was the first Federal Member for Ballarat and the second Prime Minister.
The Stoddard Collection - Wealthy Ballarat citizen, Thomas Stoddart, bought 12 marble statues during a visit to Carrara in Italy and gave them, together with Sicilian marble pedestals, to the citizens of Ballarat. The statues were unveiled by the Governor of Victoria on Queen Victoria’s birthday, 24 May 1884 and are located throughout the gardens.
The Statuary Pavilion - Home to a collection of five marble statues by Charles Summer, they were purchased with bequest funds from James Russell Thompson in 1888. The bequest also included a large statue of the Scottish hero, William Wallace, which greets visitors at the entrance to the Gardens.
Bradshaw St, Ballarat Central VIC 3350, Australia
The Gold Museum
The Gold Museum extends Sovereign Hill’s story of Ballarat - a majestic provincial city built on the wealth derived from the great Australian gold rushes of the 1850s.
An impressive glass-fronted building with commanding views, the Gold Museum offers an award-winning gift shop specialising in the sale of gold nuggets and Australian-made gold jewellery and fine giftware.
Discover the beauty and power of gold as you view an impressive and valuable collection of gold nuggets, alluvial deposits, priceless gold artefacts and gold coins.
‘Ballarat: Inspired by Gold’ is a major exhibition presenting the story of Ballarat from its earliest days through to European settlement and the amazing impact of the gold rushes. Entry to the Gold Museum is free with your Sovereign Hill ticket. Separate entry is also available.
250 Fussell St, Ballarat Central VIC 3350, Australia
Ballarat Wildlife Park
The Ballarat Wildlife Park is a privately owned business run by The Parker family and their team.
Here at the Park we offer a nice comfortable walk around our facilities, with the chance to get up close and personal to some of Australia’s most famous native animals.
With over 100 Kangaroos roaming free, around the Park, we give you the opportunity to experience hand feeding these amazing animals.
We also give you the chance to interact with Koalas, Wombats, and a variety of reptiles ranging from Snakes to Lizards and even a giant Tortoise.
You can enjoy lunch in our fully licensed cafe or bring along a picnic to have on our outdoor table and chairs, surrounded by the Kangaroos.
And while at the Park, why not ask our friendly staff about our ‘Animal Experiences’, which is a photo of you and an animal, professionally taken as your souvenir to take home.
40 Lydiard St N, Ballarat Central VIC 3350, Australia
Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest and largest gallery in regional Australia. The Gallery offers a range of experiences, from exploring the history of Australian art in its stunning permanent collection to seeing some exciting new art in temporary exhibitions. There’s always something new to see, to do and to experience.