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Ballarat (formerly spelt "Ballaarat") is a city in Victoriamarker, Australia, and Victoria's largest inland city. It is well-known for its history and heritage and is a major regional centre in the Goldfields region of Victoria.

It is approximately north-west of the state capital Melbournemarker, with an urban population of 88,437 people. The city lies at AHD and consists of an area of approximately , with the city occupying a built up area of approximately .

Gold was discovered near Ballarat in 1851, and the influx of over 10,000 miners in less than a year transformed it from a pastoral town into Victoria's largest settlement. The Victorian gold rush occurred throughout the 1850s and 1860s whilst gold could be readily extracted from the surface. The city's growth slowed after the 1880s and Melbourne quickly overshadowed it in importance. However, Ballarat has endured as a major inland regional centre and tourist destination, having retained much of its Victorian era heritage, a unique culture, and is highly regarded for its grand heritage listed public and private buildings, monuments, statues and expansive gardens.


Nerrena Fossickers in Nerrena Creek outside Ballarat
Lydiard and Sturt Street in 1899.
A bustling city of trams, horses and pedestrians.
Town Hall and Sturt Street in 1917.

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. The area where gold was found was situated northeast of Ballarat, about away. The total area was about , and an estimated 200,000 ounces of gold are said to have been extracted from the area. This made Ballarat 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.

With a huge influx of population and wealth as a major participant in the Gold Rush, Ballarat was, for a time, Victoria's largest township.

Ballarat is notable as the site for Australia's only armed civil uprising, colloquially referred to as the Eureka Stockade but more correctly titled the Eureka Rebellion, which took place 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, with the current direct route to Melbourne completed in December 1889.

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.

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

In 1930 an aerodromemarker 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). 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 Wendoureemarker 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 Rangemarker 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.

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 1800's.

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.


Ballarat experiences a temperate climate 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 Buninyongmarker, 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 7 February 2009 during the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave. This is 2.1 °C above the previous record of 42.0 °C , set on 25 January 2003. The city's lowest ever recorded minimum was -6.0 °C (21.2 °F) on 21 July 1982.

In recent years, Ballarat (along with South Eastern Australia) has experienced a severe decrease in average annual rainfall with falls averaging as low as 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. The City of Ballarat, The Central Highlands Water Commission, and State Government of Victoria have initiated a number of projects that are designed to ensure that the city is guaranteed a steady water supply and that the lake will be regenerated using storm water and recycled water from the city's treatment plants. Many residents have become pro-active and redirect grey water from homes directly onto gardens and for outdoor cleaning as a matter of daily routine.

In May 2008, the long awaited Goldfields Superpipe connecting Ballarat's White Swan Reservoir with the Goulburn-Murray system via Bendigo opened, allowing 5 gigalitres of water annually to supplement Ballarat's dwindling water supply. This amount is proposed to be increased over time to meet future demand as the city grows.

The City of Ballarat is further using the drought as an opportunity to dredge the lake and upgrade the international rowing course. Many decades-old introduced species of trees planted in many of the public spaces around the city have not coped well with the recent, persistent drought prompting the City Council to plan for their eventual removal and replacement with similar looking Australian native varieties that are considerably more dry weather tolerant. Investigations are also being made into the possibility of recycling waste water and capturing storm water from the Yarrowee Catchment which runs through the city.


A heritage tram passes the Lake Pavilion

Ballarat is linked directly to Melbourne by a combination of state highway and dual carriageway freeway. Regular rail services on the Ballarat Line from Ballarat railway station run to Melbourne, in addition to the Ararat Line that runs in the opposite direction. The line was upgraded as part of the Regional Fast Train Project which commenced in 2006, allowing for the purchase of new fast VLocity trains and speeds of up to on parts of the line. Coaches also connect Ballarat with other regional centres such as Warrnambool, Bendigo, Mildura and Maryborough. Trains and regional coaches are operated by V/Line. Ballarat is also served by an extensive public bus service and taxi system.

The city airport, located 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, 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.

The city maintained a horse tramway system from 1887 until 1909 when they were replaced by electric trams operated by the Electric Supply Company of Victoria. In September 1971, tram services were replaced by buses. A short section of track continues at the western end of Lake Wendouree as a museum line operated by the Ballarat Tramway Museum. In recent times there have been studies conducted to reinstate sections of tram line or light rail to service key tourist routes and high usage bus services between the city and Wendoureemarker.

In late 2006, a second railway station for the city was being established in Wendouree to service direct links to Melbourne and western distributor lines. A naming competition by the Victorian Government saw the new station dubbed Wendouree by the people of Ballarat, because of its geographical significance to the area. The station was opened in May 2009 by Transport Minister Lynne Kosky. The station will allow for 11 weekday services and 8 weekend services.

As part of the Victorian Transport Plan, a new Regional Rail Link will be built from West Werribee to Sunshine, then on to Melbourne Southern Cross Stationmarker, allowing Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong V/Line services to have a direct line into central Melbourne without being caught up by metropolitan services, which frequently delay country services. Federal and State funds will be used to fund the $4 billion line, with construction expected to commence in September 2009 and be due for completion by 2013.


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, which are celebrated during heritage weekend in May.

Grand 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 , 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 Mt 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.

In late 2006, the Ballarat "Big Miner" was erected at the eastern entrance to Ballarat. The larger-than-life statue of a miner holding a pick and pan greets visitors as they approach the city from the east.

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 Archmarker 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 Gardensmarker 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 Wendoureemarker 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.

The town is also home to the award-winning tourist park Sovereign Hillmarker, a recreated 1850s gold mining settlement that is rated amongst one of the best tourism theme parks in the world.

Ballarat Wildlife Park a popular tourist attraction covers and includes a large reptile collection.

Venetian gothic office building, corner of Lydiard and Sturt Streets

Architectural heritage

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).
Cast-iron front of Reid's Coffee Palace
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. 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.

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.

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.

Suburbs and city layout

The suburbs of Ballarat were originally concentrated on the gold mining areas in the east and south of the city, incorporating the modern day suburbs of:

The post gold rush era has seen a boom in planned suburbs, particularly in the north and west of the CBD, including:

Ballarat also has some more rural suburbs of 2-20 acre blocks within 15 minutes of the CBD that are very popular with families.


The 2006 Australian national census indicated that the permanent population of the City of Ballarat was 88,437. 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 August 2009 had an estimated resident population of 94,000. 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 Zealandmarker, Germanymarker, the Netherlandsmarker and Italymarker 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.

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


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.

Industry and employment

Ballarat's major industries include tourism and hospitality, textiles, general industrial engineering, food products, brick and tile manufacture, building, prefabricated housing, automotive components, education and information technology services.

Other major sectors of employment in the city include retailing, service industries, state and federal government branch offices and agencies and health care.

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', 'Noise FM' and also several community radio stations. There are also local branches of ABCmarker-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 Bendigomarker 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 ABCmarker (ABC 1 and 2) and SBS (SBS One and Two) television services.

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


Ballarat is home to two universities - Australian Catholic University Ballarat (Aquinas) and the University of Ballarat. The origins of the University of Ballarat lie in the Ballarat School of Mines, founded in 1870 and once affiliated with the University of Melbournemarker. The university consists of six campuses, three of which are in Ballarat. Two of these are located in the city (Camp Street and SMB campuses), while the main campus is located at Mount Helen, approximately 6 kilometres (3.75 mi) southeast of the city at the foot of Mount Buninyong. Ballarat is the only regional campus of the Australian Catholic Universitymarker, which has campuses in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane.

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, 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 University, Camp Street Campus (Fine Art).
Modern rear facade.
The Ballarat Fine Art Gallerymarker houses one of Australia's oldest and most extensive collections of early Australian works. It is considered to have the best Australian collections 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.

Performing arts

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 (Mt. Clear Secondary College) – Seating 350

Her Majesty's Theatre facade, Lydiard Street.
Additionally the Mechanics Institute hall (seating 700) is used from time to time for travelling performances and cinema shows.

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.

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 located at Sovereign Hillmarker and Kryal Castle. December 2006 saw the creation of BTR, an organisation within Ballarat that has begun hosting dance events in Ballarat.

Ballarat Ghost Tours, a walking tour focusing on Ballarat's History and supernatural occurrences, operates Wednesday to Sunday.

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.


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 compete in the Victorian Football League and the Ballarat Miners who 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 a soccer competition, known as the BDSA.

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. Ballarat Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the city.

The Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club holds regular meetings at Sebastopolmarker.

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 Eastern Oval for hosting regular AFL pre season matches, with an aim to accommodate seating for 20,000 people.

Golfers play at the course of the Ballarat Golf Club on Sturt Street in the suburb of Alfredtonmarker or at the course of the Midlands Golf Club on Heinz Lane.

Notable residents


  1. Retrieved on 19 November 2007
  2. Royal Visit to Ballarat 1901 McLean, Jack Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, August, 1994 pp211-233
  3. Wendouree West
  4. City of Ballarat (Maps, Population & Location -
  5. Ballarat Goldfields -
  6. Weatherzone, 2009
  7. Goldfields Superpipe - The Ballarat Link
  9. Horse Trams of Ballarat Jack, W. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, May, 1942 pp57-59
  10. Ballarat Tramway Museum - Ballarat Trams are Ballarat History
  11. Victorian Transport Plan - Ballarat:Wendouree Station
  12. Victorian Transport Plan - Regional Rail Link
  13. Heritage - City of Ballarat
  14. Ballarat Heritage Weekend - Home
  15. Albert.shtml University of Ballarat Honour Roll.
  16. Her Maj: A History of Her Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat by Peter Freund with Val Sarah ISBN 9780975748312.
  17. HeritageEventsOpps - City of Ballarat
  18. Ballarat Hebrew Congregation
  19. Ballarat East Electorate Statistical Data -
  20. Australian Bureau of Statistics - Ballarat Statistical Region
  21. UB Site Listing
  22. Royal South Street Society
  24. The Courier, 2009


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)
  • 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

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