June 2013
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Travel – Sovereign Hill – Australia – Part 1

Sovereign Hill is an open air museum located in Golden Point which is a suburb of Ballarat, Victoria in Australia.

Overview of Sovereign Hill

• Sovereign Hill depicts Ballarat’s first decade history.
• It is in 1851 when the gold was discovered there.
• It was officially opened on 29 November 1970.
• It then turned into a nationally acclaimed tourist attraction.
• It is certainly one of Victoria’s most widely acclaimed attractions and Ballarat’s most famous attraction.
• The site is set in Australian 1850s background.
• The complex is on the 25-hectare site which is linked to the richest alluvial gold rush on earth.
• The site comprises over 60 historically recreated buildings with costumed staff and volunteers.
• They will be able to respond to questions and definitely will pose for photos.
The recreation is finished with:
– Antiques
– Artwork
– Books
– Papers
– Machinery
– Livestock
– Animals
– Carriages
– Devices

History of Sovereign Hill

• Sovereign Hill is on the spot of one of the major Ballarat’s gold diggings.
• The discovery was done on August 21, 1851.
• This was done by James Reagan and James Dunlop.
• This sparked the Ballarat Gold rush.
• This was in the hill base which was a few hundred metres from Sovereign Hill Park and also the “Welcome” nugget.
• It was found by the group of Cornish miners in 1858.
• This is the second largest gold nugget in the world.
• It was also found in Ballarat in the Red Hill mine.
• This was recreated in Sovereign Hill.
• The Welcome Nugget weighed 69 kg.
• It is known to have contained 99% 24-karat gold.
• It valued about 10,500 pounds when initially found.
• It turns out to be worth over US$3 million in gold currently.
• Sovereign Hill idea was initialized in Ballarat in 1960s.
• This became a way to preserve historic buildings.
• It helped in recreating the gold diggings that were made in this location.
• The complex was open to public officially on Sunday 29 November 1970.
• Main Street is loose reconstruction of Main Street.
• Ballarat East which was the settlement of high street has timber buildings.
• It was consumed by a large fire in 1860s.
• A larger town center was planned around Sturt and Lydiard Street located in Ballarat West.

Attractions of Sovereign Hill

• The gold diggings are the core point of the complex.
• There is a winding creek in which the visitors can pan for real gold.
• The area is flanked by tents and buildings which were contemporary in the early years of the gold rush.
• A recent addition to Sovereign Hill is the Gold Pour.
• Here 24-karat gold valued at exceeding $100,000 is melted and poured right onto a three-kilogram bullion bar.
• There are two mines which offer guided tours at frequent intervals.
• The Red Hill Mine is usually a self guided tour.
• It tells the story about the group of Cornishmen who discovered Gold from the Welcome Nugget.
• The Sovereign Quartz Mine offers forty minute guided tours.
• They also feature many underground displays.
• Above ground there is steam-driven machinery exhibited for showing the process of pumping water and processing the ore.
• Another new attraction named “Trapped” may be added.
• This underground exhibit explains about the situation of the mining disaster at Creswick in 1882.
• In this disaster 22 miners died because of the collapse and flooding in the New Australasian No 2 Mine.
• It is still considered Australia’s worst mining disaster.
• The primary Street is lined with shops, two hotels along with a theater.
Among the several shops on High street there are:
– A blacksmith’s workshop
– Stables
– Photography studio
– Apothecary
– Bakery
– Jeweler’s shop
– Grocer
– Tentmaker
– Tinsmith
– Bank
– Postal service
– Nine-pin bowling saloon
– Library
• Behind the leading Street there are a variety of cottages which are open for visitors.
• There are four schools where children in class-groups dress in period costume and attend a vacation from the 1850s.
• Many workshops at Sovereign Hill, display:
– Traditional trades like coachbuilder
– Wheel right
– Tinsmith
– Blacksmith
– Farrier

Best time to visit / climate

• Ballarat has a moderate oceanic climate.
• It has 4 seasons.
• Its elevation is at 435 meters above sea level.
• This causes its mean monthly temperatures to tend on average 3 – 4 degrees Celsius.
• Maximum temperatures over the summer period frequently exceed 30.0 °C and often reach above 40.0 °C.
• The mean daily maximum temperature for January is 25.0 °C.
• The mean minimum is 10.8 °C.
• In July, the mean maximum is 10.0 °C.
• Average July minimum is 3.2 °C.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

• Sovereign Hill is located in the historic town of Ballarat.
• Sovereign Hill is found on Bradshaw Street.
• It might be easily accessed by car, or by train and tour bus services which operate daily from Melbourne.
• Sovereign Hill is a comfortable 90-minute drive from Melbourne over the Western Highway.
• It is only a couple of hours from Melbourne Airport.
• Observe the brown and white tourist signs that lead to Sovereign Hill and follow them, when in Ballarat.

To reach Ballarat
1. By car
• Ballarat is about ninety minutes drive from Melbourne around the Western Freeway, M8.
• Alternatively, from Geelong consider the southern a part of the A300.
• From Bendigo and Castlemaine go ahead and take northern section of the identical highway.

2. By train
• Frequent V/Line trains run from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.
• The trip takes approx one hour and twenty minutes.
• Ballarat Station is in the core of the city.

3. By plane
• Ballarat is not served directly by any commercial passenger flights.
• You have to fly to Melbourne.
• There’s an Airport Shuttle Bus between Ballarat and Melbourne’s main domestic and international airport, Melbourne airport.
• It is generally known as Tullamarine on some booking sites.
The shuttle bus costs
– $30 for adults
– $76 for families
– $16 for children 3 to 16
– Children under 3 are free
• For more resources for Tullamarine see Melbourne airport.
• There isn’t a direct connection between Melbourne’s secondary Avalon airport and Ballarat.
• The options are to either hire a car, or obtain the coach to Melbourne’s Southern Cross railway station.
• Then take train to Ballarat.

4. Get around
• The Ballarat Visitor Information Centre is really a short walk through the Station.
• It operates an amiable visitor shuttle bus.
• This service links on the main attractions and also to Buninyong Township.
• You can find your way around Ballarat using a bicycle.
• There are two choices for bicycle hire.
Bicycle Centre Ballarat
– 24 Armstrong Street Nth
– Ph: +61 3 5334 4388
– Fax: +61 3 5331 8155
Welcome Nugget
– Bicycles for Hire
– 128 Lydiard Street Nth
– Ph: 0423 268 618
– ballaratonabike@rocketmail.com

Some Travel Books on Australia

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Australia In a Sunburned Country Frommer’s Australia (Frommer’s Color Complete)

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at wotif.com
Hotels at ballarat.com

Blogs/Sites about Sovereign Hill

blogs at travelbuddy.com
blogs at sovereignhill.com.au
blogs at wikipedia.org
blogs and reviews at tripadvisor.com

Images and photos about Sovereign Hill

images at travelbuddy.com
images at sovereignhill.com.au
images at wikipedia.org
images at google.com

Videos about Sovereign Hill

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