For ages I was obsession with the notion of the gold, frequently playing the gold music playlist I made to motivate myself towards finer things.
Ballarat was my No.1 destination because of this, it is one of the only places in Australia with a rich vein of history because it was the gold mining town of the 1850s, and what bought so many people to Victoria itself.
Hooking Maria (Irish, sarcastic, very funny) on to the trip we traveled to Ballerat with explosive anticipation. And heading to Sovereign Hill, we were not to be disappointed. At a costly $38, it was expensive. Having said that it was a solid day’s worth of activity as you visit the reconstructed village where all the cool people of the 1850s hung. So in some ways, it was a theme park without the rides. You started with the bakers and the blacksmiths, before moving to the doctors, the police, the school, the sweetshop, the whole works. You could also find out how to make soap, how to make candy, see a gun salute and visit the local saloon for a sasprilla. There was a theatre, which sadly had no shows (much to both our personal dismay) and plenty of other shops with tourist garbage to buy. It was my kind of place. I even managed to get a stamp in the passport, which has become my new personal obsession whenever I hit some tourist site. Everyone that worked there did a glorious job in their re-enacting with the men wearing hooped cotton shirts and britches and the wimmin wearing big bustling dresses, untold amounts of make up and hairstyles that varied from chignons to sweeping bee-hives. These workers were friendly in some ways but obviously rather tired from years of hawking the same lines, the best example of this was the sweet seller who, after his demonstration of how to make the most awful tasting candy imaginable, literally policed the free samples, making absolutely sure nobody got two of these pocket sized sweeties. In the soap shop the woman appeared frustrated that Maria and I had 99 questions about the recreation of Sovereign Hill and the stories of the village tersely answering the questions with her lazy Victorian drawl on full display.
My camera rather disappointingly stopped working so there were no photos of Maria and I in action around Ballerat. I stopped trying towards the end of the day when Maria and I had a ride on a horse and buggy, followed by high tea and the finale- an attempt to sift for gold in the area where the owners of the museum pump $12,000 worth of gold daily in to the river for the Japanese tourists to go bananas over. Again, both Maria and I were thoroughly impressed, although I would have liked to try and find gold with my playlist pumping in the background (the ‘gold’ song from Pocahontas followed by Spandal Ballet’s classic would have been particularly apt)
Ballarat was thoroughly entertaining, as these pictures of random picture on holiday arguably show. I had a joyous time and recommend all and sundry to come along and start their dreaming of the gold they could own in the future. Potentially avoid the Gold museum next door to Sovereign Hill which really didn’t thrill. But do everything I’ve mentioned above and you’ll have a golden day out.