Ballarat Tourist Attractions
Ballarat (pop. 64,000) is famed as the scene of the Eureka rising, the only 'civil war' in Australia's history, when gold miners refused to pay government license fees and barricaded themselves into the Eureka Stockade. The rebellion was repressed by the army on December 3rd 1854, leaving 27 dead and many wounded. The rich finds of gold increased the population of the town to 40,000. Over 20 million ounces of gold were recovered during the gold boom, which lasted 20 years.Ballarat's principal tourist attraction is Sovereign Hill. Here, on a 26ha site, is a reconstruction of a gold-mining town centered on a real gold mine, with a gold museum, shops, a hotel, a theater, a Chinese temple and figures in contemporary costume re-creating the life of the town in the 1860s.In Ballarat's main street (Sturt Street) are numbers of handsome and substantial houses dating from the 1880s. The mixture of architectural styles - neo-Romanesque, neo-Gothic, neo-Renaissance - is characteristic of the Australian gold-mining towns. The prosperity of the town in its heyday is shown by such fine buildings as the post office, the railroad station, Montrose Cottage (the first stone house built in the goldfields), Craig's Royal Hotel and the Town Hall.The Eureka Museum has a collection of relics of gold-mining days. Also of interest are the Doll Museum, the Old Curiosity Shop, the Old Ballarat Pottery and the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.The Botanic Gardens (area 40ha) are famed for their begonias, rhododendrons and azaleas. In a colonnaded gallery are busts of Australian prime ministers. Also in the gardens is a house (ca 1860) which was occupied by the poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. Beside the park is Lake Wendouree, an artificial lake on which the rowing events in the 1956 Olympics were staged. Ballarat Wildlife Park in Ballarat East concentrates on Australian fauna such as wombats, koala and Tasmanian devils.On the west side of the town, on the road to Ararat, are the 22km long Avenue of Honor, lined by 3900 trees, and the Arch of Victory, honoring those who fought in the first world war.
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