The Big Lap 2015 – Ballarat

It was quite cool in Shepparton this morning (a minimum of 2 degrees) so we had the heater going until we warmed up and had breakfast. We were on the road around nine and headed toward Bendigo on the midland highway; smoko was taken at the small centre of Goornong (http://goornongcommunity.blogspot.com.au/) then we pressed on through Huntly and Epsom to Bendigo. Once we reached Bendigo we bypassed the city centre, getting a little lost along the way, and headed onward toward Castlemaine, then on through Daylesford where there were lots of people attending the markets being staged in the town.

The Bitch in the Box (the Navman) was guiding us and took us on a magical mystery tour leading us unexpectedly through the village of Dean (where we stopped for lunch near the now closed hotel) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean,_Victoria) rather than through the larger centre of Creswick. Eventually we reached Ballarat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballarat) and made our way to the Eureka Stockade Holiday Park (http://www.eurekaholidaypark.com.au/) where we had decided to stay. The park is adjacent to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (http://made.org/) which we will visit during our stay.

Welcome to Sovereign Hill

Welcome to Sovereign Hill

Monday morning saw another fine and clear day so we took the opportunity to visit Sovereign Hill (http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/) a major tourist attraction located in Ballarat. “Sovereign Hill is a not-for-profit, community-based cultural tourism organisation administered by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association.”  The website indicates Sovereign Hill is a living museum with working exhibits brought to life by costumed characters and over 40 horses. Set on 25 acres of an original mining site, Sovereign Hill is a goldfields town with shops, hotels, a theatre, schools, factories, a gold diggings and underground mines to explore.”

Inside the entry to Sovereign Hill

Inside the entry to Sovereign Hill

Listening to a tale of early days on the diggings

Listening to a tale of early days on the diggings

Recreation of a building on the Goldfields

Recreation of a building on the Goldfields

Replica of gold fields butcher shop

Replica of gold fields butcher shop

Garden in the Chinese Camp

Garden in the Chinese Camp

Chinese Temple

Chinese Temple

Part of the structure of the Red Hill Mine

Part of the structure of the Red Hill Mine

Part of the structure of the Red Hill Mine

Part of the structure of the Red Hill Mine

Tower structure at the Gold Mine

Tower structure at the Gold Mine

View of Sovereign Hill structures from the tower

View of Sovereign Hill structures from the tower

There were many buildings and displays to visit during our few hours on the site and we enjoyed the day visiting this historic site and taking many photos as mementos of our visit. We had lunch on site at Sovereign Hill then walked across the road to view the Gold Museum (http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/gold-museum-ballarat/) which is also part of the Sovereign Hill complex.

Saddlery Shop

Saddlery Shop

Lots of products produced onsite can be purchased in this shop

Lots of products produced onsite can be purchased in this shop

Booking Office

Booking Office

Building at Sovereign Hill

Building at Sovereign Hill

Meals are available within

Meals are available within

Sovereign Hill street view

Sovereign Hill street view

This bloke with the camera seems to pop up all the time

This bloke with the camera seems to pop up all the time

Old church at Sovereign Hill

Old church at Sovereign Hill

Interior of old church

Interior of old church

Coach and four at Sovereign Hill

Coach and four at Sovereign Hill

Photographers wagon

Photographers wagon

Flags flying outside the Gold Museum

Flags flying outside the Gold Museum

Statue of Sir Henry Bolte outside the Gold Museum

Statue of Sir Henry Bolte outside the Gold Museum

What Sir Henry Bolte liked preserved near his statue at the Gold Museum

What Sir Henry Bolte liked preserved near his statue at the Gold Museum

Statue of a miner traveling to the gold fields inside the Gold Museum

Statue of a miner traveling to the gold fields inside the Gold Museum

Lovely dresses on display inside the Gold Museum

Lovely dresses on display inside the Gold Museum

After visiting Sovereign Hill, we took a drive out to Buninyong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buninyong) and drove through the town returning to Ballarat via the Midland Highway, seeing a little more of the City along the way.

The rain on the roof of the caravan first woke us in the early hours of Tuesday morning and when we finally arose it was to a wet and miserable morning in Ballarat. Any thoughts of visiting the Botanic Gardens and Lake Wendouree were quickly dispelled by the weather and we chose instead to check out the retail area of the CBD first visiting a rather wet Bridge Mall (http://www.bridgemall.com.au/).

A wet Bridge Mall at Ballarat

A wet Bridge Mall at Ballarat

Sturt Street Ballarat - wet and cold

Sturt Street Ballarat – wet and cold

A foggy and damp Ballarat

A foggy and damp Ballarat

One of several Sugg Lamps in the CBD of Ballarat

One of several Sugg Lamps in the CBD of Ballarat

We then looked at the Central Square Shopping Centre (http://www.centralsquareshopping.com.au/)

Central Square Shopping Centre Ballarat

Central Square Shopping Centre Ballarat

and took a walk along Sturt Street in the City as the rain had abated. It was still cold (11degrees maximum) and there was a sneaky breeze adding to the discomfort level. There are many statues and memorials along Sturt Street which make for an interesting walk; couple this with the many stately buildings in the city and the charm of the place is quickly revealed.

St Andrews Uniting Church in Ballarat

St Andrews Uniting Church in Ballarat

Statue of Hon Peter Lalor in Ballarat

Statue of Hon Peter Lalor in Ballarat

Statue of Albert Coates

Statue of Albert Coates

“An outstanding surgeon, and a soldier in two world wars. Albert Coates became a prisoner of war and was an inspirational hero to those he cared for on the notorious Burma–Thailand Railway.” (https://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/fiftyaustralians/9.asp).

Burns Statue in Sturt Street Ballarat

Burns Statue in Sturt Street Ballarat

Cenotaph in Ballarat

Cenotaph in Ballarat

Burke & Wills Fountain in Sturt Street Ballarat

Burke & Wills Fountain in Sturt Street Ballarat

Fine Art Gallery in Ballarat

Fine Art Gallery in Ballarat

Mining Exchange Building in Ballarat

Mining Exchange Building in Ballarat

To the west of the CBD the Arch of Victory spans Remembrance Drive (https://bih.federation.edu.au/index.php/Ballarat_Arch_of_Victory); this structure marks the commencement of the Avenue of Honour (http://www.swvic.org/ballarat_avenue_of_honour.htm) a road extending some 14 miles (23 kilometres) lined with some 3700 trees in remembrance of soldiers from Ballarat who gave service in the First World War. Both the Arch and the Avenue have undergone renovation in recent times and an article detailing the reopening of the Arch is attached (http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/11/06/3357413.htm).

The Arch of Victory in Ballarat

The Arch of Victory in Ballarat

Plaque at the base of the Arch of Victory commemorating the planting of trees in the Avenue of Honour

Plaque at the base of the Arch of Victory commemorating the planting of trees in the Avenue of Honour

The number represents the number of trees currently in the Avenue of Honour - the poppies are hand knitted

The number represents the number of trees currently in the Avenue of Honour – the poppies are hand knitted

The Roll of Honour adjacent to the Arch of Victory

After viewing the Arch it was back to town for a delicious lunch at the local Hogs Breath Café; then a little more shopping before we visited MADE – the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (http://made.org/). The museum not only tells the story of the Eureka Stockade and one of its central figures – Peter Lalor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Lalor) but also of the other historic struggles that have shaped democracy as we know it in Australia. The remains of the original Flag of the Southern Cross under which the miners rallied at Eureka, is also currently on display at MADE.

Entrance to MADE in Ballarat

Entrance to MADE in Ballarat

Wall hanging depicting the Eureka Stockade battle in Ballarat

Wall hanging depicting the Eureka Stockade battle in Ballarat

How would you define democracy?

How would you define democracy?

Aprons and Tea Towels on sale at MADE

Aprons and Tea Towels on sale at MADE

Carved wooden horse at Stockade play area at MADE

Carved wooden horse at Stockade play area at MADE

One of the very interesting external monuments at MADE is the memorial to the Pikeman’s Dog (https://eurekaballarat.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/the-pikemans-dog-memorial-relaunched-at-eureka-park/). The dog was honored for the bravery and loyalty it exhibited during the battle of the Eureka Stockade.

Memorial to the Pikeman's Dog at MADE

Memorial to the Pikeman’s Dog at MADE

The Pikeman's Dog Memorial at MADE

The Pikeman’s Dog Memorial at MADE

Another memorial near the museum is the memorial erected in 1923 to those who fought and fell during the battle of the Eureka Stockade.

Memorial to Eureka Stockade at Ballarat

Memorial to Eureka Stockade at Ballarat

Detail of those who fell at the Eureka Stockade

Detail of those who fell at the Eureka Stockade

Wednesday morning was bleak and dreary but with brief flashes of sunlight from time to time. We set out to take a look at the Botanic Gardens and Lake Wendouree (http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/lakes/lake-wendouree.aspx). Our arrival at the lake saw us on the spot where the Olympic Rings are erected (the lake was used as a venue for Canoeing and Rowing for the 1956 Olympics). There is a rowing course at this site which is in regular use, and a walking track and running course designed by Olympian Steve Moneghetti seems popular with the locals.

Lake Wendouree Olympic Precinct

Lake Wendouree Olympic Precinct

Olympic Rings at Lake Wendouree commemorating the use of the site at the 1956 Olympics.

Olympic Rings at Lake Wendouree commemorating the use of the site at the 1956 Olympics.

View across Lake Wendouree

View across Lake Wendouree

Not far along from this point is the Ballarat Botanic Gardens (http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/gardens/ballarat-botanical-gardens.aspx) so we took a stroll along the paths under the very large trees and through the various gardens on the site.

Huge trees display their splendor in the gardens at Ballarat

Huge trees display their splendor in the gardens at Ballarat

Huge tree overlooks the sensory garden in the Botanic Gardens at Ballarat

Huge tree overlooks the sensory garden in the Botanic Gardens at Ballarat

There are also many statues in the gardens some dating back to the early 1800s and some as recent as the bust of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd in Prime Ministers Row which contains a bust of every prime minister since federation with the exclusion of the current PM Tony Abbott.

There are many statues in the Botanic Gardens at Ballarat

There are many statues in the Botanic Gardens at Ballarat

Escape from Pompeii Statue at Ballarat

Escape from Pompeii Statue at Ballarat

Lions guard one of the gates to the Botanic Gardens

Lions guard one of the gates to the Botanic Gardens

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard

A garden of succulents at Ballarat

A garden of succulents at Ballarat

Lovely flowers at Ballarat

Lovely flowers at Ballarat

A large glasshouse is located in the gardens and it was filled with lovely potted blooms; we wandered through the structure looking at these lovely flowers.

Inside the glass house at Ballarat

Inside the glass house at Ballarat

Lovely flowers at Ballarat

Lovely flowers at Ballarat

Lovely flowers at Ballarat

Lovely flowers at Ballarat

Next we visited the Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage (http://www.artsatlas.com.au/adam-lindsay-gordon-cottage/) located in the gardens. The cottage is filled with craft items for sale, the proceeds of which assists in the upkeep of the cottage.

Adam Lindsay Gordon bust outside the Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage in the Botanic Gardens

Adam Lindsay Gordon bust outside the Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage in the Botanic Gardens

A drive around the perimeter of Lake Wendouree was next on the agenda; in fairer weather we would have walked the track as it is only six kilometres in length. The inclement weather must be of little concern to local residents as there were many walking along the whole time we were there.

Pipers on Lake Wendouree opposite the Botanic Gardens at Ballarat

Pipers on Lake Wendouree opposite the Botanic Gardens at Ballarat

There is another monument in Ballarat close to the Botanic Gardens and that is the Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial (http://www.powmemorialballarat.com.au/). “The Memorial symbolises that all Australian prisoners embarked to serve away from their homeland and acknowledges the hardship, deprivation, brutality, starvation and disease endured by Prisoners of War during their capture and the scars many continued to endure upon their repatriation to Australia.”

The Ex POW Memorial at Ballarat

The Ex POW Memorial at Ballarat

EX POW Memorial at Ballarat

EX POW Memorial at Ballarat

Ex POW Memorial at Ballarat

Ex POW Memorial at Ballarat

We inspected the memorial and the list of 36,000+ names recognised on the plain black stone of the memorial some adorned with Anzac poppies, and marveled at the appropriateness of the design and its simple dignified presence.

Names on the plaques at the Ex POW Memorial at Ballarat

Names on the plaques at the Ex POW Memorial at Ballarat

As light rain again started to fall we left the gardens precinct to return to the caravan park to prepare for our departure north to Bridgewater (north-west of Bendigo) tomorrow morning.

More later!

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