About Ballarat


Soldiers Hill is a suburb of Ballarat, a short 1.15hour freeway drive from the heart of Melbourne. Ballarat is also just over an hour from Tullamarine, the International Airport and seaside resorts.

“Ballarat is Victoria’s largest inland city with leafy boulevards lined with heritage buildings, and world-class attractions. Its contemporary heart is alive with restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique hotels.

Founded on innovation, determination and hard work, Ballarat is a captivating place where vivid history and mythology coalesce into the very essence of Australianism.”

The name Ballarat comes from ‘Balla-Arat,’ two Aboriginal words of the Wathaurong people. Balla means resting (literally, reclining on the elbow) and Arat means place. It was used in reference to favourite camping areas around Lake Wendouree, which was once a wetland.”

Public transport makes travel to Melbourne and other parts of the state easy and inexpensive as Government run trains arrive to and from Melbourne every hour. The cost is less than $20 return.

Several Travel Agents make arranging holidays a pleasant task.

Ballarat has a powerful legacy of artistic and cultural endeavour.

The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery is the first regional art gallery established in Australia and has a wonderful permanent collection as well as participating in travelling gallery displays.

Her Majesty’s Theatre enjoys seasonal activities, from well known ballet productions, to the Bell Shakespeare Company and local productions of musical comedy. As well many of the famous South St competition sections are performed in its world famous auditorium. There are many local ballet schools.

Sovereign Hill is a working historical model. It is set up as a pioneer village where normal people go about their daily living replicating the eighteen eighties. Part of the Sovereign Hill complex is given over to the Gold Museum where many gold pieces are stored including a replica of the famous Welcome Nugget which is 89kgs in weight and 99 % of pure gold. The facility is open 364 days in the year. The Eureka Stockade which is near by recognizes the Eureka Rebellion, the only war fought on Australian soil when miners fought for their rights against government taxes.

Lake Wendouree, the venue for the rowing and canoeing for the 1956 Olympic Games, and the Botanical Gardens are another world standard tourist attraction. The gardens are famous for their begonias which give the name to the festival held in February - March of each year.

Built on the shores of Lake Wendouree is the Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial. This provides a monument which remembers all Australian ex-prisoners of war for their descendants, visitors and future generations and provides a tangible, sensitively-interpreted site where they can pay homage.

The Avenue of Honour and the Arch of Victory celebrate the lives of the First World War soldiers.

In a city of Ballarat’s size, approximately 90,000 inhabitants, education is an important feature. The state systems range from state primary schools through several secondary schools to a University.

The private system is equally well provided for – the Anglican Grammar school has pupils from kindergarten to pre university standard, so do the Uniting Church and the Catholic systems provide the same facilities with Aquinas University as part of the Catholic system.

Ballarat is proud of its sporting abilities. Facilities are provided for all the main sport. Bowls, cricket, football - Australian Rules, soccer and rugby – tennis, swimming and even some of the lesser known sport such as gymnastics.

An easy drive from the town is the Ballarat Turf Club, where as well as horse racing many entertainments are held.

Fine dining is a feature of Ballarat. Eating houses range from ‘take aways’ such as the well known firms through the pizza houses to the top of the range restaurants.

There are two hospital systems. The public system works with the St John of God hospital in providing health care for all. Facilities range from primary care to specialist care with many specialists in the town. Specialist areas include oncology and cardiac facilities which enable people to be cared for in Ballarat without travelling to Melbourne for treatment.

Ballarat is a wonderful town in which to live and to bring up children. Older members are not forgotten and there are suitable facilities for all.

For further information on Ballarat visit www.ballarat.vic.gov.au