Saturday, 29 August 2009


St Kilda marina, and Melbourne CBD skyline in the background.

Friday, 28 August 2009

The eye

Anyone who's been in St Kilda or seen photos of this Melbourne suburb should/will instantly recognise the owner of this eye .. if you think you've met his Sydney cousin before, you might be right!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Hook turn

In the city centre of Melbourne, and at some intersections in the suburbs you might spot one of these signs. Drivers wanting to turn right must wait on the left until the road is clear of other cars .. and trams!

Monday, 24 August 2009


One of the most popular sports in Australia is Australian rules football (two teams of 18 (very fit) players run around after an funny shaped ball to try and score goals and suprise surprise whoever scores the most goals wins the game. That's for the basics.. if you want to find out more, you can click here). The game was first played in Victoria in the late 1850s, which would explain why the game is so popular over there and merchandise of differents kinds sell fairly well at the Queen Victoria Market where I took this photo. Strangely enough, none of the teams "represented" in this shot are based in Victoria! (From left to right: Port Adelaide, Sydney Swans, Fremantle Dockers (aka Freo), Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions, West Coast Eagles, a Perth-based team). Maybe they're sold out...

The rugby union/cricket tragic that I am would not be seen dead in one of those scarves but they make a good photo.. I think :)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Southern Cross Station

This is where my journey to Ballarat started and ended! Back to square one in Melbourne...

Saturday, 22 August 2009


We are in the Contemplation Space at the Eureka Centre. The wall bears the names of all the countries where the diggers came from. The majority of them were British and Irish, Chinese but also American, French, Italian, German, Polish and Hungarian and a few others representing 16 countries in total on the goldfields as well as in the battle.

Friday, 21 August 2009

The battlefield

We are in the gardens just outside the Eureka Centre. This is where the battle is said to have taken place lasting only 15 minutes, killing 30 diggers and injuring at least 60. On the troopers' side, 5 were killed and 20 wounded. On a plaque nearby you can read the following:

At this place in the early hours of Sunday 3 December 1854, there was a defining moment in Australia’s history. Without warning, a superior government force attacked a makeshift stockade built by a few hundred angry men to defend themselves from further armed hunts to enforce the unpopular licence tax to dig for gold.

Reproduction of the attack on the stockade at the Eureka Centre

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Bakery Hill

During November 1854 a number of large public meetings were held at Bakery Hill by diggers and supporters to protest against the actions of the administration and to demand reforms, including the removal of the Gold Licence. The authorities refused to meet these demands worsening the already tense situation and increasing the diggers' determination to fight for their cause.

On 30th november 1854, the Southern Cross flag was raised for the first time and the protesters, under the leadership of Peter Lalor an Irishman, swore allegiance to this flag (see Tuesday's post) before proceeding to the Eureka lead and construct the stockade.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Eureka Hotel

During 1853 and 1854 the tensions are rising around the goldfields of Ballarat. The miners are becoming increasingly frustrated at the harsh treatment they receive from the local authorities, especially at the high fees they must pay for the mining licences introduced in 1851. Many of those diggers live in poverty thus unable to pay those fees and get hassled by the authorities. No licence meant no digging and no chance to strike gold.

One of the events that will anger even more the diggers is the murder of a young Scottish digger, James Scobie, in a brawl outside the Eureka Hotel (Photo: reproduction of the facade at the Eureka Centre) in October 1854, and the inability of the authorities to sentence the culprit as quickly as the community would have liked. On 17 October 1854 the Eureka Hotel was burnt down, its owner James Bentley being the main suspect in Scobie's murder later to be found guilty of manslaughter.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The oath

Over the next few days I will touch upon one of the most significant events in Australian history called the Eureka Stockade, and it all hapened in Ballarat. In the meantime, I will let you ponder these words:

We swear by the Southern Cross
To stand truly by each other
And defend our rights and liberties

Peter Lalor, 1854

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Burke & Wills Fountain

This fountain completed in 1867 and located on Sturt St was named after the explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills (who grew up in Ballarat). In 1860-61, they led an expedition of 18 men with the purpose of crossing Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the North (2,800 kms). Unfortunately the return journey ended in tragedy and only one member of the expedition, John King, returned to Melbourne alive.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The Arch of Victory

Sturt St the main street in Ballarat is said to resemble the Parisian Champs Elysees It's a fair comment and I guess the Arch of Victory (opened in 1920 by the Prince of Wales) has something to do with that.

The inscription "Avenue of Honour" at the top refers to the 15k road lined with around 4,000 trees, at the foot of which you will find a bronze plaque dedicated to a soldier from the Ballarat region who enlisted during World War I.

For more information on the history of the Avenue and also about the Arch, click here.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Time Lane

Mural painted by the public art students of the University of Ballarat.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Pointing in the right direction

I'm a sucker for those signs! I snapped this one at the Black Hill lookout where you have an amazing view of the city. You might have noticed that the name of the city is spelt Ballaarat. Confusing huh? Here is the answer :

One of the most often asked question is "Do you spell Ballarat with four a's or three a's? It is generally accepted that the origin of the name came from two aboriginal words signifying a camping or resting place - "Balla" meaning elbow or reclining on the elbow and "Arat" meaning place.

The first white settler (1837), Scotsman Archibald Yuille, called his property "Ballarat". We cannot know how a Scotsman pronounced an aboriginal word, but in 1851 another Scot arrived to officially survey the area and he recorded the towns name as Ballaarat. When the first local paper arrived in 1854, three years later, it was called the "Ballarat Times" (perhaps the typesetter ran out of "a's").

Official government documents used the double "a" spelling and successive local councils varied the number of "a's" according to the prevailing fashion of the time,

Prior to amalgamation of the councils in 1994, the municipality of the City of Ballaarat was the official spelling for the corporation that was the Council, though the official spelling for place name purposes of the area (then comprised of several municipalities) was Ballarat.

When the new single Ballarat City Council was gazetted in 1994 the single "a" version was adopted for the corporation, to align it to the area's place-name,

Therefore both spellings were legitimate at different times in the city's history and can still be seen on buildings and in historical literature.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Craig's Hotel

From the website:

As one of the first Grand Hotels in the colony, Craig’s Royal Hotel was born from the wealth of the Australian Gold Rush Era. Established in 1853, Craig’s soon set the standards for unparalleled hospitality and service. Hosting poets, princes and prime ministers over its 155 year history, the hotel is a true icon of the Victorian period.

Now, after nearly 6 years extensive restoration, the magnificent accommodation, dining, meeting and banquet facilities are re-establishing Craig’s as the finest boutique heritage hotel in Australia. Located on historic Lydiard Street in the heart of Ballarat, this Victorian landmark invites you to experience the legend that is Craig’s alone.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Don't know what to drink?

Ask your favourite drinking consultant!
(Spotted on Sturt St)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Make a wish

Wishing wells have a magnetic effect on me.. I can never walk past without tossing a coin and I want to believe that some of those wishes did come true.. after all I ended up staying in Australia, as per my wish, when I nearly didn't and not by my own will! I was going to reveal my wish when I threw a coin in this well at the botanic gardens.. but you're not supposed to so I'll keep it secret!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Her Majesty

The lady does not need any introduction...
just behind her the Town Hall clock.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Mining Exchange Building

This building completed in the late 1880s is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture in Ballarat. I wasn't curious enough to go inside but I read that the hall is lined with forty small offices where sharebrokers, and mining agents sold shares in goldmines and it played an important role in the development of Melbourne's stock exchange.

Friday, 7 August 2009


In yesterday's post I mentioned Lake Wendouree, the meeting point of boating enthusiasts. The problem is, after a few years of drought there's not much boating you can do. At least there is enough water for the swans to enjoy some peace and quiet on the water!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Olympic glory

Lake Wendouree Olympic Precinct

Not every country town can boast a bit of Olympic glory, Ballarat does! Thanks to Lake Wendouree which hosted the rowing, kayaking and canoeing events for the 1956 Summer Olympics. Ballarat's other sporting claim to fame is Steve Moneghetti, a long distance runner who was at the peak of his career in the 90s and who gave his name to the 6-k track around the lake.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Unusual architecture

The Robert Clark Centre (named after the the co-founder and proprietor of The Courier, the local newspaper) is your one stop shop in the gardens: you can buy everything from plants to postcards, have coffee and check out the exhibition on the history of the gardens and of the Ballarat Begonia Festival.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


From one goldmining town to another.. I'm back from an awesome (long) weekend in Victoria, spending most of my time in and Ballarat where gold was found in the early 1850s. The mines have closed long ago but gold is still everywhere in Ballarat: you can pan for gold (mainly for fun) here or on Sturt Street!

Monday, 3 August 2009

My favourite initials

You might know that I have a fascination for license plates and this one caught my eye while I was in Arrowtown a cute village, not too far from Queenstown, more specifically a former gold mining town, hence the line "Born of Gold".

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Hide and seek

Nice try Joey, but I can still see your paws!!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

By the river

Bremer River, Ipswich (Queensland)