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.

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