Friday, February 10, 2012

A taste of The Gold Rush in Ballarat

We had a fabulous time in Ballarat, the highlight being the day we visited Sovereign Hill and stepped back in time to the Australian Gold Rush era of the 1850's.

We were the first visitors of the day to this 'living' museum and after Miss Fancy struck gold in the first few minutes of gold-panning, all the kids declared they wanted to stay the entire day. And so we did.

There was plenty to do.

We browsed the quaint stores on Main Street, including an 1850's David Jones.

We got our ears blasted when the Red Coats fired their Muskets.

We watched some traditional candle-making.

And candle-dipping.

We watched the confectioner make boiled lollies using traditional methods with a lolly press from the early1800's. 

On today's menu were Raspberry Drops, which he was making for a bunch of school kids arriving next week.

Above we witnessed molten gold being poured into a bullion bar - this one, $160,000.00 worth!!!!

We even engaged in a spot of old-time bowling - complete with wooden lanes, wooden bowling balls and wooden pins.

The Big kids took charge of the lanes up one end and the little boys were in charge of setting the pins up after they were knocked down.

But the main activity of the day was gold-panning and this is where we spent most of the day.

There was a brief demonstration by one of the helpful 'diggers'.

And then the kids were left to their own devices. 

Whilst they were busy searching for gold, I set myself up on the edge of the river with a latte (or 3 - this solo parenting business is darn exhausting!). 

A spec of Gold was found by Miss Fancy and then they were all gripped by Gold Fever

They took the activity very seriously indeed.

It may not look like much but the kids were super excited by their little containers of Gold that they found themselves.

There was much protest by the big kids when 5.30pm came around and the gates were about to close but the little boys were thoroughly exhausted. And so was I. 

Our visit to Sovereign Hill was declared the best day ever!

So off to Melbourne where we say good-bye to the "Mainland" as we board the Ferry bound for Tasmania to complete the final leg of The Big Adventure. I'm hoping it will be all smooth sailing (literally) as we cross Bass Strait.

Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. Oh Mel, I am giggling my head off. We went to Sovereign Hill on our road trip. I still have all the snaps on my camera to download - remarkably similar to yours, but not as good!

    We had such a top time - looks like you did too...the gold panning - how much fun was that? Did you go down the mine - the leaky one?! I had to pretend to be really cool...even though I was terrified!

  2. So much fun Mel!
    Definitely earned the 3 lattes staying the whole day!

  3. Great photos looks like everyone had a great time. Great memory of the gold mine the little bottles with gold flecks. Have a nice ferry ride. Here in New York we are expecting 1 to 3 inches of snow tomorrow.

  4. That looks fantastic!
    Love the pics.
    Enjoy these last parts of your amazing journey.

  5. You can do that here in Wales, pan for gold ... such fun!

  6. Four kids and a caravan... have I mentioned you rock?!
    I hope the crossing goes well, and being back in Tassie is a wonderful homecoming. Another exciting new start I think :-)

    ... and I think a day with the kidlets at Sovereign Hill does look like the best day ever!

  7. Hello Gorgeous! My, you are bringing memories of summer 1979 rushing back ☺. I'm so pleased to see your kids enjoy it as much as we did. Do they still have the old-fashioned photography booth where you get dressed up in vintage clothing? Ooh, I'm soooo excited you're heading over to the Island! J x

  8. As always, gorgeous pics Mel, so much history, fun and expression throughout those images. It sounds like the perfect place for the young ones. So good for them to see those things from yesteryear first hand :o) xo

  9. I am sure those 3 lattes were well deserved and how good that you could keep an eye on the kids at the same time. I went when I was about 17 with my family and we found gold too. I used to wonder if the guy handing out the gold pans used to add a pinch before handing the pans out but with so many visitors pehaps not.

  10. You are hero!
    Four kids, new town, caravan.
    Travel safe.

  11. This place looks great! I absolutely love the look on those little gold diggers' faces

  12. This place reminds me the movies i watched recently, Australia and There will be blood.