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Ballarat

 

What can I say about Ballarat? It is the place where I grew up. As the twig is bent . . . 

I thought all large country towns had main streets with gardens and statues in the middle. I thought all large towns had trams. I thought that all kids in Australia could hop on a bike and as long as they were back before sunset nobody would be too worried. I thought that the hills known as Warrenheip and Buninyong were mountains because they were called Mount Warrenheip and Mount Buninyong  (even though they were not as challenging as Mount Hollard-Smith - but you will need to ask a local about that). I thought all towns had large botanical gardens with statuaries. I thought all gardens had bloated roses known as begonias (see or description of the Begonia Festival at The White Hat Guide to Begonias). I thought that when anyone's grandfather got sick they would go to the cemetery to consult the 'chinaman'.  I thought that all lakes had reeds and black swans. I thought all large towns had a School of Mines. I thought that Melbourne was big and imposing and where neighbouring teenage girls went for mysterious operations and Melbourne started at the Sunshine railway gates.

But then I went to university in Melbourne, and that is where the rot set in . . . 

This area contains Beaufort, Creswick, Linton, Casterton and Buninyong. An alternative spelling of Ballarat was Ballaarat which still appears in many older documents, and in fact the lyrics of the city song proclaim:

"B A double L double A R AT,
It spells Ballaarat and it's home sweet home to me.

Visitors and locals can also take advantage of the free wifi in Ballarat.

Some places of interest in the Ballarat region:

Ballarat Fine Art Gallery
Australia's oldest regional gallery. and home of  the original Eureka Flag. A particularly impressive collection of Heidelberg School and Colonial paintings.

Purchase a Smartvisit Card to obtain free entry to this attraction.


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Learmonth and District Historical Society
Visit the newly restored and conserved Former Ballarat Shire Offices, Learmonth.


Some markets in the Ballarat region:

Ballarat Trash & Trivia Market

Over 400 stalls selling secondhand goods, crafts,etc.

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Ballarat Antique Market
This large antique market with a wide range of items is located on two floors of an old school building and also contains a museum with a small entry charge.It is morein the nature of a very large antique store and does not appear to have the space to cater for casual stallholders. When White Hat last visited (in April 2008) there was also a specialist coins area.

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Ballarat Bridge Mall Farmers Market
Situated in the Ballarat's city shopping strip between Grenville Street and Peel Street, White Hat suggests that this farmers' market is well worth a visit. You can talk to local growers and producers and there are live cooking demonstrations as well as entertainment for the kids.

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Ballarat Computer Swap Meet
A large number of stalls selling new and second hand computer equipment and related goods. A small entry fee applies. (Note - the dates and venue of this event can vary. Click here to confirm the current information on this event.

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Ballarat Fine Art Gallery Arts Market
With original fine arts, acoustic musicians and artists at work.

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Ballarat Lakeside Farmers Market
A true Farmers Market. Situated on beautiful Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Lakeside Market dishes up some of Victoria's freshest produce. While enjoying the live music you can sample & buy from up to 50 specialist boutique stalls featuring fresh fruit, herbs & vegetables, free range poultry and meat, deli style foods, regional wine, coffee, sausage sizzle and much much more. The Lake has never tasted so good.

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Beaufort Market
Craft and Produce Market. 1st Saturday of the month, 9:00am - 1:00pm in Memorial Park, Western Highway, Beaufort. Market operates from September to April. Local Gourmet food & produce, Jewellery & fashion, Art & craft, Sculpture, Plants, grain & feed, coffee & cakes, musical instruments, some secondhand & antiques, bricabrac and more

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Buninyong Farmers Market
Fresh local produce direct from the producer together with live music and entertainment.

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Caledonian Art, Craft & Produce Market
Ballarat's art, craft & produce market, held in the grounds of Caledonian Primary School, Brown Hill. From 9am-1pm. Quality hand made, home grown products. Entry is Free. Special twilight Market - Friday 11 November 2011.

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Computer Swap Meet
Featuring local and Victorian traders.

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Golden Plains Farmers' Market - Smythesdale
A farmers' market featuring seasonal local produce, live music, flowers and gourmet products.


What's on and things to do in the Ballarat region:

Clunes Booktown Festival
Indulge in a weekend of book browsing amid the historic streetscape of Clunes - Australia's first International Booktown. Thousands of rare second-hand new, small press publications and collectable books on sale. Talks from visiting writers including Hazel Edwards, Tim Fisher, Geoffrey Blainey, Peter Goldsworthy, Alice Pung, Anna Goldsworthy, Gina Perry, Nicholas Jose and Scottish poet Ryan Van Winkle. Workshops on reviewing, with Peter Rose, writing poetry, writing science and publishing. Meet the publisher sessions. Begin your own book collection workshops, book road show evaluations, street theatre, the Australia Fair Grand Concert Street Organ, wine, food, live music, silent movie show on Saturday night with piano accompaniment. A special Children's Booktown creates the world of Narnia with visiting writers Hazel Edwards and John Nicholson. A unique opportunity to see rare books from the State Library collection - a 15th century illuminated manuscript, a book printed by William Caxton the first English printer and dated 1490, The Voyage of Governor Phillips, 1798 and an artists book with a very special connection to Clunes.Full details at Clunes Booktown Festival


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Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally
This years theme is Transport. All the usual attractions: steam and oil engines, operational 90 ton steam shovel, steam fired powerhouse, blacksmith, Furphy tank rebarrelling, tractors, motorcycles, cars and trucks. Grand parade 2:15pm daily. Wood bending, radio controlled model boats, steam ploughing, chaff cutting, threshing and straw baling, regular dragline, farm machinery & dairy demo's. Attractions for ladies and children. Mothers' facilities, stalls, crafts and food available. Free non powered camping for exhibitors.

Lake Goldsmith is unique on the Australian Rally scene in that it has permanent sheds owned by club members which house their magnificent toys. There is a large collection of

  • restored steam engines
  • traction engines
  • steam rollers
  • internal combustion engines
  • farm tractors
  • a restored farm cottage displaying old wares.

See the working 90 tonne steam shovel and working steam powered 'power' generating display. Coach parties welcome. Parking for Coaches onsite Food and refreshments available all weekend Grand parade 2:15pm daily on our all weather arena Australia’s largest, (90 tons) fully operational steam shovel Vintage cars and Motorcycles A great family outing just kilometres from Ballarat Historic Machinery Camping facilities Large display of oil engines and tractors Site opens at 10 am Pioneer cottage and crafts . Full details at Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally



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Ballarat Antique Fair
The Ballarat Antique Fair claims to be the largest and longest running fair in Australia and White Hat has no reason to doubt them.


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Ballarat International Foto Biennale

With photographs from across Australia and around the world together with a host of exhibitions and events the Ballarat Foto Biennale is the largest photography event in the Southern Hemisphere. Full information at Ballarat Foto Biennale





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You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.