Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ballarat's Sovereign Hill

Ballarat is known for it's gold - its why the town exists, its what made it wealthy and caused miners to pour in during the mid 19th Century.

Sovereign Hill is a reconstruction of what it must have been like, complete with mine you can go down, actors in costume, main street with shops and a theatre, horse drawn carriages etc.

Normally I find it hard to get into these sort of tourist attractions but this had two strengths. Firstly a lot of what was on display was authentic as the site really had been a gold mine, and you could go down into one of the chambers that had been cleared out by independent miners.

Then there was the spirit of the actors, avoiding cheesiness by employing that Aussie knowning irony: "yes this is a bit fake but who care lets have some fun."

Having said that the shop windows used large modern plates of glass and the mine had skirting board level down-lights that were clearly chosen for health and safety reasons than authenticity.

But despite that enjoyed spending a couple of hours wandering around before returning to the car and driving out into the modern world.

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