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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Golden City of Ballarat

It was time for another ITA organized weekend, so we packed up on Friday and headed north to Ballarat. 

Ballarat earned the name of The Golden City through the gold rushes of the mid 1800's. Thousands of miners lived in the city at the time, many of them quite prosperous despite the dangerous conditions.

Our activity for the day on Saturday was to visit Sovereign Hill, an open air museum depicting Ballarat's first ten years after the discovery of gold there in 1851. 

I love this shot, but they seem a bit happy to be from the 1850s!
There were lots of things to check out including a bakery, the undertakers, the post office, the candlemakers, and of course a little bowling. But only if you bowl with two hands!

There were tons of these old signs around the town. Advertising was definitely more wordy back in the day!

And what would a gold rush town be without a little gold panning. Every year Sovereign Hill puts $45,000 worth of gold flecks into this river for people to pan out! We saw lots of people with jars that they've been bringing back for years to keep filling with what ever gold they can find. 

The kids gave it their best shot, but there was not gold to be had for them that day. 

On Sunday we headed out to the Ballarat Wildlife Park. It was a bit cold and windy so there weren't many people around which meant we got to get up close and personal with lots of the wildlife.

Seeing koalas and kangaroos never seem to get old for the kids. 

There were some new animals to see on this trip too, Emus, wombats and tasmanian devils.

And these naughty tortoises. One minute there were two tortoises minding their own business, and then the next this is what we see. What you can't hear are the naughty tortoise mating sounds that he's making!

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