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Active Retirees : Active Retirees June-July 2012
1000 miners had arrived, by 1853, some 20,000 people of all nationalities had moved in and, by the 1860s the population had soared to 64,000. The relatively small town had a bewildering 300 mining companies, 56 churches, three town halls, 477 hotels and 11 banks. The gold find was astronomical; in the first six years more than 77,700kg were sent under police escort to the Melbourne Treasury (experts say a similar amount bypassed the authorities and was illegally sold) and, by the time the last mine closed in 1918, the total yield had exceeded 640,000kg, worth about $10 billion. It wasn’t all rich pickings though. Three years after gold was discovered, disgruntled miners, fed up with expensive licences and brutal treatment, staged a protest that escalated into an armed civil uprising; 22 diggers and six soldiers and police were killed in a short-lived battle, now considered a defining moment in Australia’s history. Today’s town While a visit to Ballarat certainly provides a history lesson in gold and Eureka, the town itself is anything but old and stuffy. Today’s Ballarat fuses its historic precincts with contemporary restaurants, trendy bars and cafes, and showcases its past through self-guided walking tours, a recreated goldfield town, an exciting sound and light show, and impressive artworks displayed both indoors and out. 24 | www.probussouthpacific.org travel doMeStic BooM BooM One of the legacies of Ballarat’s boom-time wealth is the opulent Botanic Gardens, which contains busts of the 26 former prime ministers of Australia and is set to be graced by number 27 – Julia Gillard’s. Prime Minister Gillard’s bust is currently the subject of scrutiny by political cartoonist Peter Nicholson. The Walkley Award-winning artist and sculptor has been commissioned to create a bronze sculpture of Gillard, which will take its place on Prime Ministers Avenue. Prime Ministers Avenue is one of the many fascinating precincts within the 40-hectare gardens, which stretch along the shores of Lake Wendouree. It was established in 1940 when local art-lover and former Member of Parliament Richard Crouch donated the busts of Australia’s first six prime ministers and established a trust to fund the creation and placement of future PMs’ busts. The first six were fashioned by Wallace Anderson, a Victorian artist known for his sculpture of Simpson and his donkey in the grounds of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. Over the years some of the busts have been criticised; the original Fraser rendering was later recast, while Keating was unhappy with his bust’s weak chin and pointy nose. Peter Nicholson also sculpted Fraser, Hawke, Keating, Howard and Rudd and is expected to complete Gillard later this year. $ Construction on Ballarat's heritage-listed railway station began in 1862. Three years after gold was discovered, disgruntled miners, fed up with expensive licences and brutal treatment, staged a protest that escalated into an armed civil uprising. TourismVictoria
Active Retirees April-May 2012
Active Retirees Aug-Sept 2012