Our 1st place to visit was the Botanical Gardens as I had been reliably told by a friend that there was a Begonia flower display in their main hot house, so we made a bee line for there.
At the front of the display was this massive Leggo Begonia flower. It was very impressive.
Too many gorgeous Begonias to not leave any out.....
I didn't get a very good photo of the tram that takes tourists around.
The last time we visited Sovereign Hill was in 1980. Back then the buildings looked much the same as they are in 2016. Half way through the morning our caravan park called to offer us an extension for the w/e if we wanted it as someone had cancelled, for which we took up the offer.
So we took our time & explored the place at a leisurely pace.
Sovereign Hill tells the story of Ballarat's first decade following the discovery of gold in 1851.
The buildings have been created to look as they did back in the gold rush years.
Today it seems quite commercialised with plenty of things to spend your $$ on with the sale of lollies, chocolates, anything candles, brass trays & cooking pans, saddlery, belts & hats, grocery with local jams, honey & cordials, drapery items & the list goes on.
This is the bottom of Main Street where your journey begins.
The photographic room where you can dress up in costumes from the 1850's
Engineering played an important part in getting the gold up to the surface.
Panning for gold
Gold Smelting works - melting & pouring the liquid gold to make a gold ingot.
It's a small but heavy bar worth $150,000
Perhaps a little old....but your get the idea of how much gold is worth. Today's value is slightly higher at $1,750 per ounce. ( 1 ounce = 30gram)
Fire Station - I doubt that a large fire could be contained with this small volume of water these carriages carried.
Every town had to have 1 of these too.....
We watched small brass plates being fashioned into little trays in this building.
There were a few houses like this 1 for the wealthier gold miners....
It's rather cramped inside with meagre possessions
More of Main Street.
We watched the Redcoat Soldiers strut their stuff at lunch time.
I had an obligatory photo shoot with a handsome guy where I came up to his shoulders only :-0
As Ballarat's population boomed, so too did the need to use reinforcements.
With miners out numbering the police force, the task to serve & protect fell on the British Soldiers, the Redcoats.
Our ticket into Sovereign Hill included an entry to the gold Museum across the road where we took a visit the next morning.
In here there are several walls full of stories, paintings, photos & much memorabilia commemorating the gold rush days of the 1800's
There were at least 2 big nuggets found in the 1800's like this 1
This fellow was an artist & painted the scenes of the gold fields in Ballarat & Bendigo, a sample of them are below.
I think the top figure might be wrong - $1,700 per ounce (2016)
I walked around town to take a few photos of the beautifully refurbished buildings from the 1800's.
Ballarat was hosting the Vintage Car club collection the Easter long w/e, so went along to have a look.
I rather like this collection of trucks which aren't miniature size.
I didn't write down the details of the following items of transport......but they're old.......& lovingly restored by their owners.
I can't imagine travelling around Australia in this little thing.
The Eureka Stockade story of 1854 & all workers rights following this time to present time is depicted in a museum.
This story & most other revolutions against authority & the fight for workers rights can be found in more detail in the Museum of Australian Democracy At Eureka (M.A.D.E.)
The Eureka Rebellion was a rebellion of gold miners of Ballarat who revolted against the colonial authority of the United Kingdom.
The rebellion lasted just 30mins & resulted in the deaths of at least 27 people, mostly the rebels.
The event was the result of miners rebelling against the the expense of a miner's licence, taxation via the licence, the actions of the strict government, the police & military.
The building is on the site of the Eureka Stockade in 1854 - the birthplace of Australian Democracy.
There are installations & interactive screens showing visitors the issues that are important like civil rights, protest movements, environmentalism & international relations.
It would take about 8 hrs of reading to look at every speech, video & objects in the museum that shows a democracy timeline of 3,000 years form 500BC to present day
The museum houses the original Eureka flag, but no photos were allowed in this specially light room.
More details of the Eureka Stockade can be found via google on your computer if you don't get a chance to visit the Eureka Stockade Museum. It's an interesting read.
Interpretive screens such as these 2 with more pages following gives us an insight of how workers fought for their rights for fairness.
After leaving Ballarat, we headed north through Bendigo, heading for Greater Bendigo National Park for more bird watching. We were the only campers for the 2 night stay within the NP
A large sized Marilyn was standing just near 1 of Bendigo's main intersections.
There was a Marilyn Munroe Exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
We eventually arrived back on the Murray River again, this time near Barmah.
If only these beautiful old Red River gums could give away their age.
We made our way along the Murray River to spend 4 nights at a free camp 10 kms west of Yarrawonga township. The water was green from the Blue-green algae, but still fun to take a 1 km paddle up stream to check out the bird life.
The town of Yarrawonga in Victoria shares a lake - L Mulwala with a NSW town of Mulwala.
The lake is artificially made with a weir across the Murray river completed in 1939,
Our pretty camp spot. Being beginning of April, it was still quite warm at low 30's* C.
From Yarrawonga on the Murray River, we headed SE towards the pretty wine & food region of Rutherglen, Chiltern & Beechworth. We stayed in Chiltern as the nearby Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park is a number 1 birding destination of northern Victoria.