If you’re a schoolkid in Melbourne, chances are you’ll definitely visit Sovereign Hill. I went there on a school excursion when I was about 8. Now Arthur is 8 and DeeW is a very vocal 5 so this week we went on a day trip. We’ve been learning about Australian history so this trip tied in nicely:
(my photos are different sizes because I started with my camera which then went flat so I had to use my phone. And then I screwed up the scaling in my image editor).
Sovereign Hill is an open air museum that is set in the 1850s. Gold was first discovered in the town of Ballarat in 1851 which then sparked the Ballarat Gold Rush.
Staff dress in period costumes:
Main Street is based on the real Main Street of Ballarat East during the 1850s, which was the settlement’s main street:
“we shall name him… Conan”:
(okay so that’s probably a joke not many will get, sorry…)
…but we did the naggy parent bribery thing of good manners means you get to visit the sweet shop at the end.
Bowling! Yeah, you remember this if you grew up in Melbourne:
We watched a lolly making demonstration. Here you can see the raspberry lollies drying on the table. The big blob of lolly goo was cranked through the mould thingy then placed on the drying table. Then plain flour was scattered on top to assist in the drying process (which was quite short). Then the lollies get smashed up like glass and separate in to their final shapes:
And this was the apothecary (I think) which also sold soaps and oils and that kind of stuff:
We visited the candle making shop. Arthur and DeeW each bought a candle and dipped it in to coloured wax:
Some glassware on display in the candle shop:
What the cottages may have looked like (although one looked more well-to-do than the other):
I had packed my own snacks as I rightly assumed there would be no vegan options. The staff at the New York Bakery were lovely and the waiter asked the chef what could be made vegan (the answer was a big salad and the risotto). However I wasn’t hungry enough for them to go to the trouble of veganising their risotto so I just ordered a pot of tea with soy milk:
The most exciting part of Sovereign Hill for many children is the gold panning. I have to admit, I had fun too although my job was mostly running after DeeW who decided she must run off and try every shovel she could see:
We actually found gold! Real gold! But you may be surprised to learn, as I was, that this real gold is a teeny tiny speck. Not even as big as a small pin head.
And that was our trip. Ballarat has so many beautiful old buildings but we didn’t have any time to wander around as it was getting late. So we waved goodbye to Ballarat and promised the kids we’ll take them back to Sovereign Hill.