Ballarat …… p.1
Geelong …… p.2
Situated on the Yarrowee River and lower western plains of the Great Dividing Range, Ballarat is approximately 105 kilometres (65 miles) west-north-west of the state capital, Melbourne. Prior to European settlement the region was home to the Wathaurong people. White people began to move into the area from 1837 and it soon became known as Yuille’s Station, or Yuille’s Swamp, and later Ballaarat (from the Wathaurong words “balla” and “arat” – possibly meaning resting place). When a town was established following the discovery of gold in 1850 it was initially known by that name before eventually losing an “a.” The first Post Office opened in 1851 and the first newspaper, The Banner in 1853. That year also saw the town’s first theatre built, followed soon afterwards by four more. Many of the hotels established during the early years of the gold rush provided entertainments spaces, too. At its peak, in 1858, the region’s population grew to more than 60,000. Most were itinerant.
Ballarat is famous for being the location of Australia’s only armed civil uprising, the Eureka Rebellion (aka the Eureka Stockade) which took place on 3 December 1854. Although the actual fighting took only half an hour, it is regarded as a defining moment in Australian history. Twenty-two miners and six soldiers were killed.
Proclaimed a city in 1871, Ballarat’s prosperity declined as gold eventually petered out late in the 19th century. It’s fortunes eventually rose in the mid-twentieth century, however, due in part to its transition into an industrial town and as a result of number of major infrastructure projects.
Left: View of Ballaarat from Baths Hotel, 1855. Right: Photograph of Ballarat from the Town Hall tower, 1872. Taken by William H. Bardwell.
Charlie Napier Hotel (Concert Room)
Charlie Napier Theatre 
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