Choose a lazy weekend morning, head out along the Western Highway for an easy 90 minute drive (105kms) to the intriguing city of Ballarat. On the Yarrowee River, this city is thought to have been named from the aboriginal word meaning "Resting Place". However on my travels there, I've rarely seen much resting, for it's always alive with visitors to one or other of its many exhibitions, events, parades and the like.
It's a fascinating place to visit because of its gold mining history, its beautiful old colonial buildings and its Eureka Stockade story. So when you add its constant array of excellent and sometimes highly unusual exhibitions and events, there's lots to see and do in the vibrant city in country Victoria.
On an earlier visit, I came to see the Diamond Jubilee Celebration which contained both in-depth and light-hearted photographs of the Royal Family by royal photographer, Cecil Beeton. His skill was evident in the portraits of the family members in the bloom of youth, in childhood and at notable events. I found this to be one of the best photographic collections I've seen in a while.
As the collection was housed in the beautiful old Art Gallery of Ballarat, Australia's oldest and largest regional gallery, I meandered around the other rooms enjoying many differing styles of art. I continued to the historical display depicting many items of interest from the December 1854 Eureka Stockade. I was particularly touched by very tattered but lovingly- mended, original Eureka Stockade flag. Justice certainly didn't come cheaply when so many lives were lost for the cause.
Opposite the Ballarat Art Gallery, is the beautifully restored 1930s Regent Theatre and still in the city centre is the Bones building, founded in 1886 and the Collier in 1855. Yet other excellent examples of early architecture are the very noticeable George Hotel, with its wrought iron balcony railings, the Grandstand at the City Oval and, founded in 1875, Her Majesty's Theatre.
Ballarat's Lake Wendouree, the venue for the 1956 Qlympic rowing and kayaking events draws residents and visitors alike to its shores. A tribute to the Olympians stands proudly by the shoreline and just across the street, tucked away among the trees a small, stately church stands like a sentinel
Today's sharing is only a small part of what this vibrant city has to offer. I revisited recently to inspect the ultra modern Boy's Toys exhibition and a "living in the 50s " extravaganza, both of which were very different and incredibly interesting. They're for my next story, so keep your eyes peeled for the "Boys Toys and the Jumping 50s"