Monday, May 26, 2008

An experience with Australia's past

This morning I took the liberty to wake Girl-Girl up early. It is because we planned to go to Sovereign Hill, Balarat. Sovereign Hill is a themed park dedicated to Australia's gold mining past. Its located in Balarat, Victoria's gold mining city 120 km west of Melbourne. That is about 90 minutes drive from our northern Melbourne inn.

Right: Photographed, infront of the 'Photograher's Saloon' on Sovereign Hill mainstreet. The white building behind us is the 'bank'. Across its the general sundry store

We left Park Squire Inn at 9.30am and proceeded on the highway towards Tullamarine International. Then we proceeded on the city link highway and exited south of Keilor into M8 west bound highway (This highway eventually will take one to Perth, after a few days drive!). We arrived at 10.45am, after passing through some of Victoria's fams and vineyards.

Left: Just about to board the Sovereign Hill stage coach

It is a very exciting theme park indeed. We were brought into Ballarat in 1855, where the gold mining industry was just about to boom, after the the gold rush of 1851. We saw the historical Australia which brought the influx of immigrants, mainly from Europe and the development of Australia's other industries, especially agriculture.

Right: With one of the 'redcoats'

We witnessed how Australia was still part of the Empire and the 'redcoats' were Queen Victoria's official law and order enforcer, as the Troopers were made of rift-rafts, some ex-convicts. There, we saw the gold miner rebellion of 30 Dec 1854, due to exorbitant increase in gold mining license (tax), anti-productive against the income earned from the dangerous prospecting vocation. There was a re-encatment of a squad if 'redcoats' and their officer's proclamation the victory at Sevastopol, during the Crimean War.

We also saw the destruction of the first aboriginal civilisation and nation, here in Victoria. All of these were captured in the Gold Mine Museum, adjacent to the park.

Left: The Damansara Utama gold prospector

My daughter, Girl-Girl had the opportunity to experience gold prospecting, at the creek where gold-panning is encouraged. She had loads of fun. We also saw bus loads of Australian school children, came with their teachers for the excursion.

Right: Having lunch in 19th century Australia

We also had a meal in one of the restaurant. It surely have the mid 19th century ambiance. While we were having lunch, there was a street fight involving a 'gentleman' and a 'woman of pleasure'. So the 'woman' was summarily arrested by the 'Troopers' and shackled.

We have been to similar themed park in the US before, like The Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Vista, near Los Angeles a few times. However, this is much different and much more fulfilling. We definitely had a lot fondest memories here and for a long time.

The Zakhirs in mid-19th century setting

By the way, if anyone in Tanahair thought I had been in "Trouble with the law" recently, I give you this picture. Apparently mid-19th century Ballarat 'law' got me first!

Left: 'Busted' at Sovereign Hill!

1 comment:

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