is a city located on the Yarrowee River and lower western plains of the Great Dividing Range in the state of Victoria,Australia, approximately 105 kilometres (65 mi) west-north-west of the state capital, Melbourne. It is the third most populous urban area in the state, with a population of 85,935 It is the state's most populated inland settlement, and fifth most populated inland settlement in Australia. People from Ballarat are referred to as Ballaratiansor Ballafornians. The City of Ballarat local government area encompasses both the Greater Ballarat urban area and outlying towns with an area of 740 square kilometres (290 sq mi) and has an urban area population of 93,501.Ballarat is its most populous urban centre, seat of local government and administrative centre.
From top left to bottom right: Panorama of Ballarat from Black Hill, rowers on Lake Wendouree, Sovereign Hill, the Ballarat Town Hall, Craigs Hotel, Lydiard Street and former Post Office and the Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour.
Ballarat lies at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in Central Western Victoria. Also known as the Central Highlands, it is named so because of its gentle hills and lack of any significant mountains that are more common in the eastern sections of the Great Dividing Range. The city lies within a mostly gently undulating section of the midland plains which stretch from Creswick in the north, to Rokewood in the south, and from Lal Lal in the south-east to Pittong in the west..
Ballarat is a primarily low-rise city though apart from the area around Ballarat Airport there are few established height limits for buildings. The City of Ballarat defines two Major Activity Centres within the urban area - the Central Business District (CBD) and Wendouree with a high concentration of business, retail and community function based primarily on the Melbourne 2030 planning model and a further 11 neighbourhood activity centres. The tallest building in urban Ballarat is the seven-storey Henry Bolte wing of the Ballarat Base Hospital (1994). Beyond the central area, urban Ballarat extends into several suburban areas with a mixture of housing styles. Predominant styles are 19th century villas, Victorian terraces, Federation homes and Georgian red brick homes. Settlement patterns around Ballarat consist of small villages and country towns, some with less than a few thousand people.
Ballarat has a moderate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classificationCfb) with four seasons. Its elevation, at 435 metres (1,427 feet) above sea level, causes its mean monthly temperatures to tend to be on average 3 to 4 °C (5.4 to 7.2 °F) below those of Melbourne,. The mean daily maximum temperature for January is 25.1 °C (77 °F), while the mean minimum is 10.9 °C (52 °F). In July, the mean maximum is 10.0 °C (50 °F); average July minimum is 3.2 °C (38 °F). Ballarat has 55.2 clear days annually..
Ballarat has a healthy environment in comparison to Melbourne; however, as a growing regional city there are issues including pollution, waterway health andinvasive species. Air quality is generally good, however dust is sometimes an issue in the summer months and woodsmoke from fireplaces is an issue in the winter months. Ballarat's waterways have historically been affected by heavy pollution from both mining and industry. The Ballarat Environment Network formed in 1993 to provide a voice for environmental and nature conservation issues in Ballarat and surrounds. Another large lobby group for sustainability in the city is the Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions (BREAZE) formed in 2006. The City of Ballarat released an Environment Sustainability Strategy for the city in 2007.
As a goldrush boomtown, Ballarat began as a centre of primary industry. Thought gold no longer plays a pivotal role in the economy of the city, gold mining continues to the present date on a smaller scale with a main mine operating. There are still thought to be large, undiscovered gold reserves in the Ballarat region, with investigations being made by local and national companies to extract potentially as much gold as the Gold Rush days in the mid-1800s. Lihir Gold invested in Ballarat Goldfields in 2006 however downscaled its operations in 2009 due to the expense of extraction before selling its stake in 2010 to Castlemaine Goldfields. Along with gold, lignite (coal), kaolin (clay) and iron ore have also been mined in the Ballarat region and nearby Lal Lal however many of the resource deposits have since been exhausted.
The Ballarat region has a rapidly growing renewable energy industry, in particular due to its abundant wind energy, attracting significant investment and generating revenue for local landholders and local councils. The region is also a source of bountiful geothermal energy, solar power and biomass although to date, only its wind, solar and hydroelectricity has been harvested commercially. All local commercially produced electricity is sent to the National Electricity Market.
Ballarat has witnessed a significant growth surge since 2006 and the population of the City of Ballarat is becoming increasingly urban such that statistically, the LGA is now used as the ABS statistical division. Recent rapid growth has been attributed by demographers to increased commuter activity arising from surging house and land prices in Melbourne coupled with transport upgrades between Ballarat and Melbourne. Since 2006 Ballarat has averaged an annual population growth of 1700 and in June 2008 the estimated resident population of the City of Ballarat was 91,787. In August 2009 this population had grown to 94,000.
Christianity remains the dominant religion in Ballarat, with over 65% of residents claiming Christian affiliation, slightly above the national average of 64%. According to the 2006 Census, Catholics (27.1%), Anglicans (15.0%), Uniting Church (11.2%) and Presbyterians (4.0%) remain the largest Christian denominations in Ballarat..
Council Chamber in Ballarat Town Hall, Sturt Street, is the seat of local government for the City of Ballarat. The council was created in 1994 as an amalgamation of a number of other municipalities in the region. The City is made up of 3 wards, each represented by three councillors elected once every four years by postal voting. The Mayor of Ballarat is elected from these councillors by their colleagues for a one-year term. The Town Hall and annexe contains some council offices, however the council's administrative headquarters are located at the council owned Phoenix Building and the leased Gordon Buildings on the opposite side of Bath Lane..
Federation University Australia was until 2014 the University of Ballarat and originated as the Ballarat School of Mines, founded in 1870. It was once affiliated with the The University of Melbourne. The university is headquartered at Mount Helen approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) southeast of the city and consists of six campuses, three of which are located in Ballarat Central.
The Australian Catholic University's Ballarat campus is located on Mair Street. It began life as the Aquinas Training College run by the Ballarat East Sisters of Mercy in 1909. It is ACU's only campus located outside of a capital city. Ballarat has four State Government-operated secondary schools of which Ballarat High School (established in 1907) is the oldest and the only state school member of the Ballarat Associated Schools. The other schools are Sebastopol College, Mount Clear College and Ballarat Secondary College. Ballarat Secondary College was formed in 1994 by the amalgamation of Ballarat East Secondary College, Wendouree Secondary College and Midlands Secondary College.
Ballarat is renowned for its cultural heritage and decorative arts, especially applied to the built environment, combined with the gold rush, this has created a picturesque urban landscape. In 2003 Ballarat was the first of two Australian cities to be registered as a member of the International League of Historical Cities and in 2006 hosted the 10th World League of Historical CitiesCongress.
Ballarat is notable for its very wide boulevards. The main street is Sturt Street and is considered among one of the finest main avenues in Australia with over 2 kilometres of central gardens known as the Sturt Street Gardens featuring bandstands, fountains, statues, monuments, memorials and lampposts. Ballarat is home to the largest of a collection of several Avenue Of Honour in Victoria. The fifteen kilometre (9.3 mi) long Ballarat Avenue of Honour consists of a total of approximately 4,000 trees, mostly deciduous which in many parts arch completely over the road. Each tree has a bronze plaque dedicated to a soldier from the Ballarat region who enlisted during World War I. The Avenue of Honour and the Arch of Victory are on the Victorian Heritage Register and are seen by approximately 20,000 visitors each year.
The legacy of the wealth generated during Ballarat's gold boom is still visible in a large number of fine stone buildings in and around the city, especially in the Lydiard Street area. This precinct contains some of Victoria's finest examples of Victorian era buildings, many of which are on the Victorian Heritage Registeror classified by the National Trust of Australia.
Ballarat is home to many annual festivals and events that attract thousands of visitors. The oldest large annual event is the Ballarat Agricultural Show (since 1859), currently held at the Ballarat Showgrounds and has attracted attendances of up to 30,000 and is an official public holiday for residents of the city. Lake Wendouree is featured in many including the biggest and most prominent is the Begonia Festival (held annually since 1953). SpringFest (held annually since 2001) attracts more than 15,000 people from around Victoria and features market stalls and activities around the lake.
The city has several dance clubs as well as a highly active live music and jazz scene. Hotels are popular meeting places for young people. The city has many fine restaurants, wine bars and eateries as well as themed restaurants. A large cinema complex consisting of several theatres is located behind the façade of the old Regent cinemas in the heart of the city. Dance parties are popular within the Ballarat area; BTR is an organisation founded in 2006 that has begun hosting dance events in Ballarat.
he Ballarat Fine Art Gallery houses one of Australia's oldest and most extensive collections of early Australian works. It is considered to have the best Australian collection outside any capital city in Australia. Federation University Australia operates the Post Office Gallery in the Wardell designed former Post Office on the corner of Sturt and Lydiard Streets.
Australian rules football is played at semi-professional and amateur levels with a large number of players at numerous venues, both dedicated such as Eureka Stadium and shared with cricket. The North Ballarat Roosters based out of Eureka Stadium compete in the Victorian Football League and currently have an affiliation with national Australian Football League(AFL) club the North Melbourne Kangaroos. There is currently a campaign to upgrade Northern Oval (currently known as Eureka Stadium) for hosting regular AFL and AFL pre season matches, with an aim to provide a 6000 seat covered grandstand and AFL standard lighting. The Ballarat Football League (founded 1893) is a strong regional league of which there are 6 teams (Ballarat, EastPoint, Redan, Sebastopol, Lake Wendouree and North Ballarat City) from Ballarat. The Ballarat Football Club(founded 1860) remains one of the oldest football clubsin the world. A team from Buninyong competes in the regional Central Highlands Football League..
Several former prime ministers of Australia were either born in or lived in Ballarat and this was recognised by the city's Prime Minister's Avenue. Alfred Deakin second Prime Minister was the first federal Parliament as MP for Ballaarat. Sir Robert Menzies, and James Scullin were both educated in Ballarat. John Curtin was born in nearby Creswick and his wife Elsie was born Ballarat. Several premiers of the Australian statesare were born in Ballarat, including Ballarat born Sir Henry Bolte, Steve Bracks, homas Hollway, and Henry Daglish. Additionally Duncan Gillies lived in and represented Ballarat in the Victorian Legislative Assembly before becoming state premier.
Ballarat has two major hospitals. The public health services are managed by Ballarat Health Services including the Ballarat Basewhich services the entire region and the Queen Elizabeth Centrefor aged care on Ascot Street Sth. The St John of God Health Care centre also on Drummond Street Nth, established in 1915 is currently the largest private hospital in regional Victoria. The Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC) on the corner of Drummond and Sturt Street includes a number of facilities focused on cancer treatment.
Road transport and the motor vehicle is the main form of transport. A network of state highways radiate from Ballarat and the Western Freeway (A8) is dual carriageway bypasses the central city to the north of the urban area, providing a direct road connection to Melbourne (approximately 90 minutes), westward to Ararat (approximately 75 minutes) and Horsham. Five freeway interchanges service the urban area, East Ballarat (half diamond) interchange at Victoria Street (C805); Brown Hill interchange (full diamond) at Daylesford-Ballarat Road (C292), Creswick Road interchange (full diamond) at Wendouree (A300); the Mount Rowan interchange (half diamond) at Gillies Road, Wendouree (C307) and the Mitchell Park interchange (full diamond) at Howe Street (C287). The Midland Highway is a dual carriageway which runs north along Creswick Road to the Western Freeway interchange but becomes a single carriageway north of Ballarat to Creswick (approximately 25 minutes) and runs south as the dual carriageway of Skipton Road to Magpie before becoming a single carriageway to Geelong (approximately 87 minutes). The Glenelg Highwayconnects directly to Mount Gambier and the Sunraysia Highwaywest of Ballarat which connects directly to Mildura.
Ballarat has historically been a major rail transport hub in Victoria, situated at the junction of the Ballarat line, Ararat line and Mildura lines it currently has several connections for both passenger rail services and freight rail. The city has two passenger railway stations, the hub of Ballarat railway stationand suburban Wendouree railway station. From Ballarat station, V/Line operates VLocity trains running at up to 160 km/h (99 mph) east to Melbourne, west and Ararat and north to Maryborough. Since the controversial removal of "flagship" express services in 2011, successive timetable changes have slowed peak hour services to Southern Cross Station, with the current journey taking a minimum of 73 minutes. Patronage however has continued to grow. The Regional Rail Link project is aimed at separating Ballarat trains from Melbourne's suburban rail network. Interurban services (Ballarat-Melbourne) now run half hourly during weekday peak and hourly on weekends from Ballarat station. A twice daily (56 minute) service connects Ballarat toArarat while there is a (52 minute) service to and from Maryborough (stopping at Creswick) once a day each way.Victoria's electronic ticketing system, Myki, was implemented on rail services between Wendouree and Melbourne on 24 July 2013.