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Sovereign Hill & Gold Rush Interactive Museum
- Sovereign Hill: Set on 25 acres of an original mining site, this open-air living history museum has earned kudos for its authenticity. See working exhibits brought to life with costumed characters and over 40 horses.
- Gold Museum: This museum shows artifacts from the Gold Rush and boasts an amazing collection of gold nuggets, coins, alluvial deposits, and a fantastic gift shop.
- Guided tour: On this motorcoach tour, an experienced driver guide will show you around the town of Ballarat, the majestic provincial city that was built with the fortunes derived from the gold rush.
- Light and sound show: The "Blood on the Southern Cross" show explains the importance of the Eureka Rebellion, in which miners fought the federal government.
About this Melbourne Tour
When Edward Hargraves discovered gold in Australia in 1851, the ensuing Gold Rush changed the country forever. No wonder British officials originally wanted the news of gold in them thar hills kept quiet. Gold was found several times prior to the 1850s, but colonial officials in New South Wales feared that the news of it would cause the convicts and soldiers in the area to run wild. But after the California Gold Rush started in 1848, and many Aussies left to find gold there, the state publicized Hargraves' claim, finally revealing the gold news.
Victoria wanted in on the gold action, and in 1851, diggers struck gold, finding riches beyond their imagination. By the next year, 90,000 had flocked to the state, building up this once-sparse area. As you visit Sovereign Hill, you'll get a sense of the excitement of that time, complete with the newly rich parading their wealth and soldiers keeping order. At the Gold Museum, you'll see a re-enactment of the discovery of the famous "Welcome nugget" that was found there.
As for Hargraves, his discovery earned him great fame and fortune. He received 10,000 pounds from the government, and a 250-pound pension per year. However, not only was he not the first to find gold in the country, but a man named John Lister was actually the person to discover the gold that Hargraves claimed to find. Hargraves, however, was the one who filed the claim with the government, and the rest is a golden story for him, while poor Lister was left out in the cold. Harsh.
What a 'faint' welcome
The "Welcomenugget," found in 1858by miners at the Red Hill Mining Company in Ballarat, was the second biggest gold nugget ever found, weighing over 2,200 troy ounces. It took workers half an hour to haul it up to the surface from its depth of 180 feet. Legend has it that a hired man touched the gold with a pickax and fainted after finding it. Then an owner discovered him and the gold and fainted, too. After the nugget was taken on a world tour, it was eventually melted down for sovereigns.
Please make your own way to Federation Square
Take extra precautions to avoid too much exposure to the sun. Even on cloudy days, the UV is stronger than you may think.
This tour is suitable for travelers with limited mobility, able to get in and out of the bus without assistance. It is not fully wheelchair accessible. Folding wheelchairs only, please. Participation in any activity on site is at each person's discretion.
Luxury, Scenic, Family Friendly, Cultural
48-seat Climate-controlled Motorcoach
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages. All children must have their own safety seat.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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