December 1st, 2009
Author: Walter Lim
One of the great things about the award winning outdoor museum Sovereign Hill at Ballarat is the amount of activities that one can participate in. You can either dig for gold, pan for gold in the river, ogle bars of gold in sheltered comfort, experience how miners lived, or frolick amongst “denizens” of a former gold-mining town in the 19th century. While not all that glitters is real gold – for obvious security reasons – one can be fairly assured of having a glowing and goldilicious good time here!
Our first stop at the Gold Museum brings us face to face with the 4.4 kg, $250,000 Goldasaurus, a huge nugget of pure gold.
The many uses of gold beyond jewellery and coins.
The famous story of King Midas immortalised in a diorama at the Gold Museum.
Wonder how they made those huge bars of gold? Well, you can visit the gold smelting works here.
See that red hot cup heated by the furnace? The man just poured out liquid gold onto a block below.
Lucky girl! (too bad she can’t bring it home though)
Where there’s money to be made, us Chinese will naturally gravitate towards them. This Chinese settlement shows how East Asians have settled as far away as Ballarat way back in the 1850s to participate in the gold rush.
A Chinese temple was the place to ask for blessings from the gods and deities prior to one’s dig.
A little shop selling dried foodstuffs in a gold mining settlement.
After all that viewing, one can get into some action and start panning for gold.
These tourists are all hoping for a free ride home. I can’t help noticing how a large majority of them were Asians. 🙂
Onwards to more exciting Indiana Jones adventures at the Red Hill Mine!
Our host explaining to us the history behind shaft mining as well as its dangers.
After climbing down a few flights of stairs, we were greeted by these “miners” (done through Pepper’s ghost effect) excited about discovering a huge vein of gold.
The final stop is at the gold mine tour which was a fascinating 45 minute experience down under.
This began with a descend into the inky darkness of a mine through a “mining car”.
As we trudged through the dark, we spotted these outcrops of gold.
Our guide explaining how this gun-like drill helped to remove quartz with flecks of gold, which resulted in many miners inhaling tonnes of that unhealthy stuff in their lungs. The sound was also deafening. A miner’s life (which was often short) sure was hard!
A final ride on a mining train which felt a little like the Indiana Jones theme park ride at Disney, albeit without the animatronics!
This wood-fired engine powered by golden flames help to drive, moving the huge pistons and turbines through superheated steam.
Tags: ballarat, gold mining, sovereign hill, victoria