Perched atop a hill in the gold mining city of Ballarat in Victoria, Sovereign Hill is an award winning outdoor museum cum heritage attraction which first opened in November 1970. Recreating the essence of a 19th century mining town, the open-air museum occupies a sprawling 25 hectare site that is linked to one of the richest alluvial gold rush in the world. Adding to its authenticity are staff members dressed in Victorian-era clothes who are friendly in an unpretentious manner.
Unlike commercially oriented theme parks plastered with sponsor brands, Sovereign Hill charms with realistic portrayal of life in the 19th century devoid of 20th and 21st century logos. Many of the shops also adopt traditional ways of making and retailing heritage goods and services, from blacksmiths to bars and bakeries. What’s especially surprising were the multiple layers of experience which one encounters as a visitor, which whisks one magically away to a different time and place.