Some of my loyal readers will remember visiting Sovereign Hill with me in August 2001. Not much has changed. But then, when you’re talking about a site that recreated a 19th century mining town, not much has to change.
Sovereign Hill is on the outskirts of Ballarat, a goldfields town about 100km north west of Melbourne. The place is billed as an open air museum. You pay $40, enter through the unprepossessing information centre and emerge onto a street that really does look like it could be Victoria c. 1850.
There are wooden shops will false fronts and a line-up of businesses from chemists to sweetie shops. Since it’s a visitor attraction, all of these shops flog their wares to the tourists but, to be fair, a lot of the goods for sale are made by craftspeople on site.
Costumed interpreters roam the streets and I’ve got to say I enjoyed having handsome man tip their hats at me. Is this something we could bring back, please?
Thinking I would be better off underground, I went on a tour of one of the mines. Even though the guide who sent me down reassured me I was on cctv the whole time, it’s still a bit creepy on your own in a dimly lit tunnel underground….
Really, the afternoon was an exercise in duck and cover, as I ran from one shelter to another. The tent that doubles as the Catholic Church was a bit leaky, but I amused myself by taking photos of the raindrops. (See, it really was very rainy.)
What to do?
I found a table by the fire in a nice tea room that served scones. Nom nom nom.
Sovereign Hill is worth a visit, but it’s definitely more fun when it’s not raining.