Category Archives: Uncategorized

Archiving our audio files

We are in the process of updating our website, and have decided to transfer our archive of audio and video files from the website to our blog. This project is going to take quite a long time to complete.

You will be able to monitor our progress as we go. We have created three new pages which we will continually add to over the next few months. Access to these pages is via the teaching resources tab near the top of the home page (As per the screenshot).

Screenshot of home page

Screenshot of home page

To begin with we have been transferring the files in the order they were loaded on the old website. If there are any files that you have lost access to, please email us and we will prioritise your request.

A Note for Teachers

These files have been created to make primary sources of information more accessible to students.

  • They are deliberately short.
  • The audio files are designed to make difficult historic text come to life for students
  • The text is provided so students can read along
  • We have tried to model good referencing techniques

Thank you for your patience as we work our way through this transfer.

Weird and wonderful goldfields history. Part 2

 Weird People

Diver_smallIn this blog we continue our research behind the weird and wonderful activities created for our school holiday program. The last blog focussed on our animal stories, this post is about the people of the goldfields and the weird but true stories of their lives on the Ballarat goldfields.

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Goldfields Medicine: Part 2

Apothecaries: medicines and food

Interior of Apothecary at Sovereign Hill. Gold Museum Collection

Interior of Apothecary at Sovereign Hill. Gold Museum Collection

In a previous post we talked about doctors on the goldfields, and the early hospitals in Ballarat. But there were many other medical people on the goldfields. Among them were the Apothecaries, who could make up medicines, from the ingredients available at the time. Most of these ingredients were based on plant and animal extracts, and could also be used as foodstuffs. Their role is now mainly performed by Pharmacists, but an Apothecary did so much more. They also performed surgery, midwifery and gave medical advice. In this Blog we will explore the secretive world of the Apothecary, and how they contributed to the lives of people on the goldfields and the wider world.

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The Industrial Revolution in Australia: Part 2

Ballarat and the Industrial Revolution

Pennyweight Gully, near Castlemaine. Taken by Marion Littlejohn

Pennyweight Gully, near Castlemaine. Photo taken by Marion Littlejohn

Many townships sprang up during the Gold Rush era of Colonial Victoria, but many of these towns withered and died as soon as their gold ran out, to the point that many are now ghost towns. However there are several exceptions to that. Many prosperous Central Victorian towns can trace their beginnings back to the discovery of gold. Towns such as Stawell, Ararat, Maryborough, Castlemaine and St Arnaud were larger at the time gold was being mined, but they still survive decades, even a century after the gold ran out. Ballarat and Bendigo are today major regional centres, and although there are still gold mines in or near both, they do not rely on gold to continue to grow. So what are the things that decided whether a town would grow, survive or die after the gold ran out? We think the answer involves the Industrial Revolution in Australia.

In our previous post on the Industrial revolution in Australia, we discussed how the people coming to the goldfields brought the knowledge and skills of the Industrial Revolution, and very soon were putting this knowledge to practical use in the search for gold. Here at Sovereign Hill we have many examples of these technological advances, and the benefits and/or downfalls of the use of machinery in gold mining. More importantly we also have some examples of steam technology being used for purposes not directly linked to finding gold. It is these other industries that give us the clue as to why Ballarat thrived, but towns nearby (Clunes, Smythesdale, Creswick etc) struggled after the gold mining phase of our history dwindled.

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