Bowling Alleys on the Goldfields
Once again a question from a student has inspired an idea for this blog. A student from Wesley College, Clunes campus wanted to know more about bowling saloons on the goldfields, similar to Sovereign Hill’s Empire Bowling Saloon.
Re-setting the pins at Sovereign Hill’s Empire Bowling Saloon
This turned out to be quite a challenge, as there isn’t much information from the time about this sort of sporting or gaming entertainment. However, we have managed to find some information about them. Continue reading
If there is one thing that most historical recreations get wrong, it’s probably teeth. Dental care in the past, like most of the medical profession, was generally dreadful. Consequently many people would have had rotten, missing or crude false teeth. Even here at Sovereign Hill, most of us have a good set of chompers… certainly a greater number than would have been the reality in the 1850’s!
Dental care of the past: a soldier receiving dental treatment c.1915-1918 (Image from the State Library of Victoria)
Following Sunday’s (2/10) epidsode of Wild Boys it seems like there is one Bushranger that deserves a greater mention. Captain Moonlite is not just a fictional TV character, he was a real person and one of the most infamous characters of the Ballarat goldfields region.
The producers of Wild Boys clearly based their Captain Moonlite on the real man and they have included a number of acurate details. We thought we would take the oppotunity to share some more about his life and some ideas for exploring this goldfields character and related topics in your classrooms.
Andrew George Scott (image: State Library Victoria)
With the new popular TV program ‘Wild Boys’ gracing our screens it seems timely to discuss the presence of Bushrangers during the gold rushes. While the TV show glosses over a few historical details, drawing on popular culture such as this can be used as a powerful hook to engage students in history. They can even become historians who investigate the historical accuracy of such programs, from people and attitudes to building construction and details of daily life – an interesting and empowering activity no doubt.
Bushrangers certainly existed in colonial Australia and some thrived during the gold rush. Unidentifiable gold was an alluring target, as were the many naive new chums arriving in the colony. A large part of the British Redcoats‘ role in the colonies was to act as a gold escort between the diggings and Melbourne. The situation was further affected by the presence of numerous ex-convicts harbouring resentment towards authority figures and the limited number of police; including some untrained and allegedly corrupt officers. It was a potent mix and a complex social scenario.