Ballarat is located on the Yarrowee River and lower western plains of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, approximately 105 kilometres west-north-west of Melbourne. It is the third most populous urban area in the state, with a population of 85,935. It is also the state’s most populated inland settlement, and fifth most populated inland settlement in Australia. Ballarat was named by Scottish squatter Archibald Yuille who established the first settlement on the site, so named from the famous sheep race called Ballaarat in 1837. The entire name originally derived from local Wathaurong Aboriginal words for the area— balla arat, which is thought to have meant,”resting place”.
The Victorian gold rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to a major settlement. Gold was discovered at Poverty Point on 18 August 1851, and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold could easily be extracted. Within months, approximately 20,000 migrants had rushed the district.
The Eureka Rebellion began in Ballarat on December 3rd 1854, because gold diggers began to oppose government miners’ licenses. It is the only armed rebellion in Australian history. The Eureka Stockade is interpreted by the early origins of democracy in Australia, but the rebellions symbol— the Eureka Flag, now stands as a national symbol.