Sovereign Hill

Nestled in Ballarat, Victoria, Sovereign Hill stands as a living testament to the golden history that shaped the region. The Red Hill Mine, recreated within Sovereign Hill, holds a special place in the history of gold discoveries. It was here, in Ballarat, that the world’s second-largest gold nugget, the Welcome Nugget, weighing a staggering 69 kg (2,200 ounces) and comprised of 99.2% pure gold, was unearthed. Valued at approximately £10,596 at the time of discovery, its worth has since skyrocketed to over US$3 million in gold value today, making it a truly priceless specimen.

The inception of Sovereign Hill traces back to the visionary idea floated in the 1960s in Ballarat. Born out of the desire to preserve historic buildings and recreate the essence of the gold diggings that defined the city’s identity, Sovereign Hill officially opened its doors to the public on 29 November 1970.

The heartbeat of Sovereign Hill is its Main Street, a general reconstruction of the once vibrant Main Street, Ballarat East. This street, adorned with timber buildings, was the bustling heart of the settlement until it fell victim to a destructive fire during the 1860s. In response, a more substantial town centre emerged around Sturt and Lydiard Street in Ballarat West, forever changing the city’s landscape.

Today, Sovereign Hill stands not only as an immersive experience into the rich history of the Australian gold rush but also as a guardian of precious artifacts and stories. It is a captivating journey back in time, allowing visitors to relive the golden era and witness the astounding treasures that once lay hidden beneath the earth.

Activities at Sovereign Hill include:

  • Horse and carriage rides
  • Gold panning
  • Lolly making demonstration
  • Gold pouring
  • Candle making
  • Bowling
  • Mine tours
  • Shopping
  • Playground
  • Cafe