Culture Victoria

Gold Museum

Bradshaw Street BALLARAT Phone: (03) 5337 1107 Visit Website

The Gold Museum, owned and operated by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association, is one of Australia's largest regional and community museums.

The Museum's principal focus is to collect, research and interpret material pertaining to the golden history and heritage of the Ballarat region. Holding extensive and valuable collections, the Museum is renowned for its expertise in, and knowledge of, the impact of gold, both locally and beyond.

Its exhibitions and public programs support and strengthen the living history experience of goldrush Ballarat as presented for visitors in Sovereign Hill's outdoor museum. At the Gold Museum, visitors view priceless displays of gold nuggets, coins and artefacts, along with original artworks of the period. 'Ballarat: Inspired by Gold' is a stunning permanent exhibition telling the story of Ballarat from earliest times through to the growth of pastoralism, the impact of the gold discoveries and the present day.

Our Collection

Arnott Rogers Collection

A specialised collection of Chinese decorative art, textiles and social history of national significance. The collection is essentially closed although relevant donations of associated material will be accepted.

Ballarat Historical Society Collection

The Society’s Historical Collection forms the heart of the Museum’s strength in social history. A wide range of artefacts is included in the collection, although it is particularly strong in the area of photographs.

Ballarat Sports Museum Collection

Formed in 1996, the Ballarat sports Museum and Hall of fame has been based in the Gold Museum. The group has collected sporting memorabilia and records relating to numerous local sports. The collection includes extensive sporting history files collected by sports journalists Ken McKenzie and Jim Murphy, as well as the records of sporting enthusiasts, Shane Everard. Includes also the Doug Butcher collection of cricketing news cuttings and 300 cricket caps.

Ballarat War Museum Collection

This collection, on long term loan from the City of Ballarat is the remaining contents of the former Ballarat War Museum which was exhibited in Lydiard Street South in the former Wesleyan Church. Housed alongside the Pern Collection. In the 1960s the collection was relocated to the Ballarat Historical Society Museum . There are some 850 items in the collection, including weapons, small arms, WW1 souvenired equipment and associated items. This is a closed collection, although the Gold Museum does collect material relating to World War 1 and 2 as it relates to Ballarat’s involvement in the war effort and the impact on the local people.

Bolte Collection

The memorabilia in this collection offers an unusual insight into the political life of Sir Henry Bolte who was Premier of Victoria from 1955 to 1972. Relevant additions to the collection will be made as material is donated.

Costume collection

A significant collection illustrating the history of costume in Australia, focusing on domestic, ceremonial, industrial and military clothing.

Peter Cox Collection

Reference books, rare books and historical data relating to Victorian military history, gold mining and general social history.

Eureka Collection

A small collection of artefacts, memorabilia and books relating to the Eureka Stockade uprising of 1854. Primarily includes items owned by the Ballarat Historical Society, but also covers items acquired by Sovereign Hill since the 1980s.

FitzGerald Postcard Collection

A major collection of 30,000 postcards spanning the history of the medium and covering an international range of themes. This collection will continue to be developed.

Gowan Collection

A broad ranging collection of educational textbooks and children’s books from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Jessica and Paul Simon Collection

This collection of over 900 gold samples, nuggets and coins is unique in Australia and remains a central focus for the Museum. The collection is closed and further active acquisition is not planned.

Miner’s Rights Collection

This includes over 300 Miner’s Rights, which is the largest collection in the State. These date from the 1850s to the 1970s, and include examples from Ararat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Daylesford, Maryborough and Sandhurst as well as Ballarat.

David O’Sullivan Collection

Large collection of medical equipment and reference books on local and Australian history.

Pern Collection

A significant collection of Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Island artefacts on long term loan from the Ballarat City Council. The collection is closed; however, artefacts relevant to the Aboriginal history of this region will continue to be collected as appropriate. It is the policy of the Museum to return Aboriginal or Islander material to the original owners of material if such can be identified.

Pioneer Chair Collection

A collection of primitive hand-made Australian chairs and related furniture pieces. Purchased from Graham Geddes in the early 1980s.

Rare Book Collection

Historical publications acquired for their research value in the history of goldmining, specifically in relation to the 1850s gold rush in Victoria.

Social History Collection

This collection contains material collected since 1977 which relates to the history of Ballarat and district, with particular regard to the impact of gold on the development of the region.

A.W. Strange Collection

Gold mining maps and technical literature on gold mining.

The Sovereign Hill Museums Association Archives

Extensive collection of board and committee minutes, correspondence, publications, photographs, documents and objects associated with the history of Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum. This collection dates from 1967 to the present. See also Ballarat Apex Club Archives.