Culture Victoria

Sovereign Hill

Bradshaw Street BALLARAT Phone: (03) 5333 5777 Visit Website

Sovereign Hill, a winner of major tourism awards, is owned and operated by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association. Visitors to this 30-acre outdoor museum discover a unique, living experience of Australia’s gold mining history, presented with a rare degree of accuracy and integrity.

Sovereign Hill is renowned for its gold mining exhibits. On the diggings, visitors pan the creek for real gold. Above ground, in the mining precinct, they see steam power in action – from Cornish boilers to a winding engine, a beam pump and a ten-head stamper battery. Below ground, fully guided tours commence with a ride on an inclined tramway. Visitors see original workings and demonstrations of quartz mining technology. Finally, they have the rare opportunity to see a $150,000 gold pour.

In the town, there are shops, factories, hotels, cottages and a theatre – all based on those found in Ballarat and brought to life by costumed staff and volunteers, and the students who visit the schools for a 2-day role play experience of life as a goldfields child. Over 40 working horses provide coach rides and are used to demonstrate examples of early mining technology.

Sovereign Hill also owns the Gold Museum Ballarat, an evening show with dinner, on-site accommodation and ‘Narmbool’, an historic pastoral property.

Our Collection

This collection is owned and managed by the Sovereign Hill Museums Association. Items from the collection are exhibited in Sovereign Hill outdoor museum and in the adjacent Gold Museum. The collection includes material that documents the diggings and township of Ballarat in the period 1851 to 1861, and the later period of above and below-ground mining. The collection also includes the Paul and Jessica Simon collection of gold nuggets and coins, and material documenting the history of Ballarat and the surrounding region. Special collection elements include the Arnott Rogers Collection, Art Collection, Ballarat Historical Society Collection, Bolte Collection, Costume Collection, Eureka Collection, FitzGerald Postcard Collection, Jessica and Paul Simon Collection, Pern Collection, Ballarat War Museum Collection , Pioneer Chair Collection, Rare Book Collection, Ballarat Sports Museum Collection, and the Social History Collection.

This collection documents the impact of gold and gold mining on the development of Ballarat, Victoria and Australia. It also includes material reflecting the local history of Ballarat and the surrounding region. The holdings of Chinese decorative arts, textiles and social history are of national significance. The photograph collection has been reported on in a significance assessment conducted by Stella Barber.