- Existing Business
Ballarat has a rich, highly intact and living heritage.
Long before Europeans arrived, the Ballarat district was home to more than 25 Aboriginal tribes known as the Wadawurrung people.
By the mid-1830s, pastoralists had moved into the area and gold was discovered at Poverty Point in 1851.
News that Ballarat was home to the richest alluvial goldfield in the world resulted in a population explosion as people flocked here from around the globe to seek their fortune. By 1852, about 20,000 diggers were desperately panning for gold along the creek banks.
Ballarat was proclaimed a town in 1852, a municipality in 1855, a borough in 1863 and a city in 1870.
Of all Victorian municipalities, Ballarat ranks equal third in having the most locally protected heritage listings with over 10,000 places included in protected heritage areas and 64 listed heritage places on the Victorian Heritage Register.
In addition, there are 113 listings on the state’s Victorian Heritage Inventory (known archaeological sites), and one heritage place on the National Heritage List (Eureka Stockade Gardens).
There are also several significant known sites of Aboriginal cultural heritage. The municipality forms a part of the rich cultural landscapes of the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung peoples and an array of significant historic collections that tell the story of Ballarat’s development and identity.
Ballarat is part of an international pilot program for UNESCO’s new long-term approach to city management, guiding how historic cities can develop and change sustainably over time. It works by ensuring that change is inspired by all the things that make local places distinctive, valued by locals and appeal to visitors.