BALLARAT

Visit a thriving city with a country flavour

STORY: FLEUR MORRISON       PHOTOGRAPHY: VISIT VICTORIA 

A golden past has paved the way for Ballarat to become a thriving, modern city that incorporates the best of the city and the country.

Ballarat is Victoria’s third largest city. Located in the Central Highlands region, it’s just over one hour’s drive or train ride north west of Melbourne.

First settled in 1838, the city rose to prominence just over a decade later during the goldrush, and the majestic buildings lining its central boulevards are a reminder of the city’s prosperous history.

Today, with a population of almost 110,000, Ballarat’s vibrant cultural and social scene is just as noticeable as its illustrious past.

The city is host to a range of artistic and cultural events throughout the year, while its dining scene is constantly evolving. New exciting new cafes and restaurants opening regularly, taking their place among local pubs and long-time favourites.

The Art Gallery of Ballarat hosts a diverse range of exhibitions and during the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, galleries, cafes and restaurants display photography from Australia and around the world.

Two of the city’s most popular annual community events are the Springfest Market Day and Begonia Festival, which attract crowds to Lake Wendouree and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Many consider the lake and gardens precinct to be the heart of Ballarat. With its beautiful natural environs and amenity including several playgrounds, gym equipment and barbecue facilities, Lake Wendouree is a popular meeting and recreation place. While running a lap of the lake or driving along Wendouree Parade, locals are accustomed to giving swans and cygnets right-of-way.

Ballarat also boasts high quality healthcare and education that compares favourably with metropolitan and other regional centres.

Its private and public hospitals and Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre are world-class medical facilities that treat patients from across regional Victoria. Many medical specialists are also based in Ballarat, including top oncologists, obstetricians, surgeons, and dermatologists.

Local schools are among the best in the state, with Ballarat Clarendon College named one of Victoria’s top VCE performers in 2019. Government and independent primary schools are located across Ballarat, while co-ed and single sex options are available for secondary school.

In Ballarat, the benefits of city living sit comfortably with the pace, beauty and community of the country. It’s an ideal place to live and grow.

Further education options include Federation University, set in the bushland of Mount Helen, Federation TAFE, and the Australian Catholic University. 

The University of the Third Age is also available to retirees who would like to continue their journey of lifelong learning. 

The major industries of employment in Ballarat are health and social care, manufacturing, retail and construction. Opportunities are expected to grow with the establishment of the Ballarat GovHub, which is currently under construction. The site is expected to be home to up to 1,000 Victorian Government employees, including up to 600 positions that will be relocated from Melbourne.

Ballarat’s technological park, the largest regional technology park in Australia, is also a significant local employer, with around 2,000 private sector employees across enterprises, including IBM and Southern Cross Austereo.

Housing in the city is relatively affordable compared with metropolitan prices. Options range from heritage homes located near the lake or along Sturt Street to the small Victorian cottages in quiet pockets of central Ballarat, Soldiers Hill, Lake Wendouree and Newington, or the affordable modern housing in central or outlying estates.

The bushland on the outskirts of Ballarat also provides opportunities for those seeking a tree change, while remaining close to city conveniences. Within a few minutes’ drive of central Ballarat, it is possible to find homes that sit on large blocks of land in areas including Invermay, Mount Helen, Cardigan Village and Learmonth.

On weekends, the nearby towns of Buninyong, Creswick, Clunes, Daylesford and Talbot offer opportunities to visit country markets, bush walk or wander charming historical streets.

Ballarat is well-equipped for sports lovers. The redeveloped Eureka Stadium hosts annual AFL matches, while the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre has a 50metre pool and rock-climbing wall and the Minerdome hosts local, national and international basketball tournaments.

Productions from the highly-regarded Lyric Theatre company are staged at the historic Her Majesty’s Theatre throughout the year and the city’s Royal South Street Eisteddfod attracts entries from around the country.

In Ballarat, the benefits of city living sit comfortably with the pace, beauty and community of the country. It’s an ideal place to live and grow.

The Traditional Custodians of the land on which Ballarat stands are the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung People.

SNAPSHOT

 WATTLE ROAD 🖤  The beauty of this major regional city with its historic buildings and central lake, is its depth of high calibre services, from health to education, and the direct train service to Melbourne.
DISTANCE FROM MELBOURNE: 110 kms
POPULATION: 109,505
WHO LIVES HERE?
According to the 2016 Census:
♦ The median age of people  was 42 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 18.4% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 19.1% of the population.
♦ Of the families in Ballarat 40.1% were couple families with children, 41.3% were couple families without children and 17.3% were one parent families.
♦ The most common occupations in Ballarat  included professionals 19.6%, technicians and trades workers 15.0%, managers 12.5%, community and personal service workers 12.2%, and clerical and administrative workers 12.1%
♦ 82.4% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were England 2.7%, New Zealand 0.9%, India 0.6%, Netherlands 0.6% and China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 0.5%
CLIMATE: Summer average temperature, 10.6ºmin, max 24.3ºC. Winter average temperature, min 3.6ºmax 10.8ºC.
MAJOR EMPLOYERS: The manufacturing industry sector makes the greatest contribution to economic output in the region, while the health care and social assistance industry sector is the region’s largest employer, followed by retail trade, construction and education. An increase in public sector jobs is expected with the construction of the Ballarat GovHub.
SCHOOLS: There are 55 primary schools in the local district, including the P12 private schools Ballarat Grammar and Ballarat Clarendon College. Secondary schools include Ballarat High School, Loreto College and St Patrick’s College.
NBN CONNECTION: Depending on the suburb, Fibre To The Node (FTTN) and Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) are available.
PROPERTY PRICES: The median house price is $502,000 and the median unit price is $294,000. Property values increased by an average of 6.8% in the last 12 months.
SPORTS & RECREATION: North Ballarat Football and Netball Club, Ballarat Miners and Rush (basketball), Ballarat Gold Swimming Club, Sebastopol Vikings Soccer Club, Golden Point Cricket Club, Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club.
HEALTH CARE: There is a depth of health care services for all ages and health conditions in this city. It has a large public hospital, Ballarat Base, and the private St John of God Ballarat Hospital. It also has the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre and a broad range of medial specialists.  Ballarat Health Services is one of a number of local organisation providing mental health care.
ARTS & CULTURE: Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat Lyric Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre.
COUNCIL: www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/

MY HOMETOWN

BEN WEARNE

I moved to Ballarat when my wife was pregnant with our first child and haven’t looked back.

We were originally looking to buy our first house in Melbourne, but there was a big compromise on space if we wanted to live within reach of the city.

My wife grew up in Ballarat, so we started looking for a house there at the same time, and property was much more affordable. We ended up finding a period house with a huge backyard, and so the decision was easy.

We’ve made lots of new friends here, and my wife has also reconnected with her school friends.

I love how easy it is to live here with kids – we have one in kinder and two at school, and both are only minutes from home. Everything is so close by, from the supermarket to our friends’ houses.

On the weekend we enjoy getting into the car and heading to Creswick for a bush walk, or taking a ride along the Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail.

I used to travel to Melbourne for work quite regularly and the commute was fine. To be honest, the V/Line train was much more comfortable than catching a train or tram in the city.

I thought I would miss the cafes and restaurants in Melbourne, but there are so many great places to eat in Ballarat that there’s nothing I can’t get here. There seems to be something new opening every month.

I love the easy lifestyle and the community I’ve found in Ballarat and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

MELBOURNE

Travel time is approximately 60 minutes.

TO BALLARAT

FIND A PROPERTY

1129 Lal Lal Street, Buninyong

1129 Lal Lal Street, Buninyong

$1,250,000 - $1,350,000

6 3 4

204 Flagstaff Ridge Road, Linton

204 Flagstaff Ridge Road, Linton

$640,000 - $680,000

3 2 6

7 Highvista Grove, Ballarat East

7 Highvista Grove, Ballarat East

$980,000 - $1,075,000

6 4 5

628 Barkly Street, Golden Point

628 Barkly Street, Golden Point

SOLD

3 1 1