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Ballarat ( [show location on an interactive map] 37°33'S, 143°51'E) (formerly known as "Ballaarat") is a city in Victoria, Australia and one of the country's largest inland cities.

It is approximately 105 kilometres (65 mi) north-west of Melbourne, with an urban population of 85,197[2] people. The city lies at 441 metres (1,447 ft) AHD and consists of an area of approximately 740 square kilometres (286 sq mi), with the city occupying a built up area of approximately 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi).

Gold was discovered near Ballarat in 1851, and the influx of over 10,000 miners in less than a year transformed it from a pastoral town into Victoria's largest city. Ballarat is notable as the site for Australia's only armed civil uprising, colloquially referred to as the Eureka Stockade but more correctly titled the Eureka Rebellion, which took place on 3 December 1854.

While the city's growth slowed after the 1880s and Melbourne quickly overshadowed its importance, Ballarat remains a major inland regional centre and tourist destination, having retained much of its Victorian era heritage and is known for its grand heritage listed buildings and gardens.

The site of the city was originally a stock station established by William Cross Yuille and Henry Anderson in 1838 and named Ballarat (originally under the spelling Ballaarat), which was derived from local Aboriginal dialect meaning 'resting place'. Settlement, originally known as Ballarat, flourished in the early 1850s when gold was discovered. The area where gold was found was situated North East of Ballarat, about 3 miles away. The total area was about 1 square mile, and an estimated 200,000 osz. of gold are said to have been extracted from the area. This made Ballarat the wealthiest city in the district. However several other gold fields in the Ballarat area were important as well: the Berringa and Enfield Gold Fields, both were located 25 miles South of Ballarat.

With a huge influx of population and wealth as a major participant in the Gold Rush, Ballarat was, for a time, Victoria's largest township. It was proclaimed a city in 1871. Nerrena Fossickers in Nerrena Creek outside Ballarat

Ballarat is notable as the site for Australia's only armed civil uprising, colloquially referred to as the Eureka Stockade but more correctly titled the Eureka Rebellion, which took place on 3 December 1854. The event, in which 22 miners died, is considered a defining moment in Australian history. The purported site of the rebellion contains an historical park and a memorial to the event. The remains of the original Eureka Flag are on public display in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

During the last 50 years of the 19th century Ballarat prospered on gold mining. The confidence of the city's early citizens in the future of the city is evident in the sheer scale of many of the early public buildings, generous public recreational spaces, and opulence of many of its commercial establishments and housing. The period from the 1880s to the early 20th century witnessed a successful transition from a gold rush town to an industrial age city. Many industries and workshops that had been established as a result of manufacturing and servicing for the deep lead mining industry during the 19th century later made successful transition into engineering and manufacturing businesses throughout the 20th century.

In 1930 an aerodrome was established, which was ceded to the Commonwealth in 1940 as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. During WWII the base was a RAAF Wireless Air Gunners' School as well as the base for USAF Liberator bomber squadrons. During the war the airport was expanded and consisted of three sealed runways of which two were over 2,000 metres (6,550 ft) long and 45 metres (150 ft) wide. The aerodrome remained the RAAF School of Radio until 1961 when it was returned to civil operations. The City of Ballarat is the civil operator of the aerodrome. The site is now listed on the Victorian Heritage Register for its social and historic significance.

After World War II, Ballarat expanded significantly to the North West. An acute post war housing shortage was eased with the establishment of an extensive government housing estate on the former Ballarat Common (Today known as Wendouree West). The estate was originally planned to contain over 750 prefabricated houses. Whilst planning for the estate began in 1949, main construction occurred between 1951 to 1962. During the 1970s a further 300 houses were constructed. Private housing in the adjacent suburb of Wendouree closely matched and eventually eclipsed this by the mid 1960s. The suburb of greater Wendouree and Wendouree West had evolved by the 1970s as the suburban middle-class heart of the city.

From the late 1970s and early 1980s urban growth slowed in Wendouree and began expanding to the Southern and Western corridors of the city. In 2007 growth of the city for the next 30 years is being planned for to the west of the city centre and through the redevelopment of inner city housing blocks, and other under-developed inner city land in the East that is being redeveloped to create a higher density housing structure. Throughout the 20th century Ballarat maintained steady economic and population growth, keeping pace with that of the Australian national average without ever experiencing any significant growth surges. Steady population and economic growth has enabled the city to mature and preserve much of its historical grandeur and beauty whilst accommodating thoughtful and modern development. Ballarat's modern architecture was designed to blend with the old with examples being the City Library, the Law Courts and Justice Centre and the Ballarat Base Hospital.

 

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