Friday, June 10, 2011

Old gold and facades....

'Gold Diggings' Ararat - Edward Roper 1858

When on holiday in April we visited the old gold rush city of Ararat in south-western Victoria. I loved the feel of the place and took several photos of the old buildings. Our friends with us that day also loved it and are presently negotiating to buy an old mansion built in 1903.

Gold was discovered at Ararat in 1857, turning it into a gold rush boomtown. It was officially declared a city in 1950 but the population has steadily declined. Ararat got its name after Mount Ararat, 10km south-west, which was named by Horatio Wills in 1841. Wills, a pastoralist and politician, was one of Ararat's first settlers.

Barkly Street looking towards The Grampians
Image: John O'Neill

Upper Barkly Street in 1894
The Fire Brigade tower, since demolished, is the tall building in the distance,
The E.S.&A. (English, Scottish and Australian) Bank
and the drapery store are on the right.

Former Town Hall, now the Regional Ararat Art Gallery
and Ararat Performing Arts Centre


steven said...

but for the foliage alaine, i could be looking at a canadian town. that amazes me! steven

alaine@éclectique said...

Steven...Really? I'd never thought about how old towns in Canada would look but, going back to that era, late 1800s and into the 19th century, I suppose that anywhere the English have settled, you'd see the same type of architecture. Many of our country towns have the same grand buildings and shop fronts, a legacy of the gold rush and the enormous wealth of that time.

Betsy said...

I love how idealistic and charming it all looks in the painting at the top. So unlike gold digging in the western america around the same time. ha. It looked a little rough and dangerous! :)

How fun for your friends to possibly live there. I love places rich in history like that!

Pierre BOYER said...

Thanks for the visit !
Enjoy your day...


alaine@éclectique said... depends upon the artist, I guess; some depict pretty rough conditions! We have also come across tiny mud huts in the Chewton area that the Chinese crawled into at night.

A little further on is the history-rich city of Ballarat, where we're thinking of moving to.

alaine@éclectique said...

Pierre...thank you. Un jour heureux!

Mason Canyon said...

Love the photos, especially the one of Barkly Street looking towards The Grampians. Sounds like a great trip.

Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

karena said...

It's hard to believe that so many of these quaint little towns with such cool architecture are fading away from us. Economics have really changed the look of things here. Glad to see such historical buildings managing to remain viable and looking absolutely charming. I couldn't imagine owning a mansion...what fun for your friends. Hope the restorations are minimal.

RonJoe 'Geezer' said...

Greetings From Southern California

I am your newest follower. I invite you to visit my blog and follow back if you want too.

Have a Nice Day :-)

BTW, Great photos and historic info :-)

lvroftiques said...

I really enjoyed the visit Alaine! Funny how I was thinking that it looked very much like some of our small towns in the midwest.*winks* Sooooo are you really thinking of moving there? How exciting! And I have my fingers crossed for your friends. A mansion from 1903 sounds very intriguing....*winks* Vanna

alaine@éclectique said...

RonJoe...thank you for following...I'd like to reciprocate but something's missing, I can only see a blank square and nothing to click on to follow yours!

LaPouyette said...

What an interesting post! With all these images....just fabulous!
I never visited Australia and therefor, apart from the 'English connection' as a colony, I don't know a lot about history and the architecture.
Thank you so much, Alaine, for your introduction! Will take more time over the weekend to read again!
Best wishes for your weekend and
many greetings from the Périgord,

And also, merci beaucoup for the link to my post about the peonies! Can't tell you how much I appreciate this!

alaine@éclectique said...

Karin...thank you, so happy to show you some of our country!

The pleasure entirely mine, your post about the peony is so lovely.

Anonymous said...

It's so interesting to see these pictures. I visited Ballarat as a very small child with my family. I don't really remember anything except a vague memory of a ride on Puffing Billy, the little miners' steam engine, so your photos (and lovely painting) of the gold-rush area illuminate in more ways than one. The variety of facades on the buildings of Ararat is wonderful.

Somewhere, I still have my minute phial of gold dust from panning at Ballarat! ;)

Vagabonde said...

When I saw your picture of Ararat I was very surprised, then realized that it was in Australia. Then I was again surprised to see that it had not been named by an Armenian. I have known about Mt Ararat (in the Eastern Anatolian Region) seen a little child. “Mount Ararat has been revered by the Armenians as symbolizing their national identity. Ararat is the national symbol of the 1991 Republic of Armenia, being featured in the center of its coat of arms….. In Armenian mythology Mt. Ararat is the home of the Gods, much like Mt. Olympus is in Greek Mythology.” Your Ararat looks like an interesting town.

I also enjoyed your post on Rimini. I had not seen many of the sights you photographed. My girl friends and I spent the month of August, two years in a row, there, but we were mostly on the beach or partying…

alaine@éclectique said...

db...No child would forget a trip on Puffing Billy, which still runs between Ferntree Gully and Emerald. You most probably visited Kryal Castle (a town set up depicting the Gold Rush era) at Ballarat and panned for gold there. My children also panned for gold at Kryal Castle and I recently 'unearthed' some portraits of them done by an artist on the day we took them there.

alaine@éclectique said...

Vagabonde...I am aware of the original Mt Ararat story...perhaps the shape of the mountain here reminded Horatio Wills of it and so he named it.

Glad you liked the Rimini post and, it's not surprising that you girls stayed mainly around the beach! I'd like to spend more time looking around there but wouldn't do it in the summer because of the crowds that get there!

Maison de lin said...


that amazes me! It's so intersting!


alaine@éclectique said...

Maison de lin...thank you, Jérôme, lovely to hear from you!

ruma said...


 Lovely your works...
 The interchange of the artistry brings the peace of the heart.

 Thank you for your visit.
 Have a good weekend.

Greetings, and Dear hug.
from Japan.

alaine@éclectique said...

Ruma...Happy to hear from you, thank you for visiting.

Hugs from Australia,