Saturday, August 20, 2011

American Author visits Ballarat in 1891

In 1891 Mark Twain stepped onto the platform of Ballarat's grand 
railway station where he penned
his timeless prose about Ballarat
and its newfound wealth. 

"Forty-five years ago the site now occupied by the
City of Ballarat was a sylvan solitude as quiet as
Eden and as lovely.  Nobody had ever heard of it.
On the 25th of August, 1851, the first great gold-
strike made in Australia was made here.  The
wandering prospectors who made it scraped up two pounds and a half of gold the first day - worth £600.  A few days later the place was a hive-a town.  The news of the strike spread everywhere in a sort of instantaneous way - spread like a flash to the very ends of the earth.  A celebrity so prompt and so universal has hardly been paralleled in history, perhaps.  It was as if the name BALLARAT had suddenly been written on the sky, where all the world could read it at once."

From 'Following the Equator'
by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

The fact that, during the 19th century, one of the world's most influential writers and one of its best-known singers, Dame Nellie Melba, were both drawn to Ballarat, is testament to the town's cultural heritage.

Dame Nellie Melba

With its wide boulevard planted with elm trees and lines with grand statues, you'll see evidence everywhere of Ballarat's spectacular rise from humble mining settlement to wealthy city.

Explore Ballarat today and you'll discover that history isn't confined to dusty old books and stuffy museums.  In Ballarat, there is a living and breathing history.  A history immersed in stories of romance and mystery.  A history steeped in legendary tales of tragedy and triumph. A history you can be part of every day.

Ballarat's Avenue of Honour

I'll be like a kid in a lolly shop when we move to Ballarat!

Source: BALLARAT, Victoria's Goldfields, Official Visitor Guide

P.S.  "Ballarat" came from "Balla" and "Arat", derived from Aboriginal words meaning elbow or reclining on the elbow (resting or camping) and place.


Steven Cain said...

The first I learned of civilization beyond the States was from Twain's 'Following the Equator' and 'The Innocents Abroad'. I never read anything more about it. Nor did I travel to see for myself. So, the places Twain visited have remained for me, exactly as he described them one hundred plus years ago.

alaine@éclectique said...'s good to see your blog back. I haven't read either of these books and will remedy that. A lot of the grand, old houses and buildings remain in Ballarat and I'm looking forward to researching them.

Maison de lin said...


Verry interesting blogspot. there is a little surprise on my blog for you.


alaine@éclectique said...

Jérome...thank you so much for thinking of me and including me in such lovely company! This really cheered me this morning, as I've been in tears with my husband so ill in hospital. Our plans for a new lease on life will be put on hold for a while...

akissfromthepast said...

i just love your blog header! thank you for commenting on my blog :) i will follow you too ;)

alaine@éclectique said...

akissfromthepast...thank you so much! I love the header pic too; we have a little dog exactly like the one on the boat!