My hometown has this amazing, giant, interactive, open air museum that most people think is a theme park (I've thought that in the past). It's a museum dedicated to life on the Victorian goldfields, specifically in Ballarat, during the period of the 1850s.This was a pretty radical time in Australian society. Indigenous people had their way of life savagely and irreversibly interrupted by European settlers who plundered the country for all sorts of resources. The discovery of gold caused a massive population influx to Ballarat, and a great boom of wealth and poverty. The goldfields were a hard place to live, and this museum captures the daily lives, the political climate, the smell of horse poop and the claustrophobia of the time.
While listening to all the different ways people on the goldfield could die, you can enjoy delicious sweet treats from the lolly store including amazing hard boiled treats and fudge. There are several delicious bakeries on site, a few pubs/bars, a theatre with live shows, horse rides on the main streets, live bands, mine tours, working machines puffing and whirring, live gold pours and real life gold panning.
This is the main street where people dressed in period attire wander around talking to visitors and asking and answering questions, all the while staying in character.
Dress: Review Australia
Cardigan: Laura Ashley
Bag: Cath Kidston
There are a few houses off the main street that you can explore to see what the home life of wealthier residents would have been like, as well as a couple of schools and a horse and cart manufacturer. From what we could tell, it looks like the museum actually services working horse and carts from around the state.
There was a special theme while we were at the museum which was all about marvellous machines. Staff donned these amazing, steampunk, puppet costumes and performed a play for all of the visitors.
This is me panning for gold. You are allowed to keep any gold you find and we got quite a few specks. It was a really fun day. If you ever get to Ballarat, you must check it out.