Before Europeans first arrived in the region in 1837, the Ballarat area was home to at least 25 Aboriginal tribes known as the Wathaurong (Wadawurrung) people that formed part of the Kulin Nation of Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal words ‘balla arat’, meaning ‘resting place’ or ‘bent elbow’, were believed to be the origin of the name ‘Ballarat’, used by Scottish settler Archibald Buchanan Yuille.
Ballarat became famous when the first discovery of gold was made public on 2 August 1851. Miners from all over the world descended on the region. Then, on 3 December 1854, Ballarat experienced Australia’s only armed civil uprising as miners protested new licensing laws. The rebellion, known as the Eureka Rebellion, resulted in the deaths of 22 miners and 5 troopers.
Here are a selection of items about Ballarat from the NFSA collection.