Friday, June 15, 2012

Child's Play at Sovereign Hill

One of the great things about visiting Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, in the middle of the week, is the presence of school groups all kitted out in their 1850s wear, and wandering Main Street to classes. Usually walking in their full group, the capes and long petticoats of the girls outfits are striking, and endearing.

The boys in their hats and cute half length pants. And then the teachers in their full dress outfits, and very stern demeanor.

The day I visited last month there were at least two groups on site, one a girls school and another a primary school aged class, whom I come across at a recess break out playing in the front yard of the one room school on the hill.

I am sure every kid who grew up in Ballarat has a memory of their few days learning about the life of the gold rush and the goldfields at Sovereign Hill, in addition to writing with ink and a quill, and playing with the old style toys and games. I remember our class being ordered by height to figure out the class levels within the single room classroom, as it would have ranged back in the day, and of course, being a shortie I was in a lower grade. One of the few advantages of being short when we were growing up, the tall kids had much stricter rules and handwriting expectations put on them, and ended up being part of the play-act of corporal punishment all too many times.

There are 4 schools on site, including the Ragged School for orphans, with the most iconic being the Red Hill National School. The other two being denominational schools, one of which was the beginnings of a current Catholic Ballarat primary school.

Everyday there is access to at least one school on site for visitors, where you can try your hand at the formal copperplate handwriting with ink and the old style proverbs! Another of my favourite activities was the old style bowling alley, which was still very much in action last month!

This is a post in a series to show off Ballarat's premier tourist attraction, for which I was provided a pass to enter Sovereign Hill for the day. The thoughts in this post, however, are entirely my own.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the Post on Sovereign Hill. It reminds me of my younger years when my parents took me there. I absolutely loved the place and still do. Nice article. Simon from


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