About Me

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
In 2012 I moved back to my home town of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. Join me as I re-discover Ballarat, one of Victoria's largest inland cities, famous for the Goldfields. You may be a resident, tourist or new comer to Ballarat. I hope to provide you with useful information about Ballarat as I re-discover my home town. I will also provide information on places which are a short drive from Ballarat. So residents and visitors come and discover Ballarat with me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013 City of Ballarat Christmas Street Party - Friday 6th December 5.30pm to 8.30pm

Christmas Street Party 2012
FREE family activities and stage entertainment; tasty food options plus of course plenty of Christmas atmosphere!

Kids Activities include Christmas Bag Making, Festive Biscuit Decorating, Finger Puppet Decorating, Reindeer Hat Making, Christmas Mask Decorating, Letters to Santa…and much much more.

Enjoy Live Music, Ballarat Centre of Music & the Arts Dance Group, The Kazoos and one of Santa’s favourite kids entertainment groups…the Mighty Buzzniks!

Dress as your favourite Christmas Character for your chance to win spot prizes.

Shop at the Pop Up Shop Ballarat which will be open during this event.

Location:  Camp Street, Ballarat

Pop Up Shop Ballarat

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gold Rush Mini Golf & The Amazing Mill Markets - Ballarat

Hole in one!
This week, my gorgeous family of four visited Gold Rush Mini Golf and The Amazing Mill Markets.  Mini Golf is a great family activity and at Gold Rush Mini Golf, they have both an indoor and outdoor course (both 18 holes), so that you can play regardless of the weather.  I can proudly say that I scored the best this time round and my 6 year old Sean got a hole in one!
The indoor course can get a little scarey for the youngsters with it's glow in the dark parts, big gorilla, dinosaurs and pirattes, but we just encouraged our almost 2 year old to go on and we helped her have her turns.  I am looking forward to better weather to use the outside Gold Rush course this Summer.  It looks great.

Did you know that Gold Rush Mini Golf also has an Arcade room, outdoor seating with BBQ facilities, function/conference room and 30 seat cafe with fire place?  Well it does!  Plus they also provide tourist information for those visiting Ballarat.
Once we left Mini Golf, we walked across the gravel road to the Amazing Mill Markets where they have Australia's largest mix of collectables, retro fashions, antiques, vintage, industrial, art & home decor and jewellery.  I was amazed and interested at the things we saw.  In some stalls, it was like stepping back in time. There are so many stalls all undercover and they even have a cafe if you want to spend some time there. I came home with a nice little piece for my coffee table and I will definetly go back there again. 

If you are interested in visiting, here are the details:

The Amazing Mill Markets - Ballarat
9367 Western Hwy, Warrenheip
Ph: (03) 5334 7877     http://www.millmarkets.com.au/

Next Door is Gold Rush Mini Golf  Ph: (03) 5334 8150   http://www.goldrushgolf.com.au/

Friday, August 2, 2013

Family Book Lunch by Learning that's Fun - Sunday 4th August 13 (2-3pm)

A visit to the Jack 'n' Jill Children's Market - July 13

It was a rainy day, but that did not stop residents and visitors from visiting the Jack 'n' Jill Children's Market last weekend at St. Patricks Hall, Ballarat.  I bribed the kids so I could do my 'bloggy' thing. I said, "If you are good and let mummy do her 'work', I will get you Maccas and let you play on the playground".  That seemed to work just nicely.

The Jack 'n' Jill Children's Market is full of gorgeous handmade, unique and boutique children's products.  We had a nice time wondering and browsing.  It was so clear, the time and effort that is placed into making these products.  I picked up a few goodies for myself and enjoyed speaking to the lovely business owners who were more than happy to share information on their craft.  The vast product range is a great credit to the market coordinators. It is nice to go to a market that has variety.

I took so many photo's at the market.  It has been lot's of fun going through them all and picking out the best.  I hope you enjoy. 

Sammi's Hand Made Hair Accessories
Featuring a wide range of character & non character hair accessories for your princess
HOT PRODUCT!  No not my son Sean, the Kutter!
Kiddies Food Kutter - "The knife that Cuts Food Not Fingers"
Safety Food Peeler also coming soon - order now!
PVC Covered Nappy Wallet with detachable change mat.
Boy, Girl and Neutral Fabrics Available
Kids polar fleeced lined jeans & matching jumper by Fionsy Few Clothes
Personalised Super Hero Capes by Fionsy Few Clothes
Roma Lily Handmade by Alisa
Original, one of a kind children's gifts...wall arts, cushions, softies and personalised products
Play! Fun for little ones
Making fun handmade things for little ones.
Spots on Blocks
Decorative blocks.  They are gorgeous!  Large range of patterns available
Spots on Blocks
Customised blocks.  Add your favourite photo and choose a pattern.  Great gift idea!
Carman and Craven
Unique paper crafts, cards and gifts
Carman and Craven
Unique paper crafts, cards and gifts
Jewellery made for mummas to wear and babies to chew.

NEXT MARKET - Sunday 13th October 2013 (10am to 4pm)
                          St.Patricks Hall, Cnr of Sturt St & Daswson St Ballarat 

Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/JacknJillChildrenMarket

More more information on holding a stall at this market email:  jacknjillchildrensmarket@gmail.com

All photos were taken with permission and remain the property of 'Discover My Ballarat'.  Every effort has been made to acknowledge all artists/designers of the above products correctly.  If you know of any errors, please email discovermyballarat@hotmail.com  Thank-you to Glenda for welcoming me to the market.  I enjoyed talking with the stall owners, it was great to meet you all.  Unfortunately I cannot list all stall owners on my blog.  However, I may see you at another market.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

'Learning that's Fun' Book Launch - Sunday 4th August 2013 at 2pm

Dear readers, you're invited to the 'Learning that's Fun' Book Party Launch at Eastwood Leisure Complex (20 Eastwood Street, Ballarat) on Sunday 4th August 2013 from 2 - 3.30pm.

Written by Louise Jones, this self-funded, self-published book 'Learning that's Fun', is a small book with a BIG message.  A message that we can all find joy & learning opportunities in everyday life. Tutoring can be expensive and every child's needs are different. Sometimes the system just lets us down.  This book tells personal stories, provides real life examples and simple, low cost, easy ideas and activities to make learning fun at home!

On the day of the book launch, enjoy:

Earl Leonard - Music for Kids Show
Goodie Bags
Snacks & Drinks
Discounted copies of the book on the day!

For an exclusive 20% off online discount on the book Click here

For more information you can go to:

Website: www.blossomlearning.com.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/learningthatsfun

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lkbusija/learning-that-s-fun/

School Holiday Idea - Happy Jacks Play World

I had a lovely afternoon at Happy Jacks Play World with the two kids today.  My son quickly made friends and got lost in the playground having a ball.  My youngest daughter had a play in the toddler play area for (0-3 years) and then went head first down the Jumping Castle slide.  Little dare devil.  She laughed all the way down.  Next, I took her down the big slide and the child in me came out.  We had to do it again!

If you want to have some fun with the kids indoors during the winter weather or are visiting Ballarat, it is always nice to pop into Happy Jacks Play World for a play and a bite to eat in their cafe.

Location:  1 Icon Drive, Delacombe

Phone:  (03) 5332 0146

Website:  www.happyjacksplay.com.au

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Another day in Ballarat on a quest for discovery - Guest Post by Craig Thatcher

A regular follower of 'Discover My Ballarat', Craig Thatcher was back in Ballarat to visit us again.  What did he get up to this time?

Another day in Ballarat on a quest for discovery

This time around we discovered Kryal Castle. On the rainy day that it was, the jousting was cancelled so a weapons display was set into the program. It was quite good, and all the kids loved it, but I must admit the visit was not quite what I had expected. To be honest, I felt that Kryal Castle is targeted towards children, more than adults. The characters were playing with the kids in sword fights and having a ball doing it I would say. The fun for the adults came in the form of a “pull apart table”.  In fact I had the pleasure of making my best friend several inches taller, by tying ropes to her arms and legs and then yanking. Lots of fun and highly recommend it!

To fill the rest of the day we decided to visit M.A.D.E (Museum Australian Democracy & Eureka). It was absolutely brilliant and the learning experience was just fantastic. The voyage starts with the Eureka uprising, and follows through time looking at the greatest speeches ever spoken including Nelson Mandela, Enid Lyons, Winston Churchill, Paul Keating, Martin Luther King and so many more. Its all based around one single premise and delivers in immensely powerful images and thought provoking words. The original Eureka flag is also on display.  Returned to it’s home and birthplace. It’s quite fitting as M.A.D.E is build on the site the Eureka rebellion, and the flag takes centre stage in a darkened room and glass case. It’s quite humbling to think of what the flag represents and the event that the flag was the centrepiece to. I found myself sitting there just looking at it, thinking of the history and significance of it. It’s quite a powerful thing to be in the presence of. Sadly nearly 40% is now missing. Over the years the flag had been chopped up and the pieces given away like a trophy to friends of the family who owned it. What is left has been preserved quite literally thread by thread and saved for the rest of it’s days.  If you are pondering a day in Ballarat then M.A.D.E must be on the to do list. It’s just brilliant! 

Last but not least we finished the day at the Golden City Hotel in Sturt Street. It's the fifth time I have been there as the food is perfect every time and the atmosphere is just great. Meals range from the “parma” to the most exquisitely presented meat dishes. It’s really hard to beat and it won’t break the bank. The perfect way to end a visit to Ballarat. 

Every time we visit it gets harder to leave and one day we won’t.  With any luck it will be sooner than later. We love exploring the area which is so rich in history and beauty. It is rapidly becoming a place to call home.

 Author - Craig Thatcher - 18 June 13

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Next Jack n Jill Children's Market in Ballarat - July 28th (10am - 4pm)

The next Jack n Jill Children's Market is to be held on Sunday 28th July 2013 from 10am to 4pm at St.Patricks Hall, Cnr Sturt & Dawson Street, Ballarat.  Selling high quailty handmade items.  Over 40 plus stallholders for the July market!! Free entry.  Fundraisers from 'Support 4 Cancer' will be there raising money to support children dealing with cancer.  A raffle will also be held on the day to raise money.  Win a cot quilt!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Welcome Fairy Bella to Ballarat!

Welcome Fairy Bella to Ballarat!

How did you move into the area of performing at children's parties?
I grew up with my family in Perth and from a young age I developed a love for performing. I started working in a Fairy Shop that hosted parties and was constantly asked by parents about doing 'at home' parties. After discovering that there was quite a big market for this kind of entertainment I decided to start up a little business of my own. After just appearing at a few parties, word began to spread and with very little advertising my name began to grow just through word of mouth. After developing quite a following Perth, this year I moved to Ballarat to continue my studies in Performing Arts, and so Fairy Bella has moved with me!

What do you love about children's parties?
I feel so privileged to be asked into people's homes to help them celebrate their special occasions. The parties I remember most as a child are the intimate parties created at home with love by my parents, and I aim to help make these moments even more special.

What do your parties involve?
A child's imagination is so special and my aim is to help keep the magic real for as long as I can. My Fairy Parties are full of singing, dancing, magic, games and many more surprises. Through years of experience I have developed a program that keeps children entertained, but I will also work closely with each parent to make sure I create a unique party for each special event.  Whilst I specialise in Fairy Parties, I also offer Ballerina Parties for older children (5+) and I offer face painting.

How can parents contact you?
My website is www.fairybellaperth.webs.com 
Contact number:  0430 407 293

Facebook Page - Click Here

Nicole (Fairy Bella)

Photo used with permission from Nicole (Fairy Bella)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Visiting Sovereign Hill by Craig Thatcher

Thank-you to my regular blog follower Craig Thatcher who wrote this post for you all on his recent visit to Sovereign Hill. Enjoy!

Today I had a very special experience at Sovereign Hill Ballarat. We were able to participate in the “Make Cancer History Walk" which was a 2km or 4km walk around Sovereign Hill and Blood on the Southern Cross.  Walking around Blood on the Southern Cross was such a very special experience that very few have ever had the chance to experience by day.  I'm so glad that we were given the opportunity, especially with all the proceeds going towards cancer cures.

I have been to Sovereign Hill twice before and once to Blood on the Southern Cross just a few months ago.  Each time I have had very special experiences for different reasons. This time was different! Not only did we have that very special experience in Blood on the Southern Cross, but also undertook a great amount of learning of where Sovereign hill started and how many volunteers give up two weeks a year of their to be part of it for no other reason than they love to be part of the history behind it, and enjoy the friendships they have made there.

During our visit we went into the candle making shop, where young children were learning something that is not commonly taught in schools these days. They had plain candles pre-made for them and were able to learn about prime colours and how when combined, can make another colour. I remember doing this when I was in primary school, and thought it was wonderful that this basic thing was being taught again.  These kids loved every moment. 

I came across “Lizzy” the peacock who found a warm place in front of the fire in the cafĂ©, much to the delight of the kids that were around, and if I’m honest to my wife and I too. 

I met a volunteer who talked about the costs associated with the day to day running of the site. He mentioned that from the $47 admission fee, only $1 is revenue above the day to day costs which knocked me for six. To be honest, like a lot of people I would have thought it was a money making machine, but the whole thing is run “not for profit” and everything goes towards the cost of preserving history. I know that from today, the next time I visit and hand over my hard earned money I will look at it in a very different manner.

Sovereign Hill to me is a place of history, comradeship, spirit and education. It represents something that should be preserved forever and never to be compromised. The history in this wonderful outdoor museum is very special and to walk through Ballarat, it is obvious that the city has never forgotten and not likely to forget anytime soon. It should be remembered by all Australians as all other fights in history have been, to preserve our freedom and rights in our everyday lives. Sovereign Hill represents all of these things to me and so much more. It will be something I will pass on to my kids when the day comes and hopefully they will do the same with theirs as well. It is the most wonderful experience and a humbling journey of discovery for every person who enters the gates to re-live one of our most important times in our history. 

Author - Craig Thatcher - 26 May 13

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ballarat Heritage Weekend (11-12 May 2013)

Explore the heritage of our city this weekend, as our beautiful town opens its doors to some of our best heritage buildings.  Enjoy tours and an array of entertainment.

For a full list of tours and entertainment, you can pick up a an official event program from the Town Hall or Phoenix Building.  You can also visit the website:  www.ballaratheritageweekend.com

Margaret's Pick - Horse Trams at Ballarat Botanical Gardens, Wendouree (Sunday 11am - 4pm).  Charges apply.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka - LAUNCHES THIS WEEKEND! 4-5 May 13

This weekend (4-5 May 13) the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) launches, with free entry and activities all weekend!  Enjoy a series of speakers, a BBQ, kids activities, stage performances and of course, the museum.  Bookings are required to listen to the range of speakers on offer.  See the website link below.

Location:  Corner of Stawell Street Sth & Eureka Street, Ballarat

Museum Opening Times:  10am - 5pm

For more information on the Launch Weekend visit:

Ballarat & Queen's Old Grammarians' Association Progressive Dinner - 22 June 2013

I had never heard of a Progressive Dinner until now.  Apparently, each course of the meal is held at a different venue. A very interesting concept indeed.

Here are the details of the Ballarat & Queen's Old Grammarians' Association Progressive Dinner which I have been asked to share with you all.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's on this weekend? (6-7 April 13)


Discover what a rural lifestyle has to offer!  See exhibitors from the main categories including:
  • Construction
  • Farm Animals
  • Organic / Garden
  • Government and Advisory
  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Sustainability
  • Plants, Seeds and Pasture
  • Food & Wine
Lot's to see and do!

Time:     9.30am - 5pm
Venue:   Ballarat Showgrounds, Cnr of Howitt Street & Creswick Road, Wendouree
Entry:    Adults - $10, Pensioner - $5, 16 Years and Under - Free entry

For more information: http://rurallifestyleexpo.org.au/

BALLARAT LEGO® FAN EXHIBITION (6th - 7th April 2013)

Enjoy a variety of LEGO® themes and view huge creations built by Ryan McNaught, one of only thirteen certified LEGO® professionals worldwide.  Get hands on with a giant brick pile and help build a large city.

Sessions start on the hour to ensure flow through the exhibition, but once you are in, you can stay as long as you wish.  Online bookings are recommended to avoid disappointment.  Only a limited number of tickets available at the door.

Time:      9am - 4pm (last session at 4pm)
Venue:    Ballarat & District Trotting Club at Bray Raceway, Cnr of Bell & Sutton Street, Redan. Enter car park via Bell Street, north side of raceway.
Tickets:  $35  Family Block (2 Adult &  3 Children), $10  Single (18 +), $ 8 Child/Concession (4 to    17).  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Free entry for children under 4 and for Carer Card holders.

Purchase Tickets online:  www.trybooking.com/43880

For more information:  http://insidethebrick.com/2013/02/25/ballarat2013/

LEGO®is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies


Sunday 7th April 2013 (8am - 1pm) - Ballarat Market (formerly Trash & Trivia Market)
Ballarat Showgrounds - Cnr of Howitt Street & Creswick Road, Wendouree
Entry by Gold Coin Donation
Huge variety of stalls on offer.  Something for everyone!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Harmony Fest - 24th March 13 (12 - 5pm)

This Sunday 24th March 13, Ballarat will host Harmony Fest at Alfred Deakin Place, Campt Street Ballarat from 12-5pm).  It is a celebration of cultural diversity and what brings us together in our community.  Entertainment, international food, workshops, demonstrations, children's activities and markets will all feature.

For a full list of events on the day visit this site: http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/events/harmonyfest.aspx


Upcoming Markets the Weekend (22- 24 March 13)

Here is a list of some of the markets that will be happening here in Ballarat this weekend:

Friday 22nd March 2013 (5 - 8pm) at Urquhart Park Primary School
49 Inkerman Street, Ballarat
Entry by gold coin donation in Russell Street.
Jumping Castle, Sausage Sizzle, Giant Slide, Lucky dips, Photobooth, Bric a brac, Cakes, Plants, Craft and much more!

Saturday 23rd March 2013 (9am - 2pm) - The Designer Craft Market at Buninyong
Buninyong Town Hall - Learmonth St (A300) Buninyong
High quality handcrafted items by local talented designers and artists.

Saturday 23rd March 2013 (9am - 1pm) - Ballarat Lakeside Farmers Market
Windmill Drive, Lake Wendouree
A true authentic farmers market with most stallholders playing a part in the production process.

Sunday 24th March 2013 (8am - 1pm) - Ballarat Market (formerly Trash & Trivia Market)
Ballarat Showgrounds - Creswick Rd, Wendouree
Entry by Gold Coin Donation
Huge variety of stalls on offer.  Something for everyone!

Happy Marketing!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Images from Kryal Castle

On the Labour Day Weekend, I visited Kryal Castle with my family.  I bring to you some images from Kryal Castle.  The highlight of our visit was the Jousting Tournament.  A must see!

 New Look Castle Entry 

 Medieval Decorations

 Kids Playground

 Chapel - Perfect for Weddings

 Jousting Tournament

 A knight on his horse

 Another knight on his horse

 Winner of the tournament

Kryal Castle's Maze

For information about Kryal Castle visit: http://kryalcastle.com.au/

Location:  121 Forbes Rd, Leigh Creek (Ballarat) VIC 3352

©  All images remain the property of Margaret Benoit of Discover My Ballarat