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Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum presenting the story of Australia’s fabulous goldrush history. Its particular focus is the impact of the great 19th century gold discoveries on the growth of Ballarat, which was a small pastoral settlement when gold was discovered in 1851. By 1861, Ballarat had grown into a fine provincial city built on the wealth derived from its gold.
Since opening in November 1970, Sovereign Hill has become an Australian tourism icon, winning many major tourism awards. Today, Sovereign Hill attracts some 450,000 visitors each year and is known world wide as a living museum with a strong emphasis on working machinery and exhibits, costumed interpreters and visitor participation.
Sovereign Hill is administered by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association – a not-for-profit, community-based organisation. The Association is controlled by a Board elected by members and serving in a voluntary capacity. Management is in the hands of an Executive Director and professional staff. In all, some 350 people are employed, and their work is supported by over 250 volunteers who help bring the Outdoor Museum to life and assist the Gold Museum with its curatorial work and tour guiding.
Sovereign Hill occupies around 25 hectares of land. Half of this comprises the Outdoor Museum. The remainder is used for our evening sound and light show, ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’ and as paddocks for our working horses