Confessions first up – I love Ballarat. It’s where my family came from, it’s where my Mum was born and all my lovely Aunties and Uncles and Cousins and second cousins – well, where I have been visiting family for my whole life.
So – now you have it. I like the place – a lot. From it’s now filled lake, to the wicked black swans, to the great white Arch of Victory…and all the humble plaques attached to the darkened trees on the Avenue of Honour.
I love the wisps of smoke that stand out grey against the dark pine trees of Soldiers Hill, and the way the rain goes sideways when it pelts down on Lydiard St.
And I can’t believe how blessed I am to be able to go into the Art Gallery and stand right there, in the quiet darkness, and gaze upon the Eureka Flag.
It has done nothing short of break my heart to watch this heritage slip away, the beautiful town be wilfully destroyed by a series of inept, thoughtless, gutless councillors who have sold the soul of this once magnificent city.
You can’t imagine, those of you who have never visited, how simply glorious were many of these gold rush homes, and stores. Their perfect and enormous proportions, endless lace work and deep bullnose verandahs and towers of bay windows and gardens! Oh the gardens! Gorgeous. Irreplaceable. And gone.
Oh, some have managed to cling on to life… so far.
Such as the Bishops Palace at 1444 Sturt St.
Isn’t she beautiful?
It must have been an act of God that has saved her from destruction.
She’s on the market again – by tender. Closes next month.
Let us all bow our heads and pray that she’ll live on a bit longer …and that the Chinese don’t buy her.