School Excursions to

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill

A school excursion to Sovereign Hill gives your students one of the best ‘gold-rush era’ experiences available in Australia. This internationally renowned attraction is an open-air museum replicating the Ballarat goldfields as they were in the 1850’s.

General Activities

A day at Sovereign Hill is a day filled with fun and adventure. Discover all the action and excitement of life as it was in 1850s Ballarat during the greatest alluvial gold rush the world has ever seen.

Sovereign Hill is a living museum with working exhibits brought to life by costumed characters and over 40 horses. Set on 25 acres of an original mining site, Sovereign Hill is a goldfields town with shops, hotels, a theatre, schools, factories, a gold diggings and underground mines to explore.

Using the Sovereign Hill visitors map and timetable for the many shows and demonstrations, school groups can explore the town at their leisure, supervised by teachers and parent-helpers. Some activities must be pre-booked while others can be visited at any time.

Travel by tramway deep underground and experience life as a miner. You will be taken into the dark depths of the Sovereign Hill Quartz Mine and guided through a maze of tunnels. There in the cool darkness, you will visit the crib cuddy, meet the ‘Widow Maker’ and hear tales of untold riches.

Visit the Gold smelting works for an entertaining demonstration showing the processing of gold from discovery to the pouring of a spectacular gold ingot. At the Wheelwright and Coachbuilder shed, students watch skilled craftsmen make a hub and spokes and then assemble a coach wheel.

Watch the tinsmith at work making domestic items such as baking trays, scone and biscuit cutters, candleholders and lanterns. At the foundry students will see how metal household wares and even gold-pans were made. Ride in a Cobb and Co coach and imagine being held up by bushrangers.

See 19th century candle making machines in action at the Candle Works. Watch confectioners use original equipment and processes to make traditional boiled lollies. Visit the Apothecary – the chemist of the gold-rush era. The apothecary shop displays medical equipment and has a doctor’s surgery and herbal soaps, lotions, remedies and hairbrushes are all for sale. Buy a postcard and send it off with Sovereign Hill’s own postmark at the Sovereign Hill Post Office. There are plenty of souvenirs to choose from as a memento of your Sovereign Hill visit!

Facilitated Programs

Enhance learning outcomes for different age groups through creative, stimulating and interactive experiences.  Here’s a sample of some of the programs on offer for your students. 

Years 3 – 6

50 mins

Students experience aspects of daily life in the nineteenth century.

Years 3 – 6 

50 mins

Students explore the stories of gold rush immigrants and discover their reasons for coming and the legacies they left behind.

Years 3 – 6 

50 mins

Students experience aspects of 19th century Chinese culture and discuss the discrimination faced by the Chinese Diggers who came to Victoria.

Years 3 – 6 

50 mins

By dressing up as characters in the Eureka story and using Museum exhibits to create pictures of the key events of Eureka, students can make a book or slideshow at school. *Digital Camera required.

Years 5 – 6 

50 mins

Students join the ‘rush’ to One Eye Gully, re-living the highs and lows of gold fever. They role-play the varied experiences of the diggers, gold buyers and troopers and understand the frustrations that led to Eureka.

Years 5 – 6

90 mins

Students design and build a model to solve a real goldfields problem and explore simple machines. 

(90-minute session. $5 per student)

Years 5 – 6

50 mins

History might be a great place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there!

Years 5 – 10

50 mins

Explore the impacts of 19th century European colonisation on Victorian Aboriginal People.

Year 9

45 mins

Students experience Sovereign Hill’s collection of working steam engines to explore how the Industrial Revolution affected living and working conditions in Australia. They compare the strength of horse and muscle to the mighty steam engine.

Year 9

45 mins

How were the Chinese treated on the goldfields and what implications did this have for Federation? We suggest you book our Anti Chinese League activation as well! 

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Sovereign Hill’s new NIGHT-TIME SHOW: AURA - GOLD CHANGES EVERYTHING

Explore space, get close to an erupting volcano, delve into the Dreamtime, and relive Australia’s most important rebellion – all while travelling under the night sky. 

AURA combines 3D cinema, world-class projections and experiential storytelling to reveal how gold revolutionised Australia.

A multi-sensory experience nightly.

The Gold Museum

The Gold Museum extends Sovereign Hill’s story of Ballarat – a majestic provincial city built on the wealth derived from the great Australian gold rushes of the 1850s. Discover the beauty and power of gold as you view an impressive and valuable collection of gold nuggets, alluvial deposits, priceless gold artefacts and gold coins.

‘Ballarat: Inspired by Gold’ is a major exhibition presenting the story of Ballarat from its earliest days through to European settlement and the amazing impact of the gold rushes.

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Accommodation

If you are able to book at least two years in advance, there is great accommodation on-site at Sovereign Hill for school groups. The very popular Sovereign Hill Hotel offers comfortable bunkroom accommodation ideal for students. Due to its location and popularity it must be booked well in advance.

Alternatively there are other accommodation options in the township of Ballarat and our friendly team are happy to chat with you about accommodation options.

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