ABN 57 934 755 725

Reg. No. A 0007322F

Welcome to the Ballarat Historical Society's research site

The Gold Museum

The Gold Museum is Ballarat's Regional Museum.
The Gold Museum houses a diverse range of historical collections including objects, archival records and photographs.

At present, the Gold Museum is closed for major redevelopment and is unable to welcome visitors or handle requests for research assistance. If you need access to any collection items please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we may be able to assist you.

This situation is only temporary and can we remind members that a large percentage of our collection is digitized and can be found by searching www.ehive.com or www.trove.com.au

Manager/Curator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gold Museum
Sovereign Hill Post Office
Ballarat Victoria 3350

The Gold Museum Collections

  • Jessica and Paul Simon Gold Collection - 900 gold coins, alluvial samples.
  • Ballarat Historical Society Collection - includes around 2500 photographs, miscellaneous documents, and artefacts associated with Ballarat history.
  • Social History Collection - A collection of material relating to Ballarat's history. Includes some business records, mining records, a small collection of personal papers and material associated with Ballarat events and organisations. Collections represented include: the Beggs family archive, Ballarat Industrial Exhibitions, the Avenue of Honour, the Ballarat Music Lovers Club and the Ballarat Orphanage.
  • Anott-Rogers Chinese Collection - 2500 items of Chinese decorative art, textiles, costume and photographs collected in China around 1900.
  • FitzGerald Postcard Collection - 30,000 postcards including special focus on Ballarat, World War One, history of world tourism, Australian card series.
  • Adam Lindsay Gordon Collection - documents, photos and memorabilia originally displayed in the cottage in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens until the 1980s.
  • The Sovereign Hill Museums Association Archives - large collection of photos, files and published material on the history of Sovereign Hill from 1960s to present day.
  • Rare Book Collection - large collection of historical publications focussing on gold rush history.
  • Bolte Collection - collection of items presented to Sir Henry Bolte who served as Premier of Victoria from 1955 - 1972.
  • Pern Collection - significant Aboriginal and Pacific Island artefacts on loan from the Ballarat City Council.
  • Pioneer Chair Collection - primitive handmade Australian chairs and related furniture.
  • Eureka Collection - small collection of artefacts, memorabilia and books relating to the 1854 Eureka Stockade Uprising
  • Costume Collection - a signifiicant collection including domestic, work wear, bridal, debutante and uniforms.
  • Business and Community archives - holdings of company records of Ballarat based businesses including John Valves, Walter Davis, Ballarat Region Girl Guides, Ballarat Orphanage and Ballarat National Theatre.
  • Personal records - Beggs Family papers (Eurambeem), Jessie Scott (first female Mayor of Ballarat), Bert Strange archives, Peter Cox Collection.


Ballarat Archive Centre, PROV

Cnr Mair& Doveton Sts.
Phone 03 5333 6611
The Ballarat Archive Centre office (PRO) is open Monday and Tuesday 9.30 - 4.30. It holds shipping records, local rate books, indexes to Inquests, Probate/Wills, Will Transcripts (wills probated before early 1920s) Vic. BD.'S, court records, maps and many other records. Records include those of the courts, local government, district land and police offices, mining registrars and wardens.



Genealogical Society

The Ballarat & District Genealogical Society's (B.D.G.S.) Collection of microfiche, books etc. are stored in the "Australiana Reference Room" - Ballarat Central Library, 178 Doveton St. Nth, Ballarat.
Resources are available for public access during library hours. Monday - Friday 9.30-5.00 and Sunday 1.15-4.00.

The Ballarat Courier and Star (newspapers) are on microfilm. There is access to Ballarat Directories, some electoral rolls (1900s), BDM's for all states of Australia, probate index, some school records and church records, Ballarat & surrounding district cemeteries, headstones and/or register transcriptions, Ballarat Hospital Admission registers, and more.
Ballarat & District Genealogical Society Inc.


Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact the Secretary:

Phone: 0467 241 352

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PO Box 1809 Bakery Hill Mail Centre, Victoria, Australia 3354





The Central Highlands Regional Library Corporation

The Australiana Research Room is located within the Ballarat City Library. The collection features a large holding of Australiana, monographs, genealogical resources, local newspapers, historic photographs as well as an art history collection and the J. Farringdon-Davis military history collection. A further useful resource is the street directories for the Ballarat area from 1857-1907. It must be noted that not all years are available. Microfiche/film copies are available and CD-ROM records may be downloaded to a disc purchased from the library.
CD-ROM's: Victoria: Pioneers Index 1837-1888, Federation Index 1889-1901, Edwardian Index 1902-1913, Great War Index 1914-1920, Death Index 1921-1985, Inquest Index 1840-1985,
Immigration to Victoria 1852-1879 (Index to Inward Passenger Lists, British & Foreign Ports. Does not include Assisted Passengers from Britain or those arriving from New Zealand), Index from Baptismal, Marriage, Burial/Death records from Ballarat & surrounding areas,
Tasmania: Tasmanian Convicts (Complete list from the original records)
The library holds all editions of the Ballarat Courier newspaper from its commencement in 1867. Most issues are available in microfilm format, though some are still maintained in bound volumes. Further newspapers held include editions of the Argus, Buninyong Telegraph, Ballarat Star, Ballarat Times and the Creswick/Clunes Advertiser. Numerous other local papers are also available.
A large collection of historic photographs is also held comprising images of Ballarat steet scapes, buildings and industry dating back to the mid 1800s.

Resources are available for public access during library hours. Monday - Friday 9.30am-6.00.pm, Saturday 9.30am -1pm and Sunday 1.15pm-4.00pm.
178 Doveton St. Nth,
Phone 03 5331 1211



Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute

There are many books, which have been collected over the years that have become important references. These include books on the early history of Ballarat and district mining records. Some of these volumes are very valuable, as well as being fragile, and so there may be limited access to the reference collection.
Included are: Dickers mining record, State government proceedings. Newspapers: Ballarat Star, Ballarat Courier, Melbourne Argus, The Australasian.

The Mechanics' Institute is open weekdays from 9.30 am to 4.30pm and Saturday mornings 9 am - 12 noon.

Ballarat History Central
The Ballarat history Central web site has been specifically set up as an alternative local history resource. It has been designed to appeal to anyone interested in history in general, and local history in particular.
117 Sturt St.
Phone 03 5331 3042



Researching Ballarat Place Names

The Historical Society receives a number of inquiries each year about the origin of place names around the region. It is not always easy finding out why a town, suburb or street was named in a particular way. The society is fortunate to have a couple of handwritten indexes to the origin of street names in Ballarat, one being compiled by Nathan Spielvogel. These indexes are housed in the Gold Museum (See contact information elsewhere on this website). Since the passing of the Geographic Place Names Act 1998, the process of naming locations has been more locally based with the Ballarat City Council. The responsible officer can be contacted at the City Council on (03) 5320 5500.

Official registers of geographic place names are maintained by various State and Federal Government authorities. A national project to bring these databases together is being conducted by Macquarie University under the title of the Australian National Placenames Survey (ANPS). Volunteers working for the survey have been investigating the naming of numerous places around Ballarat with a view to contributing the information to a national database. The information initially forms part of the Victorian Register of Geographic Names

More information about the ANPS can be found at their website at www.anps.mq.edu.au You can contact them through Macquarie University in Sydney . (Telephone: (02)98508240 or write to Susan Poetsch, ANPS, Div. of Humanities, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney. 2109. Email contact details are given on the website)

There are some other interesting websites that can be consulted when researching place names. Sites recommended in the ANPS Newsletter include the Geoscience National Gazetteer which can be accessed at www.ga.gov.au/map/names/ 
Another site, The Gazetteer of Australia can be found at: www.auslig.gov.au/mapping/names/natgaz.htm This has 274.000 
geographic names. The ANPS website includes many other links to relevant websites for Australia and New Zealand . The main Victorian Place names site is http://www.vicnames.vic.gov.au . This site outlines the naming procedures and gives you access to the existing database of registered names.



Research Sites in General

(Genealogy - The Complete Resource Guide)

www.sag.org.au (Over 70 years of family history manuscripts registered here)

www.familysearch.org (Church of the Latter day Saints, International data base)




Friends of the Anson Museum

Friends of the Anson is a volunteer group trying to preserve and restore an Avro Anson. The Museum is open most weekends - Saturday/Sunday 1- 5 pm. or by appointment. Photographs and documents tell the story of the History of the Ballarat Airport. 

The Avro Anson enjoyed one of the longest production runs of any British aircraft, this status being maintained from 1934 until 1952 when the last Anson mark T.21 completed its acceptance trials.

If you would like to be involved in the restoration of the Avro Anson or if you are interested in learning the history of the airport and would like to visit the Museum, phone Alan Penhall on: (03) 5332 4651

Contacting the Society

Please address correspondence to:

The Secretary
Ballarat Historical Society Inc.
P.O.Box 2292
Bakery Hill VIC 3354


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Research of the Society's collections is by appointment
with the Curator
h: (03) 5337 1107