Ballarat, a city of Victoria, New South Wales, next to Melbourne and Sydney the largest town of Australia, situated at an elevation of 1,437 ft. above the sea, 66 m. W. N. W. of Melbourne. It is divided into Ballarat West and Ballarat East, separated by the Yarowee creek. Ballarat West was erected into a city in September, 1870; pop. in 1871, 40,651 (of whom 1,500 were Chinese), and with the surrounding district, 74,260. The town owes its rapid growth to being the centre of perhaps the richest gold-bearing district of the world. The public buildings in 1871 comprised a spacious hospital erected on high ground, an orphan asylum, a benevolent asylum, a public bath, a free public library, a theatre, eight banks, three town halls, and 56 churches. In the same year Ballarat had four daily newspapers. Gold was first discovered in Ballarat in June, 1851; in December, 1855, it was proclaimed a municipality. Some of the gold mines were in 1871 as deep as some of the coal pits in England, with horses employed in them, and worked by expensive steam machinery. In all it was estimated that there were on the Ballarat gold fields 215 engines of 6,461 horse power engaged in surface mining, and 140 engines of 3,390 horse power used in quartz mining.
The district around Ballarat is also well suited for farming purposes.