Dec 8, 2011

exploring Ballan

We will soon be living in Regional Victoria, to be precise, the town of Ballan - a small agricultural and pastoral township situated on the Werribee River only 78 kms north west of Melbourne.

map below shows where Ballan is situated in relation to Melbourne:

The town blooms in March for the Ballan Autumn Festival or if you have an interest in vintage machinery we have heard there is a Vintage Machinery and Vehicle Rally in February. 

... and guess what? Ballan boasts a mineral spring which is open all year round, just a shame there is no swimming pool "open all year round".

So here I am sitting in Singapore contemplating the big move back to Australia .... well not just to Australia, but to this tiny little village named Ballan.  Its going to be a huge 'life change' for us both and we will miss our lifestyle and our friends here in Singapore too. But times do change and we do need to move back to Australia and as we own property in Ballan, it is sensible that we move there.

How we feel about living there will have to wait till we actually arrive.  We know no-one and we know what its like to be the 'rubber necks' of a small country town. We have been through this before when we lived in Bairnsdale ...... way over on the east side of Victoria with a far greater population  than what Ballan has. We lived in Bairnsdale for 5 years and we were still considered 'new people' the day we left!

In the meantime, I sit here in Singapore after spending most of the day at the ArtScience Museum, lunch at Marina Bay Sands and then a wander around Little India with a visit to my dressmaker. Last week I was in Halong Bay, wandering the streets of Hanoi and trekking in the mountains around Sapa  .... I realise my life is going to be so very, very different. 

I have been googling everything I can on BALLAN and whats on, where to go, what to see, whats available and what time the stores are open!!!

One of the first things I am learning is about the history of Ballan....

Now I am not laying claim to any knowledge on Ballan, so while I sit here in my warm sunroom in Singapore, I have to rely on what is available on GOOGLE!

So thanks to all that over the years have added to the web, bits about Ballan. For without that, I doubt we would have even heard of Ballan!!
The area around Ballan was part of the tribal area of the Wautharong people, part of the Kulin nation. The area was rich in fauna including kangaroo, kangaroo rats, bandicoots, dingos, and two species of native cat. Many species had vanished by the end of the nineteenth century, with European settlement.

The first European settlers crossed Bass Strait landing near Geelong and worked their way up the Moorabool River with their sheep flocks. Robert von Steiglitz first settled the area in 1838, who named the area after Ballan in Ireland. Other early settler names included Covvie, Stead, Wallace and Egerton.

Gold was found in the area in 1851 which brought an influx of prospectors during the Victorian Gold Rush. The Ballan Hotel dates from the gold rush period in 1851. The town became an important staging point for coaches traveling to the Ballarat goldfields. The Post Office in the township opened around September 1853 although there were two earlier offices in the area named Ballan.

Ballan Primary School was established on 8 January 1855.

The first Mechanics' Institute in Ballan was built in 1861, with the current Mechanics' Institute built on land purchased in 1881, although the fa├žade was demolished and rebuilt in 1922. The building houses the library for the town and a hall.

St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Ballan was officially opened in July 1866.
To the south of Ballan are the Brisbane Ranges National Park and the You Yangs Forest Park, both of these areas we have explored in the past and are looking forward to exploring again on our return.

There will be many cycling trips or trekking around the Lerderderg State Park, Werribee Gorge State Park, Brisbane Ranges or even in the Wombat Forest, all close by to Ballan.

These are the things we can look forward to as well. Then of course there is our photography ..... we know a little of whats around the area now and we know there are many beautiful places in which we can meander around with our camera's and hopefully be able to replace all the images on this page that have been (shamefully) lifted off the internet.

But again, thanks to those that have freely added these to the web so that people like ourselves all over the world can see what the area is really like!

We certainly hope to be able to continue with our Social Media engagements, to encourage others to explore the area's of Ballan, Wallace, Millbrook, Egerton, Gordon, Myrniong, Greendale or anywhere along the M8. Including the restaurants, the wineries, the galleries and the festivals.

But time will tell.

In the meantime we are on the lookout for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, or any other place I can blog about .... so if anyone knows of such a place along the M8 do please contact me.

Though I have found one to keep us both very happy, well in particular John, as I am sure they must already know him according to their website they actually say:

"The Ballan Tandoori is one of the finest places for those which thinks that their belly rules the mind."

They must be OK , they have ROTI and Parantha on the menu, but I don't see Teh Halia.  Well that's the first place we will be eating at and of course blogging about  ..... lets see if the food matches the belly!

There is a Facebook page for people that live anywhere along the M8 (Western Freeway). Please feel free to link to this so we can share what's on, anywhere around the M8 (Western Freeway) which covers the district from Ballarat to Baccus Marsh.

Along the Western Freeway (the M8)

some useful weblinks in and around Ballan, Victoria, Australia:

Ballan Tandoori Indian Restaurant

do click on the FOLLOW button so we can explore the area's around Ballan together.

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