In the early hours of December the
3rd, 1854 police and soldiers combined forces and marched from the Government Camp to the
Eureka Stockade. To avoid detection they marched along established goldfield walking
trails and typically followed gullies, rivers and hills. Upon arrival they attacked miners
who had taken up arms and formed a stockade in defence of, amongst other grievances, their
refusal to pay a license fee that they believed to be excessive.
The violent battle that took place was brief but remains a
significant and powerful event in Australian history.
The route taken by the Government Forces has been interpreted
from historical maps and records from the time.
The Eureka Trail, aimed at enhancing the "Eureka
Experience", is managed by the City of Ballarat and was developed in 1996 with
funding assistance from the State and Federal Governments as part of the Eureka Project.
Much of the work was undertaken as an employment scheme
initiative under the New Work Opportunity Programme and the works generally included:
the installation of signs and directional bollards
the removal of rubbish and weeds
development of granitic sand walking trails
the construction of steps, fences and seats
treeplanting using local native tubestock
The Eureka Trail Today
The landscape along the trail has changed considerably since 1854
as Ballarat has continued to develop as a major Regional Centre. Gravel roads have been
formed and sealed, open drains and creeks have been piped, and the vast expanses of mining
fields have been developed and built over. It is perhaps difficult to imagine what the
trail may have looked like at the time however the major landmark features remain and so
the trail still follows, as closely as possible, the route taken at the time.
The trail starts outside the Post Office in Lydiard Street on the
site of the former Police Camp. It then meanders through the CBD, the Eastern Oval, and
alongside the Yarrowee River. After crossing the Yarrowee it winds its way through some of
Ballarats older residential areas in Ballarat East before arriving at the Eureka
Stockade Centre. There are many other points of interest along the way including:
the majestic Victorian architecture of Lydiard Street
the Eastern Oval and grandstand (home of Ballarats cricket)
formed bluestone channels and quiet resting spots under the shade
of Willow trees on the banks of the Yarrowee River (Ballarats major river)
the Black Hill Lookout and Reserve (a short diversion off the
linkages with the Yarrowee River Trail and the Great Dividing
Trail (which goes from Ballarat to Castlemaine)
fine examples of intact mining huts in Ballarat East
Walking the Eureka Trail
The Trail is marked by a series of blue bollards incorporating a
logo of a troopers head and directional arrows. These is also a series of interpretative
signs which provide additional graphic and historical information about features along the
way and the troopers march.
The Trail is relatively flat and is 3.5 kilometres long. It takes
approximately one hour to walk it in each direction however if you intend to take your
time and allow time to visit the Eureka Stockade Centre you should allow half a day for
the return trip. Another option is to catch public transport for the return trip or, if
you have access to two vehicles, to park one at either end before starting.
If you have any difficulties walking the trail, have any other
comments or would like further information please contact one of the following: