Where IS Ballarat East?!
There has been a lot of discussion about where Ballarat East is, does it still exist, isn’t it just the east side of Ballarat. What do we mean when we say Ballarat East? Our intrepid historian takes a lookey-see…
“The 2011 phone book provided useful maps for helping to locate Ballarat East. If you haven’t recycled yours already, have a look at the map section. The localities or suburbs of Ballarat are delineated with fine red lines. Here’s a copy of the map from last year’s phone book (see image 1 below and click on it for larger image), with the Ballarat East border more heavily inked in. This year’s phone book only provides the locality names, leaving things a bit vague.
A few years ago, when these locality names were being assigned, Ballarat East almost disappeared. There was Brown Hill and Canadian and Eureka, but the East was left out, until Ballarat East got up on its hind legs and yelled. In this year’s phone book, Ballarat East is assigned a space roughly bordered north and south by the Wildlife Park and Sparrow Ground, respectively. Eureka is north and Canadian is south. But to my mind, Eureka and Canadian ARE Ballarat East. And so is north of the railway line.
An 1875 map held at Ballarat Library (see image 2 below, click on it for larger image) shows the Ballarat East boundary clearly in red, putting the historic boundaries much wider than they are in the existing ‘Ballarat East’. That would have to be why Boundary Road is out there on Woodman’s Hill, it was once part of the eastern boundary.
The southern boundary is reasonably aligned along Elsworth St, west to the Yarrowee. To the south was Buninyong shire. To the north was Bungaree Shire, and the boundary was aligned along Gregory St. The western boundary was along the eastern bank of the Yarrowee to Havelock St. So included in old Ballarat East was Golden Point, Mt. Pleasant, parts of Black Hill, and a bit of Nerrina, part of Brown Hill, Eureka, Canadian and Bakery Hill.
Who cares? Is it important? Maybe it’s just a fine historical point. To residents back in the day it probably mattered a lot, with regard to rates and services. Does it help us today, when we have an eye on what developments are being made and what changes are happening to our city? These areas share a common mining history, and a history of being somewhat ignored until recently. They share the huge backyard syndrome. They share the variety in age of housing stock, which is often given as a reason for having ‘no heritage value’.
At the very least it matters for us today in that there can be more people involved in keeping an eye on unruly development in the area. It’s not “no development”. Residents in this wide area have usually welcomed development because it could mean an increase in services, often in places reasonably remote from the city, especially before the car. But Ballarat East does not welcome over-development, more likely these days to lead to a loss of amenity in this beautiful and unique area.
Images (click on image for better look):