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Hidden Wonders of Ballarat & Surrounding Areas.

24 May 2017

Hidden Wonders of Ballarat & surrounding areas.

 

NIMMONS BRIDGE Galatea Rd, Newtown. ballaratskiptonrailtrail.com

Nimmons Bridge is one of the largest and most impressive timber trestle rail bridges in Victoria. The picture-perfect bridge, near Newtown, is part of the 53km Ballarat-to-Skipton Rail Trail, which takes in sights and structures from Victoria’s gold mining past. At the bridge there are picnic tables and information boards. And you can walk across it.

 

DEVIL’S KITCHEN Scarsdale

With a red rock landscape reminiscent of the Northern Territory, Devil’s Kitchen, 30km southwest of Ballarat, offers rock-climbing, abseiling and bushwalking. The steep-sided gorge of basalt cliffs, flanking the Woady Yaloak River, was part of a bustling deep lead goldfield in the 1850s — evidence of which still exists. Devil’s Kitchen also has a swimming hole and picnic area

 

Lal Lal Blast furnace -  Lal Lal

The Lal Lal blast furnace ruins rate as one of the most important and highly significant sites of early industrial history in Australia. The blast furnace is the only one from the nineteenth century remaining in the Southern Hemisphere and it represents the only attempt to smelt iron ore in Victoria. It has an ‘A’ classification from the National Trust.

The Lal Lal Iron Mining Company was formed in 1874. It set up an iron ore quarry and smelting works, which at its peak employed 160 men. Charcoal from local timber, brown coal from the area and Ballarat coke were all used as fuel for the smelting process. The mine reached its peak in 1884 when 1,600 tons of ore were smelted and 800 tons of pig iron were produced, however production rapidly declined after a few years. 

The Lal Lal blast furnace and iron mine are on Iron Mine Rd, at Lal Lal, near the spillway of the Bungal Dam. The ruins of the 17-metre-high furnace and the adjacent iron mine are clearly visible in the bush and information boards explain the operations of this amazing relic of early Victorian industry.

            

 

Lal Lal Falls  -  Lal Lal

The scenic views make this Reserve attractive to visitors seeking a relaxing day out. Environmentally, the reserve contains significant vegetation including 13 plant species of regional significance and one species rare in Victoria and in Australia. This vegetation provides habitat for a variety of small mammals, reptiles and birds. Culturally, the Falls are believed to be the earthly home of Bunjil, the All Father or Creator to most Victorian Aboriginal tribes. The name Lal Lal is thought to be Aboriginal for "dashing of waters". The Lal Lal Falls is listed on the Site Registry of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria as a spiritual place.

 

Buninyong Lookout- Buninyong

Mt Buninyong is an extinct scoria cone volcano located 15km south east of Ballarat near the township of Buninyong. Unlike most other elevated points of eruption in Western Victoria, it supports some native vegetation.

The summit of the mountain is 745 metres and can be reached by either road or walking track. Superb views of the surrounding landscape can be seen from here.

Mt Buninyong is surrounded by a scenic reserve with an overstorey of eucalypts, a tussock ground cover and a very limited understorey. The remnant understorey has been interpreted in the light of both Mt Buninyong's European history and remnants from associated sites. Timber harvesting and an extended practice of grass fires with follow up grazing greatly reduced the shrub layer.