So I just got back from a trip to the USA, and you know what? You know what?? None of them knew where Ballarat was. They all had a good giggle at our Australian names- I had to point out several times that ‘Ballarat’ is extremely tame compared to some place names we have around here- but all just shrugged when I said that’s where I was from. You know, Ballarat! The place where the gold rush happened!
No one even knows the gold rush. Maybe it’s because they only learn American history, but I also stopped off in London for a few days and most people had at least heard of Ballarat. The very first person I talked to- the lady at the desk in the hostel- said “ah yeah, right love, the place with all the gold, innit?” or something. So that’s nice, but what does Ballarat have to do to put itself on the map for Americans? Start an award-winning cheeseburger industry?
The only industry thriving apart from Sovereign Hill in Ballarat is cosmetic tattooing. I’m serious, people absolutely love them. I think maybe because it’s been such a country town for a while even though it’s a bit touristy. The ruling people don’t want anything that can be considered too new in the town centre, so we’ve pretty much watched a lot of interesting niche shops come, stay for a week and then get nudged out. Now the beauty industry has finally found its feet and you can go and get your nails done by a specialist, or get your eyebrows tattooed, or anti-wrinkle treatments if that’s really your thing. It’s not mine…yet. Got a few decades to go!
It fits me pretty well, this whole beauty thing. Ugh, Ballarat used to be SO boring if you lived there and weren’t just visiting, but now it’s bustling with townsfolk and a few more shops that sell things other than souvenirs and small gold fragments. Ballarat has laser hair removal now. Didn’t think we’d ever see that!