Sovereign Hill is a not-for-profit, community based organisation. It is a living museum presenting the story of Ballarat as a goldrush boomtown. Covering 15 hectares of a former gold mining site, Sovereign Hill's Outdoor Museum brings the gold rushes to life through a living township with diggings, underground mines, costumed characters, coach rides and 1850s shops, trades, schools and dwellings. The Outdoor Museum experience is supported by a traditional Gold Museum and AURA, an evening sound-and-light show illustrating the history and importance of gold in our region. Sovereign Hill opened on Sunday, 29 November 1970. It was born from a vision in the 1960s when community groups sought to preserve the city's vibrant goldrush heritage and the story of its impact on our nation. Now an Australian tourism icon and a winner of major tourism awards, Sovereign Hill attracts some 450,000 visitors annually. The Outdoor Museum enjoys international renown as a living museum featuring rare trades, working machinery and exhibits, costumed interpreters and visitor participation. In all, some 350 staff work to bring our goldrush story to life. They are supported by over 250 volunteers who help bring the Outdoor Museum to life and assist with curatorial work and tour guiding at the Gold Museum.
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