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Drury Lane

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Drury Lane, Ballarat Central VIC 3350

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  • Art installation
  • Historical photos on display
  • Beautiful historical paving
Ballarat's gorgeous Drury Lane is a bluestone-paved laneway between Bridge Mall and Curtis Street. The laneway is home to a creative art installation titled 'Gold Fever', which depicts the price of gold from 1851 to 2011, along with a photo display of Bridge Street from 1940 - 2000. Today in 2024 the price of gold is sitting well over $3,500 per ounce!

When strolling through the gorgeous Drury Lane, be sure to look beneath your feet where you can see that cart wheels have worn down the paving over many years!


A plaque set on the brick wall displays the following text:

Artists: Sue Buchanan and Eli Giannini

'On the 25th of August 1851, the first great gold-strike made in Australia was made here. The wandering prospectors who made it scraped up two pounds and a half of gold the first day - worth $600. A few days later the place was a hive - a town. The news of the strike spread everywhere in a sort of instantaneous way - spread like a flash to the very ends of the earth. A celebrity so prompt and so universal has hardly been paralleled in history, perhaps it was as if the name BALLARAT had suddenly been written on the sky, where all the world could read it at once.'
From: Following the Equator by Mark Twain, 1896.

This installation refers to the gold prices from 1851 to the present day, as well as gold's allure: its lustre and promise o wealth beyond imagining. 'Gold fever', manifested in the gold rush frenzies of the 19th century, persists to day in the roller coaster stock marked indices and stockpiling of gold by governments and private citizens. From 1851 - 1961 the price of gold was fairly stable varying from $20.67 to $35.00 and going through periods of fixed conversion rates (gold standards) including the most recent Bretton Woods Agreement off 1944 which fixed the rate for one Troy ounce of gold at $35 US dollars. 

However a gold standard has not been in place since 1971 and the price of gold gradually increased to a January 1980 record high of $850 per ounce. This was caused by high inflation due to strong oil prices. Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the impact of the Iranian revolution all of which prompted investors to move into gold. The price then fell spectacularly and didn't exceed this mark til 2008 (However if adjusted for inflation the 1980 price still remains as the record high).

Officially opened by Cr Des Hudson 7th December 2011.
Commissioned by The Public Art Advisory Committee on behalf of the City of Ballarat.

Gold discovery in Ballarat

Poverty Point, the site of Ballarat's first gold discovery

Not long after the exciting discoveries at Clunes and Buninyong, gold was discovered on Yuille's Ballarat Station in August of 1851. John Dunlop and James Regan discovered gold at Poverty Point between the 20th and 24th of August, followed closely by Tom Brown's discovery less than a mile away at Golden Point. 

The whole area around Poverty Gully and Golden Point turned out to be mind-blowingly rich, with mining claims being described as "jewellers shops" containing table-tops of gold! The site of the renowned Blacksmith's Hole is located just a few blocks away from Poverty Point. 



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