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Ballarat is a city located on the Yarrowee River in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia. The city has a population of 101,588.
In terms of population Ballarat is the third largest inland city in Australia. Just months after Victoria was granted separation from the state of New South Wales, the Victorian gold rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to a major settlement. Gold was discovered on 18 August 1851, and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold could easily be extracted. Unlike many other gold boom towns, the Ballarat fields experienced sustained high gold yields for many decades, which can be evidenced to this day in the city's rich architecture.
The city is famous in Australia for the Eureka Rebellion, the only armed rebellion in Australian history. In response to this event the first male suffrage in Australia was instituted and as such Eureka is interpreted by some as the origin of democracy in Australia. The rebellion's symbol, the Eureka Flag, has become a national symbol and is held at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka in Ballarat.
Proclaimed a city in 1871, its prosperity continued until late in the 19th century, after which its importance relative to both Melbourne and Geelong rapidly faded with the slowing of gold extraction. It has endured as a major regional centre hosting the rowing and kayaking events from the 1956 Summer Olympics. It is the commercial capital of the Central Highlands and its largest city, as well a significant tourist destination.