Ballarat is more than its rich heritage.
This is the small idea that formed the basis of Committee for Ballarat’s campaign More than Gold.
The project tells the story of a diverse city, culminating in a book showcasing the stories of the people who call Ballarat home.
The book titled More than Gold Ballarat and Region: Our Story was launched at a spectacular celebratory event at Hop Temple on Tuesday evening.
Committee for Ballarat community wellbeing committee chair Robyn Reeves said the storytelling project had challenged perceptions of Ballarat.
“I think the perception has been that Ballarat hasn’t got a diverse population. But in fact we do. The stories have been an eye opener at the diversity of our community,” she said.
The stories have been an eye opener at the diversity of our community.Robyn Reeves, Committee for Ballarat
“Certainly if we look at Ballarat over the past 10 to 15 years, so much has changed. I think the diversity has added to Ballarat’s vibrancy.”
Chapters of the book highlight the city’s opportunities for well-being – from unique heritage, food, culture and lifestyle and quality health services to first class education.
Committee for Ballarat interviewed more than 220 people for the campaign, stories which feature in the book.
Ms Reeves said their stories were shared to create a pride in existing residents and attract new residents and businesses to the region.
“We have a food and wine culture which has been growing and developing quietly. We have got fashion designers, we have amazing artists here, we have got people who are running innovative new businesses which are really well known overseas but we don’t necessarily know about them locally. That diversity means adds to opportunities for Ballarat people,” she said.
Committee for Ballarat chair Janet Dore shares her Ballarat story in the foreword to the book.
“Over the years many people have asked why I chose to live in the Ballarat region. Actually, my decision was an easy one,” she wrote.
“This region offers a great lifestyle, has quality health and education offerings, affordable housing and a range of employment opportunities. It is also well located within easy commuting distance of Melbourne and other regional centres as well as the Surf Coast and the Grampians.”
Committee for Ballarat’s community well-being committee will continue to post stories of Ballarat residents on social media. The next step is to identify concerns and problems in the community and contribute to making change.
More than Gold launch host Bryce Ives said the campaign was an important moment to redifine Ballarat as creative, vibrant, multicultural and entrepreneurial, with a proud past and a colourful future.
“People outside of this region see us for more than what we tell. I proudly call this place home. I proudly tell this story and I hope you do too.”
For more information on Committee for Ballarat’s More than Gold campaign search @morethangold.ballaratstories on social media.