Ballarat Heritage Weekend 2018 uses GooseChase smartphone app

Treasure hunt: Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh in Town Hall with the Goosechase app, which will be used over Ballarat Heritage Weekend on May 26-27. Picture: Ashleigh McMillan
Treasure hunt: Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh in Town Hall with the Goosechase app, which will be used over Ballarat Heritage Weekend on May 26-27. Picture: Ashleigh McMillan

Ballarat Heritage Weekend is shaping up to be a real wild goose chase this year.

For the first time, the event on May 26-27 will embrace smartphones, with a competitive scavenger hunt on the GooseChase app leading attendees around fun activities and asking trivia questions.

GooseChase has been used at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and will encourage players to go further afield to discover the city’s heritage delights, with prizes for the highest point scorers. 

This year’s Ballarat Heritage Weekend is focusing on 100 years of technology and innovation in Ballarat. 

Accross the weekend, a guided virtual tour upstairs at the Ballarat Town Hall will wind participants through underground shop fronts and provide spectacular views of the cityscape. 

Ballarat Revealed, a website with historic details on the city’s heritage buildings, is also available for tourists and locals alike to access across the weekend. The Goosechase app can now be downloaded and teams compiled.

Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said as there were no smartphone charging stations planned for the event, patrons would have to rely on their own portable battery packs or hospitality venues. 

“What this app is doing is getting people to experience heritage weekend is a totally different way, it’s about experiencing today’s technology to learn about the past,” she said. “Most people go out prepared if they have a mobile phone, and they know if it runs out it runs out.”

“We encourage our venues and businesses to have the appropriate facilities for staff, locals and visitors to keep their technology charged.”

The 2018 Ballarat Heritage Awards were announced on Tuesday night, hosted by the National Trust of Australia. 

Award winners include conservation projects at the Johns Street Miner’s Cottage and the Old Colonists’ Association Building shopfronts, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Begonia horticulturists, the Re-Awakening the Dragon Exhibition at the Gold Museum, the Save Civic Hall push and the Ballarat Tramway Museum.