The secret and suppressed stories of the city's queer people will be detailed in a display called 'We Have Always Been Here' for the upcoming Ballarat Heritage Weekend.
Ballarat's queer historian and writer Alex Bayley said while no-one in the queer community doubted there were stories to tell from that time of Ballarat's LGBTI community, "it's quite hard to find the evidence".
"It's something that wasn't talked about for many, many years," they said.
"Those people probably felt pretty isolated at the time, and they probably had their little communities, but they were a little clique that stuck together and didn't talk externally about their lives."
While the Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives has documented queer news from the 1990s onwards, and old newspapers provided detail about LGBTI people - often for homosexuality convictions - before 1900, Bayley said there was a gap in between.
Answers were found within local archives, and newspaper clippings saved by Ballarat Community Health.
Once story to be showcase is that of Ethel 'Monte' Punshon, a Ballarat-born lesbian who frequented theatre circles in a "very dapper suit and tie and short hair", according to Bayley.
Punshon worked as a translator in Japanese internment camps near Tatura after World War II, later teaching English in Japan as a single woman in her 60s. She died at 106.
Bayley is most interested by the unexplored history of homosexuality within the Chinese community on the goldfields. At the time, no laws against sodomy existed in China, and there was often a major gender imbalance on the goldfields.
"We do see quite a few reports of Chinese men being charged with sodomy," they said. "But we also see homophobia and racism hand-in-hand, where people talk about "the Chinese problem" of them bringing their 'sexual immorality' over here. It was one of the arguments against Chinese immigration."
Now, researchers from the University of Ottawa have linked areas with a gold mining past and cities which are queer-friendly.
Bayley said a combination of an "adventurous" spirit of miners who had crossed seas, and significantly more men in mining camps - leading to situational homosexuality - and a strong, progressive reform movement could go some way to explaining this phenomenon.
"That acceptance and open-mindedness holds on through the generations," they said. "It's also true in our region. Ballarat had the strongest regional 'yes' vote for the marriage survey, and is getting the first Victorian regional gender clinic.
"None of this is coincidence."