Ballarat is one of the largest inland cities in Australia, with a population of over 79,600. Located in the Central Highlands Region of the State of Victoria, Ballarat is approximately 110 km northwest of Melbourne, the State capital. It takes just over an hour to travel from Ballarat to Melbourne CBD via a four-lane highway.
Before the year of 1837, when the first European settler came to what is now known as Ballarat, the place was believed to be a promising pastoral land.
In 1851, gold was discovered in Ballarat, turning the place into a magnet that attracted tens of thousands of migrants to seek their fortune. By the late 1860s, goldmines supported about 300 businesses in Ballarat, where 64,000 people chose to settle down here, making it the fourth largest city in Australia at that time.
Ballarat's major economic pillars include retailing, manufacturing, healthcare and public services. The city's proximity to grazing areas in Western Victoria has enormously benefited its agro-processing industry. Its manufacturing sector produces a wide range of products, including food and beverages, minerals, structural steel, machinery and equipment. The city is also a regional center in retailing, banking, finance, insurance and education as well as one of the top tourist destinations in Victoria. Ballarat is home to many large conference facilities. The local Ballarat Technology Park (BTP) has quickly emerged as an IT hub in the region.