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As news of the Australian gold rushes reached the world, Ballarat gained an international reputation as a particularly rich goldfield.

As a result, a huge influx of immigrants occurred, including many from Ireland and China, gathering in a collection of prospecting shanty towns around the creeks and hills.

The meaning of this word is not certain; however several translations have been made and it is generally thought to mean "resting place".

In some dialects, balla means "bent elbow", which is translated to mean reclining or resting and arat meaning "place".

The first newspaper, The Banner, published on 11 September 1853, was one of many to be distributed during the gold-rush period.

Gold was discovered on 18 August 1851, and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold could easily be extracted.

After a narrow popular vote the city merged with the town of Ballarat East in 1921, ending a long-standing rivalry.

Although significant deposits of gold have been mined in the area and mining continues to this day Ballarat is not part of Victoria's Goldfields region.

The new town's main streets of the time were named in honour of police commissioners and gold commissioners of the time, with the main street, Sturt Street, named after Evelyn Pitfield Shirley Sturt; Dana Street named after Henry Dana; Lydiard Street after his assistant; Doveton Street after Francis Crossman Doveton, Ballarat's first gold commissioner; Armstrong after David Armstrong; and Mair Street after William Mair.

These officials were based at the government encampment (after which nearby Camp Street was named), which was strategically positioned on an escarpment with an optimal view over the district's diggings.

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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.

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