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Sovereign Hill’s $50 million birthday punt for massive expansion

Sovereign Hill is hoping for funding for a massive $50 million expansion. Photo: Jeremy Bannister.Sovereign Hill hopes to receive$43 million in state government cash to upgrade older exhibitions and create annew events building.
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The ‘Beyond 50’ project is part of a Ballarat push for six priority projects to secure funding in the lead-up to the November 24 election.

The $50 million projectis set to coincide with the organisation’s 50thanniversary in 2020. Sovereign Hill is contributing $7 million.

The proposal will see anew entry building andlarge events space constructed, and new museum exhibits.

Sovereign Hill’s interim CEO Terry Lloyd said the funding would go to upgrading the aging Gold Museum, to make sure visitors have“something new, something different” to see.

“A lot of the exhibitions in there are quite aged now,” he said. “They’ve probably been in there for 30 years or more, so it’s just a matter of making sure they’re a bit better.

“What we want to do is increase the visitor experience, make sure that Sovereign Hill is stillsustainable into the future. It’s had 50 years because of community support.”

Take a 360-degree tour of this year’s Winter Wonderlights.

Mr Lloyd said part of the money would potentially go to upgrades whichacknowledgethe “18 or 19 different nationalities” that were on the gold fields, as well as improved technology across languages for tours.

“We have a large overseas market from China, and we have a Chinese camp exhibit in Sovereign Hill, but we’re looking at how we can even enhance the exhibitions on China,” he said.

“We’re looking at the technology that surrounds that as well, so that in all ways, it’s a better visitor experience.”

Committee for Ballarat’s Nick Beale said he hoped Ballarat’s political candidates would take word of the six projects back to their political parties and returnwith something quite “sweet and tasty” for Ballarat voters.

The Courier, Ballarat

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