Soldiers Hill is a suburb of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia located directly north of the Central Business District.
- Area:1.533 km2
- Elevation:452 m
- Local Government Area:City of Ballarat
Soldiers Hill is a suburb of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia located directly north of the Central Business District. At the 2016 census, Soldiers Hill had a population of 2,803.Named Soldiers Hill during the first residential land sales in 1859 in honour of the Colonial forces of Australia 40th Regiment who were stationed there prior to the battle of the Eureka Rebellion and the Eureka Stockade riot, it is the earliest planned suburb of Ballarat.
Soldiers Hill is an important heritage area in Ballarat and the entire suburb is covered by a City of Ballarat Heritage Overlay. It has a substantially intact Victorian era architectural character, with many of its buildings featuring an abundance of period detail including distinctive decorative cast iron ornament.
Before European settlement, the area around Soldiers Hill was populated by Wathaurong people, an Indigenous Australian tribe. The hill itself was a steep escarpment that formed part of a greater range and was a schist of quartz and tall stringybark trees.
William Cross Yuille was the first settler of what was originally named "Commanding Hill". Yuille had been well established in the region and had erected a shepherd's hut (in addition to his first hut located at Lake Wendouree) in the location marked by the current crossing of Seymour Street and Armstrong Street Nth.This hut existed as early as October 1851 being the only building on the hill at the time of William Swan Urquhart's first town plan for Ballarat, following the initial Ballarat gold rush.The hill was not subdivided in the first plan, though was part of the Grenville County.Later 1850s plans would include Soldiers Hill as one of the first planned suburbs of Ballarat with a grid plan north of the steep escarpment and Yarrowee River gully.
In 1853, on the hill was established one of the first of Ballarat's major schools, the national school, with 450 enrolments in its first year.Colonial forces of Australia 40th Regiment were stationed on the hill prior to the Eureka Rebellion of 1854. Leading them were Robert Nickle and Edward Macarthur, after whom Macarthur Street was named.
In 1857, the first permanent buildings were constructed along Seymour Street, including the North Star Hotel and Huff Bakery, along with a new school known simply as the "Soldiers Hill School" constructed by the Presbyterian Church.
In 1859, the first residential allotments were subdivided and sold, with the estate extending to Macarthur Street at the northern boundary. After Webster Street and Sturt Street, this estate was considered one of Ballarat's premier addresses.
Religious congregations established themselves at the highest point of the hill along with the large homes of the wealthy while middle class cottages and industry sprang up closer to the railway station. A new school, Macarthur Street Primary was constructed in 1877 and officially opened on 31 May 1878, replacing the Soldiers Hill School with an initial enrolment of 650 students.
In the 1880s the suburb was heavily subdivided as it became a favoured place of residence for Ballarat's middle and upper classes with the city readily accessed by tramway. The suburb had developed with deep narrow blocks and laneways providing rear access to houses.
An historic house, still in use today, is Eyres House, in Ligar Street.
The Soldiers Hill tramway opened on 27 December 1888 as a one car horse drawn service travelling along Lydiard Street and Macarthur Street.
The Ballarat North Workshops opened in April 1917 and were a major source of employment for Ballarat.
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