Resort Reporter Fiji #61 – A Foot in 2 Eras


C’mon confess! Haven’t you ever wondered how it would have felt to have…?

…lived 100 years ago – and be rich (well, duh) – and lived in a mansion??

…descended a grand staircase?

…walked along corridors under real leadlight panels?

WorldMark SP has just the place in Ballarat.

It all started when Scottish miner, James Leckie, made his fortune in the goldfields in Balla Arat which later became Ballaarat and finally Ballarat.

The Leckies lashed out in 1878 and built a mansion for £1,500 (a fortune when a blacksmith earned 60 cents a day in today’s money). The bluestone mansion sported the posh name of Blythewood Grange.

Cold winters’ nights without TV encouraged John and Jane to have 11 children. After the Grange passed from the Leckie family, the property was extended and converted into an orphanage in 1911.

Their original mansion now forms the main entry and heart of today’s luxurious resort.

WorldMark bought the property in 2003, and undertook an extensive modernisation programme.

However, this was no ordinary reno!

The property is Heritage Listed so WorldMark worked hard to keep the warmth and charm of the original character, whilst still providing the high WorldMark standard that Owners expect. It all worked a treat. You feel as though one foot is in the past, whilst the other foot is pampered in the best WorldMark tradition.

Do explore the property as it has interesting out-buildings; there is even a private lake complete with swans.

The friendly folk at Wyndham have created a fun rally to encourage you to get ‘out and about’ because there are lots to see and do in Ballarat.

Check out the Prime Ministers Avenue in the Botanical Gardens. This unique exhibition has a bronze head of all of the Prime Ministers of Australia, and is definitely worth a look.

To see how John Leckie made his money, don’t miss Sovereign Hill. It’s education cleverly disguised as fun! It’s a living museum. Allow a full day there. However, leave some energy for the evening when Sovereign Hill has what it describes as a ‘sight and sound spectacular’. Trust me – that’s not marketing exaggeration!

To complete the feeling of last century grandeur, go for Christmas in July when Wyndham hosts a mystery murder night, with a roaring fire, costumes and dinner and fun guaranteed.

For Families, Foodies and Funsters – Ballarat has it all!

Words and Photos by Jules

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