December Events 2011

 Young Eco Warriors to Brush up Our Environment

Competition now open - call for Entries for the 21st International Children's Painting Competition

Aspiring young artists are invited to demonstrate their vision for a greener future by putting paint to paper in the 21st International Children's Painting Competition, organised by Bayer and the United Nations Environmental Program, with the opening of entries to this year's competition today.

The prizes include US$2000 and fully paid trips to the Tunza International Children's Conference for the children and their guardians.

The theme for the 2012 competition is Green Communities, and children are asked to paint a picture based on these questions:

* What don't you like about our environment – our communities, cities, forests, oceans and atmosphere?

* How would you like to see our environment – our communities, cities, forests, oceans and atmosphere?

The competition is open to children aged 6-14, and paintings must be done on A4 or A3 paper. Joerg Ellmanns, CEO of Bayer Australia hopes the competition will encourage our future generations to consider the environment around them and understand we need to work together to protect it. "This painting competition offers a great opportunity to keep the kids entertained over the school holidays whilst educating them and potentially offering them the opportunity of a lifetime. Kids see things differently and I'm looking forward to seeing their visions of our future communities," he says.

The annual competition aims to highlight the importance of the environment to children all over the world and is run by the UNEP with support from Bayer. The painting competition has run since 1991 and received 3 million entries from children in over 100 countries in 2011.

The Tunza International Children's Conference provides a unique opportunity for children to present their environmental projects, inspire each other with their environmental work, become active environmental citizens and contribute towards the future of our planet. Simon Cherriman, Australian Geographic 2010 Young Conservationist of the Year added: "This competition offers an excellent opportunity for kids to think about the environment they are living in and make a decision about what we need to do to ensure it remains a wonderful place. I love working in this area and feeling like I am making a difference. I wish all the young artists the best of luck!

The winners from Australia and Pacific region will join other children from Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa at the Tunza International Children's Conference. United Nations diplomas will also be awarded to the best entries.

Visit to find out more.

Entry details:

Closing Date: 1st February 2012

Age: 6 - 14 years

Address: Entries should be sent to:

Suzanne Gibbs UNEP Painting Competition c/o Bayer

875 Pacific Highway

Pymble, NSW 2073

Materials: There is no restriction on the painting materials.

Format: The paintings should be in A3 or A4 format. On the back of the picture, full name, address, telephone number and, if available, email address of the child (or parent/legal guardian) must be written legibly.

Exceptions: Do not include any words or descriptions in the paintings. Paintings that show a particular person, an organisation or a brand name will not be accepted. Paintings that have been shown or accepted in other competitions will not be accepted.


The 1st Prize:

One entrant - US$2,000 with a fully paid trip for the winner and a chaperone to the Tunza International Children's Conference (date and venue to be confirmed). The winner will also receive a plaque and supplementary prizes.

The 2nd Prize:

One entrant - US$1,000 with a fully paid trip for the winner and chaperones to the Tunza International Children's Conference. The winner will also receive a plaque and supplementary prizes.

The 3rd Prize:

Three entrants – A diploma for each winner.

The 4th Prize:

Ten entrants – A diploma for each winner.

The 5th Prize:

35 entrants – A diploma for each winner.

Regional winners:

One winner only from each region: Africa; Asia and the Pacific; West Asia; Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; and North America. US$1000 and fully paid trip for each winner and chaperones to the Tunza International Children's Conference.

Announcement of winners

Regional winners will be announced on 22 April 2012 Global winners will be announced on 5 June 2012 which is World Environment Day.

Visit Phillip Island these School Holidays!

Phillip Island's star attractions of diverse beaches and bush land, wildlife encounters, idyllic coastal dining and family adventure are at their best when the sun is hot and the days are long, making it an ideal holiday destination for summer. Families can create holiday memories with a wide range of fun-filled attractions including a three-dimensional maze, chocolate factory, go-karts and of course the world-famous Penguin Parade. Only a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is a carefree summer holiday playground with fun and discovery around every corner.

For full information on Phillip Island's summer attractions, events and accommodation offerings, visit or call 1300 366 422


As home to the largest colony of little penguins in the world, koala conservation centre and 20,000 Australian Fur Seals, there is plenty of opportunity to get close to nat ure and view wildlife in its natural habitat on Phillip Island.

One of Australia's premier wildlife experiences, the Penguin Parade draws thousands of interstate and international visitors to the island each year. Taking place at dusk each day, hundreds of little penguins emerge from the sea after a day spent fishing and waddle up to their burrows in the sand dunes. Phillip Island Nature Parks has recently opened a new Wildlife Hospital to care for sick and injured penguins and other wildlife.

Just five minutes away from the penguins, The Nobbies Centre allows visitors to spy on the Australian Fur Seals as they bask on Seal Rocks - breeding ground and nursery for over 20,000 seals. Visitors can explore the coastal scenery and view the seals via boardwalks, or jump on a Wildlife Coast Cruise from Cowes for an up-close wildlife encounter at Seal Rocks. Be fascinated as the seals surround you fro m their home on the rocks and as they play around the boat. This is a unique and intriguing experience to witness this breeding colony up close.

The Koala Conservation Centre is an environmentally sustainable attraction dedicated to the wellbeing and future of koalas. Visitors can view the koalas in their natural habitat from the tree top boardwalks and may even spot some other native species such as echidnas, wallabies and bird life. The Visitor's Centre has educational information, a gift shop and café.

Phillip Island is home to literally thousands of animal species all gathered within a short distance of the main township of Cowes. Rare and internationally-protected bird life can be seen in the wetlands while crabs, sea stars and other ocean animals can be found when fossicking in rock pools at the water's edge. Dolphins and whales (during migration) can often be seen splashing around in the waves and a fun wild life activity can be found at San Remo pier when the fisherman's co-op feeds the pelicans each day at noon.


There is no shortage of family fun in the sun to be had on Phillip Island over summer with numerous activities and attractions that will entertain, amuse and enthrall both the young and the young at heart.

A Maze'N Things has a huge three-dimensional outdoor maze and theme park that will entertain, confuse and challenge the whole family. It features optical illusions, puzzles, games, flying boogie boards and a giant slide.

Phillip Island's Grand Prix Circuit is arguably the most spectacular destination on the international circuit and home to several major motorcycle and supercar events throughout the year. With rolling green hills and the pounding ocean as a backdrop, big and small kids alike can buckle-up like a real race car driver and stage their own Grand Prix on the scale replica Go-Kart track. Ph illip Island Circuit is also home to the History of Motorsport Museum and offers walking tours of the pit area and control tower.

Panny's Phillip Island Chocolate Factory is a must for chocolate lovers and is a fascinating, interactive and educational celebration of all things chocolate. With an interactive exhibition and ever-changing varieties of chocolates to choose from, Phillip Island Chocolate Factory is without a doubt the sweetest adventure on the island.

With these and so much more including helicopter flights, ten pin bowling, paint ball, 18 hole golf at Phillip Island Golf Club and mini golf at various entertaining courses, Phillip Island offers enough fun, interactive and stimulating adventures to create a lifetime of family holiday memories.


Phillip Island offers a wide variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Visitors can choose from resort-style luxury or family friendly apartments to romantic bed and breakfast establishments near secluded beaches. There is also unique hotel accommodation, motels, cottages, caravan parks, cabins, camping and backpacker accommodation.

For more information on any of these attractions and to find out what else Phillip Island has to offer, visit




This summer break, families can enjoy a range of new and exciting school holiday adventures at Sovereign Hill. Every day from 26 December 2011 until 28 January 2012, Sovereign Hill will host fun-filled interactive activities including hilarious new theatre performances, treasure hunts, underground tours, music and art.

Children visiting Santa at Sovereign Hill

All of Sovereign Hill's regular activities will also be available right throughout the school holidays, including fun indoor children's activities such as colourful candle dipping, bowling at the 1850s bowling saloon, the fascinating $140,000 gold pour, 1850s shopping, animals and of course, panning for real gold!

Summer School Holiday Activities include:


Experience the famous classical tale of King Midas and his golden touch in an exciting new play at Sovereign Hill. Audiences of all ages will delight in this ancient story that transcends generations and will be enchanted by a world of magic.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012 at 3:30 pm

WHERE: Victoria Theatre

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Little Red Robin Hood is an hilarious new, mashed-up rendition of the much loved fairy-tales 'Little Red Riding Hood' and 'Robin Hood'. The two stories have been combined into one play, reinventing the classics in a comical pantomime with a wonderful new twist.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012 at 2:15 pm

WHERE: Victoria Theatre

WHO: Suitable for all ages


The Great Gold Rush gives holiday visitors the chance to win a $10,000 gold nugget simply by having fun and exploring Sovereign Hill! After collecting a list of questions at the entrance, families follow clues and search for answers around Sovereign Hill's many attractions. Upon returning home, the answers can be submitted on Sovereign Hill's Facebook app to enter the draw to strike it rich.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012

WHERE: Across Sovereign Hill

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Visitors will feel the rush of Gold Fever as they race to the Red Hill Gully Diggings for the chance to discover a gold nugget worth $100! There will be a new $100 holiday nugget placed in the creek every day of the holidays. Even without the holiday nuggets, there's plenty of real gold to be found in the creek and it's 'finders keepers'. Visitors with an empty pan can purchase some gold dust, a gold licence and a bottle to store their golden treasure from the Gold Tent.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012 at 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

WHERE: Red Hill Gully Diggings

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Sovereign Hill offers three fully-guided underground tours each day, allowing visitors to venture into the gold mines and discover the mysterious stories and secrets of Ballarat's early miners.


Take a fully-guided tour and discover 'The Secret Chamber' and its ghostly tale of two Chinese miners who travelled to the Ballarat Goldfields in search of their fortunes. Good fortune was found by Chin Tem and his older brother, but it wasn't what they expected!

WHEN: Regular tours throughout the day – bookings essential

WHERE: Gold Mine

WHO: Suitable for all ages


'Trapped' uncovers the story of Australia's greatest underground mining disaster, which took place at the New Australasian No. 2 Mine in Creswick, near Ballarat, in 1882. Visitors can ride the Inclined Tramway into the mine and step back in time to experience the power of true heroism and tragedy.

WHEN: Regular tours throughout the day – bookings essential

WHERE: Gold Mine

WHO: Suitable for children aged 13 and older


Ride the Inclined Tramway deep below the surface to experience the mystery and adventure of work in a 19th century gold mine. Discover what life was like for the men who sought their fortunes in the early gold mines of Ballarat.

WHEN: Regular tours throughout the day – bookings essential

WHERE: Gold Mine

WHO: Suitable for children aged 13 and older


Be entertained, 1850s-style, with a magnificent repertoire of live entertainment. Mr Crosby, owner of the Victoria Theatre, offers different performances every day with an opulent blend of live performances, drama, music, magic and more.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012 at 11:15am

WHERE: Victoria Theatre

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Music lovers are invited to come along and join in on a song as 'The Welcome Strangers' teach traditional goldfields songs. This interactive session will have visitors singing and tapping their toes in no time.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012 at 4:00 pm

WHERE: Victoria Theatre

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Visitors will be enchanted by the famous gold rush era entertainer Lola Montez who was notorious on the Victorian Goldfields for many reasons, but most of all for her 'Spider Dance'. Witness the performance everyone is talking about.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012 at 12 noon

WHERE: Victoria Theatre

WHO: Suitable for all ages


To the absolute delight of audiences, 'Elementally Speaking' will be staging a repeat season of the slapstick comedy. Produced by Two Friends Productions, narrated by 'Gold' and 'Silver', the show originated to celebrate the 2011 International Year of Chemistry. The show features comic characters, silly songs and puppetry for a laughing time!

WHEN: Special theatre performance, 6-9 January only. Show starts at 1:00 pm

WHERE: Victoria Theatre

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Celebrate the Year of The Dragon with fun for the whole family including a lion dance, Chinese calligraphy, mask making, lucky envelopes and more. The program is presented in conjunction with the Chinese Australian Cultural Society Ballarat.

WHEN: 29 January 2012

WHERE: Sovereign Hill

WHO: Suitable for all ages


The Gold Museum extends the story of Ballarat and is located just across the road from Sovereign Hill. This summer holidays, the museum will host two fascinating new exhibitions exploring historical photography and modern Chinese arts and an exciting family treasure hunt around the exhibitions.


Discover the history behind damaged photographs that have been masterfully restored by photographer Max Harris, using digital enhancement software. The images have been recovered from the collections of the Ballarat Historical Society and the Gold Museum and now allow viewers to see what the originals would have looked like.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012, 9:30 am – 5:50 pm

WHERE: Gold Museum (opposite Sovereign Hill)

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Celebrating the age-old art form of delicate ceramics, this exhibition showcases over fifty contemporary designs by artists across China. The fascinating exhibition reflects the artistic explorations of Chinese potters and was originally commissioned by China's Ministry for Culture.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012, 9:30 am – 5:50 pm

WHERE: Gold Museum (opposite Sovereign Hill)

WHO: Suitable for all ages


Families are invited to discover the intriguing wonders of The Gold Museum as they journey around the exhibits on an exciting treasure hunt. Those who follow the trail correctly will claim a delicious golden reward. 'X' marks the spot.

WHEN: 26 December 2011 – 28 January 2012, 4:00 pm

WHERE: Gold Museum (opposite Sovereign Hill)

WHO: Suitable for all ages

For more information about Sovereign Hill visit

Sovereign Hill

3 Bradshaw Street, Ballarat, 3350

Phone: (03) 5337 1100

Twitter: @sovereignhill

General admission:

Adults $42.50

Children (5-15) $19.50

Concession and family passes available

Opening Hours: daily from 10am