Meet the makers and creators who call Victoria's historic Goldfield's home. Pop in and see these colourful locals in their element and check out their favourite things to do in and around Ballarat.

Aunty Jacks

auntyjacks.com.au

The Aunty Jacks story

Brian Taylor is a Ballarat native with the sole goal of turning his hometown into the craft capital of Australia. With 25 years of hospitality experience, Aunty Jacks was birthed from the love of “creating great spaces for people to enjoy with family and friends.” The brewpub he created is just this, as Aunty Jacks embodies great entertainment, education and food, while also making exceptional brews. 

 

Brian's favourite things 

In Brian’s words, he loves to EAT and is at the bakery every day. Naturally, the owner of a brewpub knows the best places in town for a drink, and with so much to see and do outside, he’s a busy man when he’s not at Aunty Jacks. 

“I’m proud to continue Ballarat’s tradition of brewing. Our team are passionate and committed to providing the best meet the maker experience to everyone that walks into the brewery, and it always puts a smile on my face. What I enjoy most is meeting people and seeing them happy.”

- Brian Taylor, Aunty Jacks

Backyard Beekeeping Ballarat

backyardbeesballarat.com.au

The Backyard Beekeeping story

Amanda and Scott like to joke that they’re accidental beekeepers because they got into the trade after they were gifted a honey hive. Their passion for beekeeping grew so strong, Backyard Beekeeping Ballarat was born. The duo produce seasonal regional honey varieties from the Central and Western Victoria region as well as neighbourhood honey from their Yarrowee River apiary in Golden Point. 

 

Amanda and Scott’s favourite things

Amanda and Scott are always busily running around town or out and about making deliveries on an e-bike (known colloquially as Eleanor). When they get some time off, their list of activities to partake in is endless!

     

  • Dining at Underbar where he chef often creates a panna cotta with Backyard Beekeeping’s messmate honey or indulging in a Espresso Martini or Bees Knees cocktail from Larrikin Gin.
  • Starting the day at the Ballarat Farmers Market for a raspberry croissant from the Ket Baker.
  • Taking in the sights and sounds on the Yarrowee River Trail in the heart of town, or breathing deeply and bathing in nature in the Woowookarung Regional Park
“Bees are one of the most industrious and selfless insects on the planet. Everything they do is for the health and prosperity of the next generation; thousands of bees in a colony and one single hivemind.”

- Amanda and Scott, Backyard Beekeeping Ballarat

Black Cat Truffles

blackcattruffles.com.au

The Black Cat Truffles story

Kristen Simpson and Tom Eadie made a ‘tree, tractor, truffle’ change in 2019, after they were priced out of the booming house market in Melbourne. While looking at properties further afield, they stumbled across the Black Cat Truffles property and business and it was love at first sight. A week later they’d purchased the property, and the duo have never looked back.

 

Kristen and Tom’s favourite things

Kristen and Tom spend every moment they can learning about their new local area, and have found plenty of gems worthy of exploration.

     

  • Discover Ballarat’s famous gold heritage – through conventional channels like Sovereign Hill, but also by foraging/panning for gold in the area, or exploring the surrounding historic villages.
  • Walk around St Georges Lake or Lake Wendouree and the Ballarat Botanic Gardens.
  • Drive around the Wattle Flat area and admire the undulating vistas dotted with extinct volcanoes or visit Creswick State Forest, which has a number of dog-friendly trails.
"When I stumbled across the Black Cat Truffles property, almost in jest, I said to Tom ‘how does running a truffle farm in Central Victoria sound?’ He thought about it for a minute and said ‘let’s do it.’”

- Kristen Simpson, Black Cat Truffles

Kilderkin Distillery

kilderkindistillery.com.au

The Kilderkin Distillery story

Rebecca Mathews and Chris Pratt have always loved distilling. After years of appreciating islay peaty malts and Scottish whiskies, the duo decided to open their own distillery. In 2016, Kilderkin Distillery opened its doors in regional Victoria. The business has thrived thanks to support from the local community, strong tourism in the area and Ballarat’s burgeoning food and drinks scene. 

 

Rebecca and Chris’s favourite things

Rebecca and Chris take every opportunity to discover new food and drink options and great activities around Ballarat. 

“Creating fine spirits provides us with the ideal opportunity to combine inquiring minds with a sense of exploration, especially for our Australian Larrikin Gins that draw upon the vast variety of indigenous plants and fruits. We are proud to be part of Ballarat and feel a strong sense of support from all community sectors.”

- Rebecca and Chris, Kilderkin Distillery

The Rare Trades Centre – Dyeing to Weave Studio

raretradescentre.com.au/instructors/prue-simmons/

The Dyeing to Weave Studio’s story

Prue Simmons is one of many talented artisans based out of Ballarat’s Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades, offering workshops for budding craftspeople. As one of only three people in Australia accredited to teach the Japanese art of SAORI, Prue is a lover of using a loom to see how each piece develops its own character, colour, texture and style. According to Prue, the activity allows artisans to tap into meditative creativity, discover self-expression at the loom and make beautiful cloth. 

 

Prue’s favourite things

The Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades is beloved by Prue, and many others, but there are a number of other places in and around town that she frequents. 

     

  • Seek out amazing Japanese food at Kambei Japanese Restaurant or purchase local produce and home baked goods from Ballarat Mushroom Farm to whip up your own feast. 
  • Visit Prue’s hometown, the historic town of Clunes, which is 30-minutes from Ballarat. Wander through the charming main street, browse the gift stores or pop in for high tea before taking a stroll along the creek.
  • Get out in nature at Mt Beckworth Scenic Reserve or relax with a glass of wine at Eastern Peake Vineyard.
“Through the flowing meditative practice of SAORI weaving, people can find freedom and creative expression at the loom and discover their true self through colour and texture. The beautiful Central Highlands landscape inspires such creativity.”

- Prue Simmons, Dyeing to Weave Studio