1956 – Birth of an Olympic Games Host City for Rowing and Canoe/kayaking
The Olympic Rings monument was erected at the finishing line of the rowing, kayaking and canoeing course at Lake Wendouree after the completion of the 1956 Olympic Games and is a celebration of Ballarat’s participation. The unique and distinctive Australian design of the Olympic Rings resting on a boomerang universally symbolizes how Australians have upheld the Olympic ideals and recognizes the City of Ballarat as one of Australia’s first two Olympic Games Host Cities.
2000 – Return of the Flame
The Spirit of the Games returned to this site when the Olympic torch and flame visited Ballarat just prior to the 2000 Olympic Games. The surrounding base of the Olympic Rings monument was modified and pathways added with the names of Ballarat Olympians embedded, representing the athlete’s journey. A cauldron fountain to commemorate the return of the Olympic flame was also erected.
2006 – Hearts and Minds Reunite
In 2006 Olympians from around the world who competed in the 1956 Olympic Games events at Lake Wendouree returned to this site for the 50th Anniversary celebration. The panels and columns define the Olympic Games precinct with an aerial perspective revealing the ripples made by an athlete’s blade as it cuts through the water.
The rowing, canoeing and kayaking events and medalists’ names face the water’s edge. The 1956 Olympic Games medal acknowledging ‘participation of all’ and the open vista of the Lake indicates Ballarat’s continued involvement in the Olympic Games Celebrations. The Athlete’s Oath and the Olympic Creed are placed on the inner walls.
Designed to invite interaction the bronze imprints at the site allow visitors to place their hand or foot to connect with a Ballarat Olympian. With room on the sides of the columns for our future Olympians, this site is a celebration of Ballarat’s past, present and future involvement.