International Students

Welcome to Ballarat, here is some info to help you 

Sturt St


•There are four distinct seasons in Australia summer, winter, autumn and spring. A Ballarat winter can be quite cold and you need to be prepared and have warm clothes and blankets to keep warm at night.

Emergency Services

• Police assistance is available 24 hours a day in Australia. You can approach police officers in the street or walk into a police station.
• For life threatening emergencies (police, fire and ambulance), call 000 and request an interpreter if you need one. 000 is a free call.
• You are also able to contact these offices for information that you may require when it is not an emergency:

Ballarat police station ph: (03) 5336 6000
CFA Head Quarters: (03) 5329 5500
Rural Ambulance Victoria (03) 5338 5200
SES Head Quarters: (03) 5339 1122

If you or someone you know requires translation in an emergency situation call 1300 665 010

• Nurse on call: Is a service that you can use if the situation you are in isn't an emergency or if you a non emergency medial question call 1300 60 60 24

Doctors and Prescriptions.

Australia has both a private and public [Medicare] health sector

In an emergency, call an Ambulance or go to Accident & Emergency at either of the local hospitals. [If it is not an emergency you may wait for a long time at Accident & Emergency].

To visit a doctor [GP]  you need to make an appointment, there may be a fee for service and you may need to wait a couple of days for an appointment.

Finding a GP in Ballarat can be difficult - you can access two medical centres in Ballarat. No appointment is necessary, but you need to go early in the day and be prepared to wait. You may also be able to choose to see a female or male doctor but you may need to wait a little longer.

Eureka medical Centre [14 Albert Street Ballarat] which is open 7 days a week or Medicaid [23/25 Raglan Street North Ballarat]

A prescription is the paperwork you will need to access prescription medicines. A GP can give you a prescription, which you take to the chemist to get the medication.

Some medications are avialable 'over the counter' - where you can buy them from a chemist without a prescription. Everything you say to the doctor is confidential and they can not repeat this information to anyone else. You may have a choice of 'generic brand' medication. In these medications the core ingredients are the same, the medication is cheaper in price.

University of Ballarat also has a doctor that is available 5 days a week for Fed Uni students ONLY.

Traffic Conditions and Transport

• In Australia, traffic drives on the left of the road. Seat belts must be worn by the driver and passengers at all times.
• Take care when crossing roads - look left, right and left again for cars, buses, cyclists and other pedestrians.
• Always validate your ticket when travelling on public transport
• When travelling on public transport, sit close to the driver or with other passengers, especially at night.
• If you require a taxi call 131 008 and you will need to provide your address and the number of people that will be travelling.

Changing your License

The requirement to change your overseas driver license to a Victorian driver license depends on whether your stay in Victoria is temporary or permanent. If you are in Victoria on a temporary visa, you can drive on your overseas driver license for as long as it is current providing it is in English or accompanied by an English translation or International Driving Permit. There is no requirement to get a Victorian driver license.

If you have entered Victoria on a permanent visa issued under the Migration Act 1958, you may drive on your overseas driver license for:

  • six months from the date you first entered Australia if the permanent visa was issued before you entered Australia; or,
  • six months from the date when the permanent visa was issued to you if the permanent visa was issued to you whilst in Australia.

If you want to continue driving in Victoria after this time you must change your overseas licence to a Victorian driver license.

 The Visitor Information  centre is somewhere you are able to go, get information or ask questions on landmarks or activities in Ballarat.

Visitor Information Centre
43 Lydiard Street, BALLARAT
 1800 44 66 33

Your belongings

• Keep your wallet, bag, mobile phone and other personal belongings secure at all times.
•If you are approached by a person asking for money, it is your choice to donate money or to say no and walk away.

•The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years. Drinking alcohol in public places is not permitted in many public places.
•It's illegal to have more than a small amount of alcohol before driving. The blood alcohol concentration is .05 for people on their full license. If you are on P Plates you must be .00 and have had NO alcohol. Don't drink and drive or get into a car with a driver who has been drinking.


The unit of currency is the Australian dollar ($ or AUD) (100 cents=$1.00). There are six coins $2 and $1 are gold, 50cents, 20cent 10 cent 5 cents which are silver. There are five notes $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5. Each note is a different colour and has a distinct picture the value of the notes is written on them.

In Australia, all non essential items attract a GST [goods and services tax], which is 10% of the item or service cost.
Tipping for a service provided in not a particlarly common occurance in Australia, but is something you can choose to do if you feel like it.


To open an Australian bank account you will first need to select the bank you would like to open an account with. You will need to take a range of forms of identification with you. Click on the links below to find out more information for each bank.

The main banks are ANZ, Commonwealth, Westpac and Bendigo bank.
                           ANZ 9:30am-4:30pm Monday-Thursday
            9:30am-5pm Friday
Commonwealth Bank 9:30am-4pm Monday- Thursday
             9:30am-5pm Friday
                 Westpac 9:00am-5pm Monday-Thursday
         9:30-5pm Friday
               9am-12pm Saturday
 Bendigo Bank 9am-5pm Monday-Friday
               9am-12pm Saturday
Bank of Melbourne 9.30am-5pm Monday - Friday
             9.30am-1pm Friday
Savings & Loans 9am-5pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
9.30am-5pm Tuesday & 9am-12pm Saturdays
NAB - 9.30am-4pm Monday - Thursday
9.30am-5pm Friday

•When withdrawing money at an autobank, put your money in your wallet before walking away.

If you are eligable to work in Australia, you will be required to apply for an Australia Tax File Number [TFN]. There is no cost to apply for a TFN. If you start working you must tell your employer your TFN. Your employer will take tax from your pay and you will need to complete a tax return at the end of the financial year [June 30].
International students and dependants in Australia on students dependant visas who are residing in Australia automatically recieve permission to work when their visa is granted Holders of a student visa can work no more than 20 hours per week during university semesters and full time during university holidays.


Services Available

Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY)

Ballarat is very lucky to have a Centre for Multicultural Youth located in Ballarat. CMY offer a range of different programs and services to young people who are newly arrived in Australia and might be finding it difficult to settle in their new community. 

Contact CMY Ballarat Office - (03) 5317 7172