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Overview

History & heritage

Dig down into the ancient, rugged landscape of the Grampians region and uncover a rich history, from Aboriginal rock art through to European exploration, Chinese settlement and gold mining.

Ancient evidence

Archaeologists have dated charcoal from ancient campsites and estimate that Indigenous Australians have lived in the Grampians region for over 10,000 years. Join a guided tour and see dramatic rock art that bears testament to their presence throughout the area, and spend time at Brambuk – The National Park and Cultural Centre for innovative displays and experiences recounting the traditional stories of the local Aboriginal people.

Settlements of change

The arrival of Major Thomas Mitchell and later Edward Eyre in the 1830s signalled a period of change and the beginning of European settlement in the region. Encouraged by positive reports of the district, settlers such as Lieutenant Robert Briggs and C.B. Hall – whose name was given to Halls Gap – arrived to establish pastoral runs and wheat farming.

Grampians gold rush

Gold was found around Stawell and St Arnaud in the 1850s, an event that heralded the start of a 1900s gold rush, with the Mount William Goldmine at Mafeking operating until 1912. Visit St Arnaud to see an authentic gold rush town and the well-preserved civic buildings and heritage gardens.

The early days of Ararat

Put yourself in the shoes of the weary Chinese miners, travelling from South Australia to the Central Goldfields in 1857, who made the chance discovery of a rich shallow alluvial goldfield that eventually became Ararat. Visit Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre to learn more about their contribution to the region.

Australia's first saint

Discover Hamilton's place in the history of Australia's first saint, Mary MacKillop. Displays at the Maryknoll centre (open by appointment) as well as plaques at significant sites around the region tell her story.

The birth of fine wine

Get a taste of local history with a tour through the historic wineries of the Grampians wine region, regarded as the birthplace of Australia's sparkling wine industry. Pop in for lunch and wine tastings at Best's and Seppelt Great Western wineries, in operation since the mid 1800s. Soak up the historic surrounds and then take a tour of the cellars for a close-up view of winemaking history.

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History & heritage

Art galleries

Ararat Regional Art Gallery

Ararat Gallery is renowned for its collection of contemporary fibre and textile art, one of only two such collections in Australian regional galleries.

Gold rush history

Gum San Chinese Heritage

Unearth the critical and quirky contributions of the Chinese miners who came to the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s, through interactive exhibits.

History & heritage

Harrow Discovery Centre and Johnny Mullagh Interpretive Centre

Nestled in the rolling hills of Victoria's Western District on the banks of the Glenelg River, the Harrow Discovery Centre is the heart of Victoria's...

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