|Coordinates||37°17′0″S 142°55′0″E / 37.28333°S 142.91667°ECoordinates: 37°17′0″S 142°55′0″E / 37.28333°S 142.91667°E|
|Population||8,297 (2016 census)|
|• Density||610.1/km2 (1,580/sq mi)|
|Area||13.6 km2 (5.3 sq mi)|
|LGA(s)||Rural City of Ararat|
Ararat is a city in south-west Victoria, Australia. It is about 205 kilometres (130 mi) west of Melbourne, on the Western Highway. It is the only town in Australia to have started by Chinese people. It is the biggest town, and the centre of the local government area called the Rural City of Ararat. The town is built between mountains with good farming lands all around it. There are about 8220 people living in Ararat.
History[change | change source]
Europens first moved into in the area in the 1840s after explorer Thomas Mitchell passed through the area in 1836. In 1841, Horatio Wills, on his way to land further south, wrote in his diary, "like the Ark we rested". He named a nearby hill Mt Ararat. The city was named after the mountain.
Gold[change | change source]
Gold was first discovered in May or June 1854, by Joseph Pollard at a place called Pinky Point, about 6 km (4 mi) to the west. Within weeks there were more than 9,000 people in the area looking for gold. A Post office opened in the area, called Cathcart, on 1 February 1856. The name was changed to Ararat on 31 August 1857.
In April 1857, a group of 700 Chinese miners on their way to the Clunes, Victoria gold fields in central Victoria, found gold at the current site of Ararat. This was called the Canton Lead. The Chinese has been forced to walk from South Australia, more than 500 km (311 mi), because the Victorian government had tried to stop Chinese people coming by ship. Within two weeks more than 20,000 people arrived at Ararat to dig for gold. European miners tried to chase the Chinese miners off the gold fields, but they stayed, and in three weeks had found more than 93 kg (205 lb) of gold. This was the start of great growth in Ararat. The city's link to China continues as it has a sister city link with Taishan, China. By 1859, Ararat had a newspaper, hospital, churches, courthouse and a mechanics institute (meeting rooms with a library).
By 1863, most of the gold had been found, and Ararat become a town centre for the farmers in the area. French settlers planted grape vines in the area in 1863. When the railway was built to Ararat in 1875, it became an important rail junction.
Economy[change | change source]
Farming is the main business in the area, with farmers growing sheep, beef and wine. The Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE has a college in Ararat; this is the Australian College of Wine. This is in the old Ararat pyschiatric hospital, called "Aradale". The town has a regional airport YARA (ARY).
Prisons[change | change source]
The first prison, the Ararat County Gaol, was built in 1861, and was used a prison until 1887. During that time, three prisoners were hanged, and their graves can still be seen. In 1887, the prison was set up as a prison for criminals who were insane, and renamed J Ward. One prisoner was kept locked up in J Ward for more than 60 years. J Ward was closed in 1991, and is now a museum.
HM Prison Ararat was built just outside the town in 1967. It replaced the prison at Ballarat. It is a low to medium security prison with space for 382 prisoners. About 50% of the prisoners are sex offenders, while the other 50% have special needs or need protection.
Tourism[change | change source]
Ararat is an ideal base for looking at the areas many natural attractions such as the Grampians National Park, Mt Langi Ghiran, Mt Cole, Mt Buangor State Park, Ararat Hills Regional Park and the Pyrenees Ranges. Ararat is also close to many wineries, which are part of the Grampians Wine Region.
Tourist attractions include:
- J Ward Museum Lunatic Asylum J Ward started its life as a goldfields prison in 1859. When the gold ran out in the mid 1880s the prison buildings were acquired by the Lunacy Department as a temporary housing for the Criminally Insane. The County Gaol then became a ward (J Ward) of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum where the most depraved and most dangerous men in Victoria were housed in horrific conditions under highest security. J Ward was decommissioned in 1991 and opened as a museum to the public in 1993. J Ward Archived 2014-12-23 at the Wayback Machine is open to the public and tours are held daily.
- Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre
- Ararat Regional Art Gallery Archived 2011-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
- Ararat Railway Heritage Museum
- Langi Morgala Museum
- The Golden Gateway Festival - held every October
- Jailhouse Rock Festival - a rock and roll music festival held at J Ward every March
- Challicum Hills Wind Farm
Transport[change | change source]
The city is built on the Western Highway which is the main road between Melbourne and Adelaide. Ararat station has V/Line buses and trains running daily to and from Melbourne, as well as The Overland train service from Melbourne to Adelaide. Since 2008 the Ararat Transit bus service has operated around the city five days a week, providing 86 services on three routes, which join up with the train services.
Sport[change | change source]
Ararat has an Australian Rules Football team which plays in the Wimmera Football League. The team first played in 1871, and was one of the first four teams to form the Wimmera Football Association in 1902. The horse racing club, the Wimmera Racing Club, holds about five race meetings a year at Ararat including the Ararat Cup meeting in November.
Ararat Harness Racing Club has regular meetings at its race track in the town. 
Golfers play at the Aradale Golf Club on Grano Street or at the Chalambar Golf Club on Golf Links Road.
Notable people[change | change source]
- Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Scherger was born in Ararat on 18 May 1904.
- Shane Kelly Olympic cyclist and medal winner.
[change | change source]
Two Royal Australian Navy ships have been named after this town. HMAS Ararat (K 34), a World War II Bathurst class corvette, and HMAS Ararat (ACPB 89), an Armidale class patrol boat.
References[change | change source]
- ↑ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Ararat (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- ↑ "Ararat". Visit Victoria. Archived from the original on 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Ararat, VIC - Place - Electronic Encyclopedia of Gold in Australia". egold.net.au. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "History of Ararat". Local Hero. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
- ↑ Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 2008-04-11
- ↑ "Aradale Mental Hospital". Archived from the original on 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- ↑ "J Ward". Archived from the original on 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- ↑ "Ararat Prison". Prison profiles. Department of Justice, Victoria, Australia. Archived from the original on 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- ↑ "Ararat transit launched". Ararat Advertiser. yourguide.com.au. 2008-05-13. Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 "Ararat". fullpointsfooty.net. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
- ↑ Country Racing Victoria, Wimmera Racing at Ararat, archived from the original on 2008-07-19, retrieved 2009-05-07
- ↑ Australian Harness Racing, Ararat, retrieved 2009-05-11
- ↑ Golf Select, Ararat, retrieved 2009-05-11
- ↑ Golf Select, Chalambar, retrieved 2009-05-11