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Ararat Local History

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Ararat is a small town located in the heart of Victoria, Australia. The town is situated approximately two hours' drive west of Melbourne and one hour's drive east of Ballarat. Ararat has a unique blend of history and modern-day living, which makes it an attractive destination for tourists.

The Aboriginal people of the Wimmera and Grampians area occupied the land that is now Ararat for thousands of years. The area now known as Ararat was once home to the Jardwadjali people, who used the land for hunting and gathering food.

The Europeans first settled in Ararat in 1840, and it quickly became a hub for gold mining in the region. Ararat's peak population of around 25,000 was reached in the late 1850s during the gold rush era, making it one of the largest inland towns in Victoria during that time.

One of the most significant events in Ararat's history was the Eureka Rebellion of 1854. Many men from Ararat and the surrounding areas joined the rebellion, in the search for more rights and independence. Though the rebellion was unsuccessful, it is remembered as a turning point in Australian history.

The construction of the Western railway line in 1875 marked a significant milestone in Ararat's development. The line connected Ararat to Melbourne, providing a vital transport link for goods and passengers. The railway brought a new era of prosperity to Ararat as it allowed easier access to the nearby goldfields, which were still active at the time.

Ararat was also home to one of Victoria's largest mental institutions from 1867 until 1998. The hospital, known as Aradale, was once home to almost 1,000 patients and was a significant part of Ararat's economy and town life.

Today, Ararat has developed into a modern and bustling town, with a population of around 11,000 people. The town's excellent location, surrounded by sweeping plains and the stunning Grampians range, has made it a popular destination for tourists. Visitors come to explore the town's rich history, as well as to experience the natural beauty and outdoor activities that the area has to offer.

In conclusion, Ararat's history is one of resilience and growth. The town has faced many challenges over the years, including droughts, economic downturns, and social upheavals. Despite these challenges, Ararat has always managed to bounce back, adapting to the changing times to remain a vital part of Victoria's landscape.

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