Ararat is a city in south-west Victoria, Australia, approximately 205 kilometres west of Melbourne, on the Western Highway. Is the largest town in the local government area known as the Rural City of Ararat and is in the federal Division of Wannon. The town is set between mountain ranges and surrounded by fertile grazing country and has a population of approximately 8220.
Europeans first settled in the Grampians region in the 1840s after surveyor Thomas Mitchell
passed through the area in 1836. In 1841, Horatio Wills
, on his way to selecting country further south, wrote in his diary, "like the Ark
we rested" and named a nearby hill Mt Ararat
. It is from this entry and the nearby Mount that the town takes its name.
The Post Office opened February 1, 1856 although known as Cathcart until August 31, 1857. In 1857, a party of Chinese miners en route to the Central Victorian gold fields struck gold at the Canton Lead which marked the beginning of great growth in Ararat. With the connection continuing to grow today through a sister city relationship with Taishan, China. Vines were planted in 1863 by French settlers.
Primary industries in the region include wool, beef and wine. A regional campus of the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE
is located in Ararat. The town has a regional airport
Ararat is an ideal base for exploring the regions many natural attractions including the Grampians National Park
, Mt Langi Ghiran, Mt Cole, Mt Buangor, Ararat Hills Regional Park and the Pyrenees Ranges. Ararat is also the gateway to the Grampians Wine Region .
Tourist attractions include:
- J Ward, a lunatic asylum for criminally insane closed in 1991 and now a museum taking tours daily.
- Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre
- Ararat Regional Art Gallery
- Ararat Railway Heritage Museum
- Langi Morgala Museum
- Numerous local wineries
- The Golden Gateway Festival
- Jailhouse Rock Festival
- Challicum Hills Wind Farm
Two Royal Australian Navy
ships have been named after this town. HMAS Ararat (K 34)
, a Bathurst class corvette, and HMAS Ararat (ACPB 89)
, an Armidale class patrol boat.
The city is located on the Western Highway
. Ararat station
is serviced by V/Line
with coaches and trains running daily to and from Melbourne
, as well as The Overland
service from Melbourne
. Since 2008 the Ararat Transit bus
service has operated around the city 5 days a week, providing 86 services on three routes, connecting with train services. Before this time it operated three days per week and offered 30 services.
Ararat has an Australian Rules
football team competing in the Wimmera Football League