Hamilton 3300Hamilton is a major centre located in the south-west of Victoria, south of Horsham and north of the coastal towns of Portland and Port Fairy.
Hamilton features attractive tree-lined streets and a commercial centre which is mainly confined to the areas around Thompson Street, Gray Street and Brown Street. Hamilton boasts a couple of impressive churches which can be found at "Church Hill"which is at the western end of Gray Street.
Hamilton offers a number of attractive parks, gardens and recreation areas. The 4 hectare Botanical Gardens were established in 1870 and feature a significant collection of pine and oak trees. There is also a rotunda, fountain, caretaker's cottage and an animal enclosure. Apex Park, on the corner of the Glenelg Highway and Apex Drive, is a linear stretch of parkland along Grange Burn and has BBQ and picnic facilities as well as a preserved steam locomotive. The 221 hectare Community Parklands, located at the northern end of town, are an important recreation and conservation asset and include a sporting complex, lakes, and fields of native wildflowers.
Lake Hamilton is located at the eastern end of town and is surrounded by 25 hectares of parkland. The lake's main sandy beach is located at the end of Rippon Road, adjacent to BBQ and picnic facilities. A smaller beach is also located near the boat ramp off Mill Road. A walking and cycling track circles the entire lake.
Other attractions in Hamilton include the Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum, located within one of the airline's original hangars on the shores of Lake Hamilton. The Hamilton Pastoral Museum, accessed via Hiller Lane, displays historic farm machinery, horse drawn vehicles and other relics depicting early rural life in the area. The Big Wool Bales, on Coleraine Road, are a tribute to the local wool industry which regards Hamilton as the wool capital of the world. Inside the bales are wool-related equipment displays, a cafe and a souvenir shop. The Hamilton Art Gallery, in Brown Street, includes collections of paintings by Australian artists as well as ceramics, tapestries and relics from India, China and Japan.
A short drive west of Hamilton on the Glenelg Highway are the Nigretta Falls and the spectacular Wannon Falls, both of which lie on the Wannon River. South of Hamilton, on the road to Port Fairy, is the Mt. Napier State Park which features the volcanic cone of Mt. Napier - the most recently active volcano in Victoria.
Hamilton is a good base for exploring the Grampians National Park, with the southern end of the park around a 20 minute drive north-east via Dunkeld. Just west of Dunkeld is a lookout allowing visitors to view the park's southern peaks of Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt.
Six reasons to visit Hamilton
1 Divine sounds
When Australia rode on the sheep's back, the Western District was one of the wealthiest regions in the nation. The godfearing people in the area invested in their faith by building magnificent churches across the land, and later this month these edifices will be filled with performances from choirs, string groups, brass bands and octets as the 13th Southern Grampians Promenade of Sacred Music gets under way. The Tudor Choristers sing next Saturday, April 20, in the St Andrew's Uniting Church in Coleraine, and are joined the following day at St Michael's Lutheran Church at Tarrington by brass instruments and the church's organ for the Come Sing a Song of Joy event. The big-ticket event is Nigel Westlake's The Glass Solider, the story of an Anzac from Ballarat who lost his sight in battle, which is performed next Saturday night at the Hamilton Performing Arts Centre by the Melbourne-Villers Bretonneux Brass Ensemble, with narration by Derek Guille.
2 Pastoral Museum
Before World War I, farm work was mostly done by men and animals. As the 20th century progressed and farming became industrialised, much of the equipment and many techniques became obsolete. Witnessing this change, enthusiasts in 1968 purchased a disused church and founded the Hamilton Pastoral Museum. Items on display include a grain thresher that required 12 men to operate it; another is a horse treader, a wooden crate in which a horse was tethered and forced to walk on a wooden treadmill to power a grain winnower. Many of the pieces are in working order and every year the members sow and harvest more than six hectares of oats or barley, using the old machinery, to raise funds.
Hamilton Pastoral Museum, corner Ballarat Road and Hiller Lane,
last Saturday of each month, 10am-4 pm, or by appointment, entry $5, 5571 1595
3 Woolly shop
Jackie O'Brien comes from a long line of wool growers and home knitters. Three-anda-half years ago she opened a shop in the middle of town that celebrates wool and items made from it. '' I called the shop Hazel Green because it sounded like one of the old ladies of the Western District who would have been a gun knitter,'' says O'Brien . She sells yarn and needles, patterns and kits, and also upcycles Australian-made woollen blankets, giving them a Liberty print edge and a new lease of life. She also stocks an exclusive range of knitted handbags and upper-end knitted fashion.
Hazel Green, 73 Thompson Street
Mon, Wed-Fri , 10am-5 pm, Sat, 10am-1 pm, 5572 2278,
When explorer Major Thomas Mitchell came through the region in 1836, he named a small volcano as Mount Eeles. A draftsman's error later rendered it as Mount Eccles. The Gunditjmara Aboriginal people had known it for thousands of years as Budj Bim. It erupted several times between 30,000 and 20,000 years ago, and those eruptions are still part of the locals' Dreaming stories. The crater, now filled with water, is surrounded by the greatest expanse of manna gum forest in Victoria.
5 Eat, drink
Roxburgh House is a double-storey building in the middle of the town where you can sit and read the paper over coffee and freshly baked croissants, or on Friday nights drop in for a wood-fired pizza. Around the corner is Blue Malt, a cafe-diner with fare of an Italian bent - think fritto misto or handmade pappardelle. But its real point of difference is its beer list, which features about 60 local and imported brews.
Roxburgh House, 64 Thompson Street, 5572 4857, Mon-Thurs , 8am-5 pm, Fri, 8am-11 pm, Sat, 8am-3 pm; Blue Malt, 106 Gray Street, Mon-Tues , 7am-5 pm, Wed-Fri , 7am-10 pm, Sat, 9am-late , 5571 9111
6 Pierrepoint Wines
Pierrepoint Wines, with its recently opened cellar door, is set on a bucolic grazing property in the shadow of Mount Pierrepoint, so named by Major Mitchell for a surveyor friend who died fighting in Spain. The Lacey family specialises in estate-made cool-climate chardonnay and pinot noir. Its wines grace the lists at Jacques Reymond in Melbourne and the Wine Bank in Bendigo, and are on tasting here to the public, along with offerings by the glass from local winemakers.
271 Pierrepoint Road, Tarrington,
Fri and Mon, 10am-3 pm, Sat-Sun , 11am-5 pm, 5572 5553,
Source: RICHARD CORNISH [email protected]
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Hamilton 3300
❊ Also See... ❊
→ Hamilton Model Railway Museum
→ Hamilton Showgrounds
→ Disclaimer: Check with the venue before making plans...
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