Hamilton

Hamilton is an average-sized city in western Victoria, Australia. It is ideally situated at the intersection of the historical Glenelg Highway (from Ballarat to Mt. Gambier) and also the Henty Highway (from Portland to Horsham). The Hamilton Highway connects it to Geelong. Hamilton is in the federal Division of Wannon, and is in the Southern Grampians local government area. Hamilton claims to be the “Wool Capital of the World”, based on its strong historical links to sheep grazing which continue today.

History

Hamilton was built near the border of 3 traditional indigenous tribal territories: the Gunditjmara land that stretches along south to the coast, the Tjapwurong land to the north east and the Bunganditj territory to the west.

The proximity of The Grange to other properties and to important tracks between Portland and New South Wales led to the gradual emergence of a small town. This included a hotel, blacksmith, a small shop and some shanties and businesses nearby. The site was a small social centre for surrounding pastoral properties, with horse races being held along the Grange Burn flat. A Post Office has opened on July 1844.

People who lived in these areas tended to be settled rather than nomadic. The region was (and is) fertile and well-watered, leading to an abundance of wildlife, and no need to travel far for food. Physical remains such as the weirs and fish traps found in Lake Condah to the south of Hamilton, as well as accounts of early white settlers support local indigenous oral histories of well established settlements in the area.

Environment

The area of Eastern Barred Bandicoot is very native to the area, and a reserve has been constructed to protect the endangered species in the city. In 2007, the total numbers both within the reserve and without have been severely decreased to the point of near extinction as a result of extended and heavy drought. Within the city the public lands adjoining the river and Lake Hamilton have been subject to spasmodic tree-planting projects in Hamilton.