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The major city in the rich wool producing area south of the Grampians, Hamilton has a population of around 10,000.  After initial explorations, the area was first settled in 1838 by the Scottish Edge brothers, who called their property “The Grange.” Just as it is today, Hamilton was on the cross roads between the ports of PortlandPort Fairy and Melbourne.

By Mattinbgn (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The entrance gates to the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.  The gardens were designed by William Guilfoyle, the same person who designed the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and consist of 1.6 hectares featuring rare botanic species.
By Mattinbgn (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1879, this ornate building was the meeting place of Hamilton Club – a group of squatters, professionals and merchants of the Hamilton district who formed the commercial backbone of the region. The building has been preserved in excellent condition and is on the state heritage register.

The Hamilton & Western District College is a landmark building in the town and was built in 1871.  The school serves both primary and secondary students from the local region and has connections with the Presbyterian Church, reflecting the strong Scottish background of the early settlers.

With all the facilities of a modern city, Hamilton is a great place to use as a base for your exploration of the Grampians National Park.  It is just 28kms to Dunkeld and the southern edge of the park and 96kms to Halls Gap. 

By Jacko222 at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mount Napier

In addition to its proximity to the Grampians, Hamilton is less than a hours drive (19 kms) to the north of the inactive volcano Mount Napier and Byaduk volcanic plains region.