Hamilton

Hamilton is a regional centre with a population around 10,000 and is a typical Australian rural city.

The area was originally on the border of the lands of three aboriginal tribes that lived permanently rather than as nomads.  There was significant conflict with european pastoralists who began grazing sheep in the region from 1836.  Conflict gradually diminished as violence and european diseases took their toll on the indigenous population.  The town of Hamilton was declared in 1854.

Today the town remains a centre of the wool industry; the region contributes about 15% of Australian wool production.  There is a significant amout of fine merino wool in the region, centred on stations around nearby Dunkeld.  This fine wool is the most expensive in the world, selling mainly to Italian and Korean buyers.

Hamilton has an interesting stock of 19th century architecture and wonderful Botanic Gardens with eight tree species listed on the Register of Significant Trees in Victoria.  Hamilton Art Gallery has one of the major regional collections in Victoria, most particularly featuring 22 works by English painter Paul Sandby (1731–1809).  Only the Queen of England has more works by Sandby. The gallery is open everyday.  There are good cafes and pubs for a refreshment stop, and a range of reasonable overnight accommodation.

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Gray St Hamilton