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Whereis > VIC > Dunkeld

Map of Dunkeld, VIC 3294

Dunkeld is a town in Victoria, Australia at the southern end of the Grampians National Park, in the Shire of Southern Grampians. It is approx 283 km west of Melbourne on the Glenelg Highway. The town's population is holding steady but ageing. At the 2011 census, Dunkeld had a population of 461.

The Chapwurrung people lived in this region to the south and east of the Grampians for over 4,000 years prior to the arrival of the Europeans. The first pastoralists took up properties here in the late 1830s, and there was a decade of sometimes violent clashes with the Chapwurring. A small European township developed which was initially known as Mount Sturgeon, the hill behind the town. A Post Office of that name opened on 1 July 1852 (Dunkeld from 1 January 1854); but, as the early settlers were predominantly Scottish, it was renamed Dunkeld after a Scottish town which was the principal locality of the Caledonian picts in Roman times.

At a strategic point south of the Grampians for road traffic and surrounded by fine wool producing country, Dunkeld thrived in the mid-19th century. The Robertson's Woolpack Inn was the first building to be erected in 1845, followed by five other hotels - the Shamrock and the Western, the Royal Mail, the Collins Railway Hotel and the Family Inn. Road traffic declined with the opening of the railway (1877 to Hamilton and Ararat, with another short lived line going south to Penshurst). Louis Buvelot, Eugene von Guerard and Nicholas Chevalier all made paintings of the district, where Mount Abrupt and Mount Sturgeon provide an appealing backdrop.
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