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Melrose is the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges. It is in the shadow of Mount Remarkable, 265 km north of Adelaide, and the town was once named "Mount Remarkable". At the 2011 census, Melrose had a population of 406.The first European explorer in the area was Edward John Eyre in 1840, closely followed by settlers coming to farm the area. Copper was discovered and mining started in 1846, but it was not economic, and ceased in 1851. The mine was opened again three more times, the latest closure was in 1917.
In 1893 at a time of high unemployment, Wilton Hack founded a communal settlement in the area. At its peak, some 130 settlers were working 1,000 acres of land. By the end of 1895 after a succession of poor seasons around half the settlers had left, and in 1896 the village was closed by the Government.Today, Melrose is the base for visitors to the Mount Remarkable National Park and centre for the local farmers.
When it was opened in 1848, the police station in Melrose was the base of the largest police district in the world. A constable, two troopers and an Aboriginal tracker were responsible for an area extending to the Timor Sea.
In June, Melrose is home to the Fat Tyre Festival, an off-road bike celebration exploring local bike trails and crowding parades of freak bikes.
In August, Melrose is also home to the King of the Mount trail race. This is a race to the summit of Mt Remarkable during which runners and walkers will ascend over 600M along a 7.7 km trail.