Royal Mail Hotel with the Grampians in the background
|Population||678 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Southern Grampians|
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 2016 census, Dunkeld had a population of 678.
The Djab wurrung 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 in the late 1830s and there was a decade of sometimes violent clashes with the Djab wurrung. A small European township developed which was initially known as Mount Sturgeon, after 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 a backdrop.
In January 1944, fires destroyed one-third of Dunkeld's houses and only the Royal Mail Hotel remained from the five original establishments. Today Dunkeld contains an upmarket restaurant and accommodation. There is also a general store, two cafes, post office, art gallery, petrol station, schools, local museum, bookstore, (sandstone) stonemason and a DIY store. Residents access most other services they need in Hamilton but the railway line has been closed for some years. Wool production still takes place in the surrounding farms. The timber industry has now ceased, but there is at least one local vineyard. There is a campsite and a variety of other tourist accommodation, and tourism is now the main employer. A 40-ha property, "Heathlands", was owned by naturalist Graham Pizzey, author of A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia.
Dunkeld has a horse racing club, the Dunkeld Racing Club, which runs the Dunkeld Cup meeting in November. The town, in conjunction with nearby township Glenthompson, has an Australian rules football team, called Glenthompson-Dunkeld, competing in the Mininera & District Football League. The team won the league's premiership in 2010. Golfers play at the Grampians Golf Club on Victoria Valley Road.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Dunkeld (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
- "Dunkeld - Victoria - Australia - Travel - smh.com.au". www.smh.com.au. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- "Devastation at Dunkeld". The Horsham Times (8738). Victoria, Australia. 18 January 1944. p. 2. Retrieved 7 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Pizzey, Graham, (Graham Martin) (1930-2001)", Trove, 2008, retrieved 6 December 2017
- Country Racing Victoria, Dunkeld Racing Club, archived from the original on 28 July 2008, retrieved 7 May 2009
- Golf Select, Grampians, retrieved 11 May 2009
Media related to Dunkeld, Victoria at Wikimedia Commons