Northern Grampians Shire
Northern Grampians Shire (1995-) is an amalgamation of several local government areas, including the former Stawell city and St Arnaud town. In addition it includes the former Stawell shire, Kara Kara shire and small parts of four other former shires. Kara Kara shire was the rural area surrounding St Arnaud.
Stawell and St Arnaud were former gold towns, along with a few villages in their vicinities. The rural hinterland is the eastern Wimmera, mainly comprising wheat/sheep holdings. The relationship to the Grampians mountain range is confined to the south-west of the shire.
Stawell is the shire’s administrative centre and is 210 km north-west of Melbourne. A customer-service centre is provided at St Arnaud. Both towns are on major highways and railways, Stawell being on the way to Horsham and St Arnaud being on the Sunraysia Highway to the Wimmera and Mildura.
When the shire was created farming occupied 61% of the shire’s area of 5310 sq km. The value of crops (mainly wheat and barley) was $55.6m, and livestock meat and products were valued at $41m. The shire had 22 hotels and motels with nearly 1200 bed spaces, reflecting the tourism industry around and in the Grampians. Halls Gap (Grampians) is in the shire, as is the wine-growing district around Great Western.
Northern Grampians shire’s census populations have been:
At the 2011 census, farming accounted for 10.4% of employment of the shire’s residents.
Grampians, St Arnaud, Stawell, Kara Kara shire and Stawell shire entries