Elmhurst is a rural village on the Pyrenees Highway and Avoca to Ararat railway line, about midway between those towns. It is situated near several tributaries of the Wimmera River, some of which fall from the Mount Cole State Forest a few kilometres south of Elmhurst. The village of Elmhurst, Staffordshire, England, probably inspired the name, as lands fronting the Glenpatrick Creek and Wimmera River were attractively meadow-like.
Farm selections began in the 1860s, along with timber harvesting. Bailliere’s Victorian gazetteer (1865) recorded Elmhurst as having a hotel, a post office and two sawmills. Sawmills proliferated to eight by the late 1880s, supplying timbers for gold mines and railway sleepers. A school was opened in 1866 in a Presbyterian church, and a Templars hall was built in 1870. A combined church (1890) and Methodist church (1893) completed the town’s religious buildings. The railway line to Ararat was laid in 1890.
In 1903 Elmhurst was described in the Australian handbook:
In 1908 the large De Cameron pastoral property north of Elmhurst was subdivided for closer settlement. The additional population strengthened local sporting ties to the extent of a golf club being formed. The course was on private land until moved to a former racecourse site in 1983.
Elmhurst has two churches, a hall, a recreation reserve next to the golf course, a hotel, a post office and a school (14 pupils, 2014). In 1972 water reticulation from a reservoir in the Mount Cole State Forest was provided, fulfilling a commitment dating from the early 1900s. Elmhurst's census populations have been:
|Elmhurst and environs||2006||343|
Echoes of Elmhurst, Centenary and Back-to-Elmhurst Committee, 1968
Lorna Banfield and John McKenzie, Shire of Ararat, 1864-1994, Shire of Ararat, 1994