Ballan is a small town in the state of Victoria, Australia located on the Werribee River, 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Melbourne.
- Area:147.389 km2
- Elevation:510 m
- Local Government Area:Moorabool Shire Council
Ballan is a small town in the state of Victoria, Australia locatedon the Werribee River, 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Melbourne. At the 2016 census, Ballan had a population of 2,985.It is the main administrative centre for the Shire of Moorabool local government area. Ballan is a small country regional town but also not too far from Melbourne City which takes a one-hour drive. Ballan Town is located in between Melbourne - Ballarat Western Freeway and had a major train stop in between these two cities. Ballan's facilities include a hospital, primary schools, railway station, police station, post office, church, banks, ATM, public play grounds, golf club, hotel, Pub, caravan park, fuel station, restaurants, supermarket and other shops. During the Victorian Gold Rush, it became an important staging point for coaches travelling to the Ballarat goldfields.
The area around Ballan was part of the tribal area of the Wautharong people, part of the Kulin nation. The area was rich in fauna, including kangaroo, kangaroo rats, bandicoots, dingos, and two species of native cat. Many species had vanished by the end of the 19th century, with European settlement.The first European settlers crossed Bass Strait landing near Geelong and worked their way up the Moorabool River with their sheep flocks. Robert von Steiglitz first settled the area in 1838; he named the area after Ballan in Ireland. Other early settler names included Cowie, Stead, Wallace and Egerton.
There were clashes between indigenous Australians and white settlers during settlement. Robert von Steiglitz stated in his journal
"… it may be questioned by some feather-bed philanthropist whether we had the right to take the country from the blacks but I believe the general rule is that if people cultivate or graze the land they have a claim to it. These creatures did neither …".
Gold was found in the area in 1851, which brought an influx of prospectors during the Victorian Gold Rush. The Ballan Hotel dates from the gold rush period in 1851. The town became an important staging point for coaches travelling to the Ballarat goldfields. The post office in the township opened around September 1853, although two earlier offices in the area were named Ballan.Ballan Primary School was established on 8 January 1855.The first Mechanics' Institute in Ballan was built in 1861, with the current Mechanics' Institute built on land purchased in 1881, although the façade was demolished and rebuilt in 1922. The building houses the library for the town and a hall.St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Ballan was officially opened in July 1866.Ballan Magistrates' Court closed on 1 January 1983.On 15 November 2003, a Sprinter train travelling to Ballarat was derailed between Ballan and Gordon, injuring 61 people when it hit a stationary vehicle on a country railway crossing.
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