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The Governor at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum

Read about the Governor’s Regional Tour to Ararat, Moyne and Warrnambool.


Last week the Governor completed the first official visit to regional Victoria for the year, with a tour of Ararat, Moyne and Warrnambool.

With a busy program of engagements, the tour was a chance to gain an insight into the communities, businesses and institutions that are based in this part of the State.

Briefings with Ararat Rural City Council, Moyne Shire Council and Warrnambool City Council outlined local issues and opportunities, which were reinforced by engagements with community members.

The regional visit highlighted the impact of innovation, education, and volunteering in these communities.

A Region Steeped in History

This region has a rich and diverse history, stretching from First Nations heritage to early European Settlement and the Gold Rush Era – and significant population growth in the time since.

The Governor at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
The Governor at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve following a Welcome to Country.

A tour of the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve provided an insight into the unique environmental, historic and cultural value of the site, which is situated in the lands of the Eastern Maar Traditional Owners.

‘It is a beautiful natural landscape, but it is also has a series of beautiful man-made, or people-made, features, and it’s important to recognise both.’ – The Governor on a visit to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

The Reserve's visitor centre is currently being upgraded to ensure it continues to showcase First Nations cultural heritage for generations to come.

Visits to the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre and the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village were a chance to learn about the important role of early migration in the story of Victoria.

Industry and Innovation

Once sustained by gold mining and whaling, the region’s economy has since diversified to be supported by advanced manufacturing – with agriculture continuing as a significant industry.

The Governor at Gason
The Governor on a tour of Gason, a local manufacturer in Ararat.

As part of the visit to Ararat, the Governor toured local businesses AME Systems and Gason to meet with workers and hear about their innovative approaches, which are delivering significant benefits to the local community.

‘It's such an interesting and diverse region with such significant opportunities and you can see it transforming from the very strong, largely agricultural background and really diversifying across a range of industries and a range of opportunities." – The Governor during the visit to Moyne Shire

A tour of the Ararat Jobs & Technology Precinct at the Federation University campus offered an insight into what opportunities lie ahead for the region in terms of research and future industries.

Similarly, a visit to the Hycel Technology Hub at the Deakin University Warrnambool campus demonstrated how hydrogen research is advancing a clean energy transition.

These institutions and their initiatives will have broader impacts beyond the region itself in addressing contemporary issues that affect all Victorians.

Opportunities in Education

A focus on regional education formed a key part of this tour, with visits to universities, a TAFE and a primary school.

Furthermore, a visit to the Hopkins Correctional Centre was also a chance to see the facilities and learn more about the educational initiatives available to people involved in the justice system.

The Governor at Woodford Primary School
The Governor and the Principal of Woodford Primary School unveiling a plaque to commemorate the school’s 170th Anniversary.

With Woodford Primary School set to celebrate its 170th Anniversary in the coming months, the Governor was honoured to unveil a plaque to commemorate this significant milestone.

‘It can be very difficult to imagine what this school was like… When it opened there was only one teacher and 14 students… It was very small when it started but it was a very important start.’ – The Governor speaking to students at Woodford Primary School

A visit to South West TAFE showcased the breadth of educational opportunities on offer – with everything from a hair beauty and wellness academy, to nursing training facilities, and even model cattle for students to learn agricultural skills to equip them for work in the industry.

Engaging with Community Organisations

Throughout the tour, the Governor took opportunities to speak with community members across a range of issues including housing, employment opportunities and tourism.

The Governor at a civic reception in Ararat
The Governor speaking with community members at a civic reception in Ararat.

Civic receptions and roundtables held in all three of the areas were a chance to hear about current issues and visions for the future, as well as to seek insights into the challenges and rewards of leading an organisation in the local community.

‘What I was most pleased to see and to discover in the people and the businesses and the organisations, including the council, with whom I’m spoken to during the day, what an interesting and exciting set of possibilities and futures this town and its surrounding region have.’
 – The Governor at a civic reception hosted by Ararat Rural City Council

These events were attended by business owners, community leaders, multicultural leaders, volunteer organisations and sporting clubs.

Whilst in Ararat, the Governor took the opportunity to pass on sympathies for members of communities who experienced losses of homes in the recent fires in nearby Pomonal and Bellfield, as well as to firefighters injured whilst confronting the blaze.

Additional visits to the Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club, Warrnambool Art Gallery and the Warrnambool RSL Veterans Support Centre showed the enterprise and energy that continues to thrive in this region.

Thank you to Ararat Rural City Council, Moyne Shire Council and Warrnambool City Council for hosting the Governor on this insightful tour.