Stawell Gift -World's richest footrace Easter Saturday -Easter Monday
Stawell is the venue of the world's best-known and richest professional foot race, the 'Stawell Gift'. This historic race held each Easter, attracts local and international competitors. It is conducted by the Stawell Athletic Club, which was established in 1887. The race venue is the atmospheric, grassy and shady grounds near the town centre. The grounds contain modern and historic grandstands and open spectator areas and the 'Stawell Gift' Hall of Fame, which has videos, photographs and equipment covering over a century of Stawell Gift foot racing.
Stawell Gift Hall of Fame
Lower Main St, Central Park
Ph: (03) 5358 1326
Weekdays 9am - 11 am Weekends by appointment, and later during peak seasons. Displays the History of Australia's best known foot race. Videos, photographs and equipment covering a century of memorabilia is on show.
Above the Stawell Township.
Big Hill offers expansive views towards the Grampians in the East and the Pyrenees Ranges to the West. Around the modern goldmine there is a viewing platform above the Magdala Decline entrance. You may be lucky enough to see the large low-slung gold mining trucks entering or returning from the many kilometres of tunnels, which lie beneath the town. This Mine is now Victoria's largest gold producer. Around the old workings on Big Hill there is a short tunnel through to on old open cut mining excavation.
Things to do
Stawell Historical Society
Old Court House
The town does have many fine historic buildings quietly hidden away for those who have on eye for such things. The Stawell Historical Society has a museum and information centre in the Old Court House, which was built in 1862.
Close to Stawell are the Box Ironbark forests where a self-guided Nature Walk with directional markers and numbered posts marking points of interest give guidance for a one hour walk. The district also has several other reserves well worth a visit Jalluker Forest, Lake Lonsdale Forest, Illawarra and of course the magnificent Grampians National Park.
Stawell is the natural choice as a base for exploring this most interesting and diverse region.
Places to Eat
Diamond House Restaurant & Motor Inn
24 Seaby St Stawell
Ph: +61 (0)3 5358 3366
Gold Reef Chinese Restaurant
Gold Reef Mall Stawell
Ph: +61 (0)3 5358 1005
Magdala Motor Lodge and Restaurant
Western Hwy Stawell
Ph: +61 (0)3 5358 3877
During the 1840's pastorals runs were selected in the Stawell area, however, it was gold, found by a shepherd in the district in May 1853, which led to its development.
By 1854, around 5,000 prospectors had descended upon the Pleasant Creek Goldfields to seek their fortune. Later, in 1857, the discovery of incredibly rich, alluvial leads at Commercial Street and Deep Lead saw an influx of some 20,000 people to the growing city, and its goldfields.
Proclaimed as Stawell in 1858 (originally named Pleasant Creek), the city was to bear witness to the fading of alluvial mining and the rising of big business, reef mining, heralding an era of substantial prosperity, which continued through to the 1870's. The town was named Stawell in honour of a Victorian Chief Justice. Although there is a modern goldmine operating beneath the township the casual visitor will not readily see evidence of these activities.
In April 1878 the Stawell Athletic Club staged its first Stawell Gift. To this day it remains as one of the richest, professional foot races in the world.
In addition to being the home of the Stawell Easter Gift, Stawell today is well sited for tours to the Grampians National Park.