Day 102 and 103 of riding - Nhill to Ararat via Horsham

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After a great breakfast put on by the Nhill RSL (Henry Berry and Rhys Webb) it was time to move down the highway and burn those calories off. A mighty fine day yesterday to Horsham and onto to Ararat. Juvy has left the team and headed back to WA driving back along the same route I rode on. He's been on the road since the 5th September and done a mighty fine job as support driver. All the best Juvy and I'm sure it will be a big treat for you to fit back into normality with your family after 6 weeks in support.
Due to the loss of one support vehicle and driver heading back to Perth, it was a big reshuffle of equipment, installation of a rear camera (for my safety) and change of crew for up front in charge of the lead support vehicle.
Arrived to a warm welcome by the Horsham RSL including lunch, speech and donation by the RSL President Ken Taylor and Councillor Angela Murray.
Moving on towards Melbourne, via Ballarat, Geelong and Sorrento over the next few days now at the 9,200 km point and 102 actual riding days since leaving Hanoi. The Ararat RSL members were out in force to meet us on arrival, a most outstanding welcome in big numbers to look after the long ride home team during our overnight stay there. A big thank you to the RSL President Frank Neulist, RSL Manager Maria Whitford, Wayne Wild Secretary and Frank Logan Treasurer for a presentation of insight into the RSL facilities and long term goals which appears to be very successful. In closing, a huge thank you to all the committee, staff and members for the huge donation towards the long ride home cause. It's support and donations like this that I am seeing through clubs and association just like the Ararat RSL since starting the ride that helps keep the awareness going and motivation for me to continue doing the hard yards for such a cause. Well done to you all from the long ride home team on the road and at those at higher echelons level.
Horsham is a regional city in the Wimmera region of western Victoria, Australia. Located on the Wimmera River, Horsham is about 300 kilometres north-west of the state capital Melbourne. In June 2015, Horsham had an estimated population of 16,451. Horsham was named by original settler James Monckton Darlot after the town of Horsham in his native England. It grew throughout the latter 19th and early 20th century as a centre of Western Victoria's wheat and wool industry. Horsham was declared a city in 1949 and was named Australia's Tidiest Town in 2001 and again in 2015.
The first inhabitants of the Horsham area were the Djura Balug indigenous Australian tribe who spoke the Jardwadjali language.
Major Thomas Mitchell was the first European to pass through the area, naming the Wimmera River on 18 July 1836.
Squatter James Monckton Darlot was the first European settler, claiming 100,000 acres at Dooen on 10 August 1842. Charles Carter established his property "Brim Springs" nearby in 1845.
The main railway from Melbourne reached Horsham in 1879 and was later extended to Adelaide, South Australia, while a branch line west to Carpolac was started in 1887 and closed in 1988. The Horsham Borough Council and the Shire of Wimmera operated the McKenzie Creek Tramway from the town to a stone quarry, some 8 kilometres to the south. The horse tramway opened in 1885 and ceased operating in 1927. Special picnic trains operated from time to time conveying residents in open wagons.
Major flooding affected the settlement in both October 1894 and August 1909 with the Wimmera reaching 3.87 m.
Ararat is a city in south-west Victoria, Australia, about 198 kilometres west of Melbourne, on the Western Highway on the eastern slopes of the Ararat Hills and Cemetery Creek valley between Victoria's Western District and the Wimmera. Its urban population according to the Council's Website is 8,076 and services the region of 11,752 residents across the Rural City's boundaries
The discovery of gold in 1857 during the Victorian gold rush transformed it into a boomtown which continued to prosper until the turn of the 20th century after which it has steadily declined in population. It was proclaimed as a city on 24 May 1950. After a decline in population over the 1980s and 90s, there has been a small but steady increase in the population, and it is the site of many existing and future, large infrastructure projects including the Hopkins Correctional Facility development project.
Prior to the European settlement of Australia, Ararat was inhabited by the TjapwurongIndigenous Australian people.
Europeans first settled in the Grampians region in the 1840s after surveyor Thomas Mitchell passed through the area in 1836. In 1841, Horatio Wills, on his way to selecting country further south, wrote in his diary, "like the Ark we rested" and named a nearby hill Mt Ararat. It is from this entry and the nearby Mount that the town takes its name. The Post Office opened 1 February 1856 although known as Cathcart until 31 August 1857.
In 1857, a party of Chinese miners en route to the Central Victorian gold fields struck gold at the Canton Lead which marked the beginning of great growth in Ararat. The Chinese community was substantial in Ararat, and the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre commemorates the history of the community.
Ararat became a city of asylums, with a large facility Aradale Mental Hospital was opened in 1865 and J Ward, a lunatic asylum for criminally insane (formerly the Ararat County Gaol), opened in 1887. Both have been closed but remain as significant reminders of the city's role in the treatment of mentally ill patients.
Many thanks from us all on the long ride home team
Truck Sams