Beaufort is a town in Victoria, Australia. It is located on the Western Highway midway between Ararat and Ballarat, in the Pyrenees Shire local government area. It is 387 metres above sea level. At the 2001 census, Beaufort had a population of 987. The town takes its name either from Rear-Admiral F. Beaufort or a Welsh village in Monmouthshire.
The area was once occupied by the Jajowarrung Aborigines who called the area ‘Peerick’.
Thomas Mitchell passed through the district on his expedition of 1836. Early settlers in the area were the Kirkland Brothers and a Mr. Hamilton; the latter took up Trawalla Station in 1838. The station was taken over by Adolphus Goldsmith in 1841 and he developed the property into a rich grazing enterprise. Lake Goldsmith was named after him. Gold was discovered in 1852, with another gold rush from 1854 at nearby Fiery Creek. The Fiery Creek diggings supported four townships — Beaufort, Yam Holes Creek, View Point and Southern Cross — during the 1850s. The population on the fields reportedly reached approximately 100,000 people at its height in the late 1850s and produced 450,000 ounces of gold over a two-year period, 1855–1856. The town was surveyed in 1857 and town allotments were sold from 1858. By 1860, Beaufort had become a small but strong agricultural, pastoral and timber district. Beaufort’s Court House was built in 1863.
Beaufort has been home to an all-ages, five-day (rave) music and arts festival, called Rainbow Serpent Festival, since 1998.
Beaufort is quite an historic town but there is little information that is readily available on the town’s heritage buildings. Consequently, dates are often unavailable. However, as you enter Beaufort along the highway (from Melbourne), you will see the town’s primary school to the left. The original school building dates from 1864.
Today the town is a service centre to the area which produces beef, fat lambs, wool, cereals and timber. There is a timber-treatment plant in town.