The Pyrenees Shire is a very productive agricultural region covering 3,500 square kilometres. The shire takes its name from the ranges in the north, named by Major Mitchell in 1836 as they reminded him of the Pyrenees in Europe.
This area is renowned for its cereal and hay crops, wool, viticulture and forestry activity. Gold, along with sand, gravel and slate, all contribute to the region's economy. Thirty per cent of the workforce is involved in agriculture, which produces commodities with a gross value of about $70 million each year.
The climate varies between the north and the south of the region. North of the Pyrenees Ranges there is a warmer, drier climate, with rainfall of about 650 millimetres a year. South of the Pyrenees Ranges is a cooler, wetter climate with rainfall in excess of 750mm per year.
Four major highways run through the region. The Western Highway, through Beaufort, is the main road route from Melbourne to Adelaide and Perth. The Sunraysia Highway runs through the north of the Shire to Mildura, connecting with the Western Highway at Ballarat. The Pyrenees Highway runs from Maryborough to Ararat through the north-central area of the shire. The southern section is serviced by the Glenelg Highway linking Melbourne with south-western Victoria. A passenger rail service operates twice a day between Ballarat and Ararat, stopping at Beaufort. Although there are no airstrips in the region, Ballarat airport in the south and Maryborough in the north are readily accessible.
The region is serviced by a major hospital at Beaufort and aged-care facilities in Avoca and Beaufort. The council delivers a range of aged-care and maternal and child health services. Other general health services are available on a visiting basis, so that most medical situations are covered.
Excellent educational facilities are available in the shire, including primary schools, a secondary college and Community Enterprise Facilities incorporating adult education organisations.
The recreational interests of the community and the visitor are well served across the region, with most towns having their own sporting facilities. Apart from all the traditional sporting activities, hang-gliding from Mt Cole and the French game of Petanque in Avoca attract considerable interest among visitors and the local community.
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Pyrenees Shire is located in the Central West of Victoria. It sits naturally between Ballarat and Ararat and Maryborough and St. Arnaud.
Its central location, pleasant rural lifestyle, proximity to Melbourne and other major cities make Pyrenees and ideal place to visit and explore, to enjoy its natural splendour as well as being a competitive place to start a business.