Chances are neither Hopetoun nor the Mallee country in which the town is centred would have developed into Victorian agricultural and economic powerhouses had it not been for the foresight and persistence of Edward Lascelles.
Known as the Mallee King, it was Lascelles who convinced the State Government that, with a little bit of help from Melbourne and a railway link, the Mallee country, so despised as useless scrub, had a future as a wheat bowl.
Lascelles died in 1917 and never lived to see or profit from the Mallee’s subsequent emergence as the state’s major producer of wheat and barley, but his name is enshrined in the region’s history.
The town, in fact, grew round the homestead Lascelles bought in 1878 and eventually named Hopetoun in honor of his friend, Lord Hopetoun, Victorian Governor and Australia’s first Governor-General.
The pioneers' struggle against adversity and scepticism is reflected through two historic homes - Corrong Homestead, built by Peter McGinnis in 1845 on the first land released in the region, and Lascelles' home.
The McGinnis home, in which his seven children and adopted Aboriginal son, Jowley, were raised, has been relocated to McGinnis Park on Evelyn Street, just a gentle walk from Lascelles' Hopetoun House.