Labertouche is a rural village in West Gippsland, 10 km north-west of Drouin. It lies east of the Bunyip River on land between the former Great Swamp (west) and the hilly ranges that rise to Jindivick.

The Labertouche district contained the tracks into Gippsland, now known as Jacksons Track and Old Telegraph Road, which predated the railway and the Princes Highway. Those tracks, however, did not ensure early settlement of Labertouche, as the Bunyip River and smaller streams made the land swampy. There were a couple of pastoral runs (1867, 1868) and tentative farm selections in the late 1870s. The name was probably bestowed in the early 1880s as a compliment to Peter Labertouche, Commissioner of Railways and Roads (1881-84).

In 1882 a school was opened for farm selectors' children. Dairying was the main industry, helped by the Tarago River creamery (1891). Drainage work in the swamp in the 1890s brought more population, and the newly drained land grew good potatoes. In 1923 a hall was built, and the present replacement building dates from 1961.

Labertouche has a school (13 pupils, 2014), a hall, a CFA station and airfield where there is a parachute club. The Labertouche caves, 7 km north-east of the village, are an unusual formation in igneous rocks. On Black Saturday 2009 the Bunyip State Park fire swept through Labertouche and destroyed 24 houses and a factory, and burnt 2500 hectares of prime farmland.

Labertouche's census populations have been:

census date population
1911 76
1921 114 
1947 112 
1961 163 
2006 998*
2011 534

*includes environs

Further Reading

Labertouche 1882-1982, then and now, 1982