Narrawong is a small rural/residential township on the coast of western Victoria, 15 km north-east of Portland. It is situated on the Princes Highway, at the mouth of the Surrey River.

A local landmark, about 4 km northwards, is Mount Clay (189 m), named by the New South Wales Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell during his Australia Felix expedition in 1836. The locality was known as Mount Clay until renamed Narrawong, which is thought to have been derived from an Aboriginal word describing the Surrey River.

The coastal land has supported mixed grazing, orcharding and dairying. A Presbyterian school was opened in 1857 and the Farmers’ Inn was opened two years later. By about 1900 there were also a mechanics’ institute, a cheese factory and a shooting club.

Because of Narrawong’s proximity to Portland there has been increasing residential development there. The Narrawong district school had 62 pupils in 1992, 43 in 2011 and 57 in 2014. The hotel has been converted to a general store, post office and bottleshop. There is a caravan/holiday park near the beach. Unrecorded heritage sites include a school building (1889), the former Presbyterian church (1905) and the mechanics’ institute.

An area of land called the 'Convincing Ground', known to be the site of an Aboriginal massacre in the 1830s, was approved for development in 2007.

Concerns about future sea level rise and coastal erosion led the State government to impose a moratorium on building on more than 500 blocks at Narrawong in 2007. However, by 2013, development in the Ocean View Drive and Snapper Point area was permitted to proceed by allowing landowners to assume the risk and limit liability for the council and the government. Efforts were made to protect fragile dunes from development.

Narrawong’s census populations have been:

census date population
1891 71
1933 163
1954 214
2006 176
2011 351

Further Reading

Gwen Bennett, Watering holes of the west [hotels etc. Heywood Shire], the author, 1997