Nirranda is a rural locality in western Victoria, situated on the Great Ocean Road, 28 km south-east of Warrnambool. It is a shorter distance from Timboon to its east. The name is thought to have been derived from an Aboriginal word meaning moon.
Farm settlements in the Nirranda area began in the late 1860s, and a school was opened in 1870. The area was on the western part of the Heytesbury forest. Although the soil was productive the poor state of roads made marketing difficult. By 1879 there were a post office and a Catholic church, and in 1886 a Presbyterian church was opened. Warrnambool’s historian, William Osburne, stated that Nirranda was famed for its oats and cheese (1886).
The localities of Nirranda East and Nirranda South were settled later. Schools were opened in about 1900 and in 1932 respectively. The name was also given to a settlement on the east bank of Curdies River, 7 km to the east. The settlement is now Curdie Vale.
Nirranda is a dairying district which has lost most of its public amenities. The three schools were closed during 1986-88 and the store some time before then. There are a public hall, a recreation reserve and football and netball clubs. The Nullawarre school took the district’s school children. A large Catholic church of modern design was built in 1959. Now closed, it stands as a mute cream-brick reminder of an ambitious fostering of the faith.
Nirranda’s census populations have been:
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At the 2011 census, dairy farming accounted for 48.5% of employment.
In 2008-10 the CO-2 Cooperative Research Centre conducted a geo-sequestration trial at Nirranda pumping 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide underground for storage despite community concerns about carbon dioxide entering the water table and criticism from environmental groups.