Breamlea is a coastal locality on Bass Strait, between Torquay and Barwon Heads and 16 km south of Geelong. Its previous names have included Bancoora and Bream Creek; ‘Breamlea’ replaced Bream Creek in the 1930s.
Much of the terrain back from the coast is wetland, and about 400 metres from the beach there is Buckley’s Well, a freshwater source reputed to have been used by William Buckley who lived among local Aborigines from 1803 to 1835.
The name Bancoora came about from the SS Bancoora which ran aground near the local Bancoora beach in 1891. In addition to the well and the beach, Thompsons Creek runs into Bass Strait at Breamlea after following a course nearly parallel to the beach for about two kilometres. The place became popular with campers in the 1920s and had permanent inhabitants in makeshift huts during the 1930s depression years.
In 1942 residential subdivisions became available, and in 1947 a post office opened. A school opened in a hall in 1952 and a permanent school building operated from 1955 to 1966. Early postwar houses were often modest fibro cement buildings. Later additions are better finished and houses tend to be tightly held.
The houses, a general store and a caravan park are on the land between Thompsons Creek and the beach. Bancoora surf life saving club (1963) patrols Bancoora beach. There is also surfing further west near Point Impossible at the creek mouth.
The Breamlea Foreshore Masterplan was released in 1999 and reviewed in 2009 to protect the sand dunes and the unique saltmarsh and estuarine environment of Thompson Creek. Priorities included protection of the environment and maintenance of the ‘small town’ nature and informal character of Breamlea.
Breamlea’s census populations have been:
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