Corangamite Shire

Corangamite Shire was proclaimed on 23 September 1994, by the union of Camperdown town, most of Heytesbury Shire, most of Hampden Shire and parts of Otway, Mortlake and Warrnambool Shires. Its area is 4600 sq km.

The shire's southern boundary is the coastline between Curdies and Gillibrand Rivers, probably the most scenically attractive part of the coast skirted by the Great Ocean Road. The main township is Port Campbell. The northern extremity of the shire is Skipton on the Glenelg Highway. Between those extremes the shire's other main townships are Lismore and Derrinallum (Hamilton Highway), Camperdown and Terang (Princes Highway) and Cobden and Timboon. The last mentioned are in the Curdies River area and adjoin the former Heytesbury forest which was almost completely cleared for dairying during 1928-33 and 1956-80.

The shire's name came from Lake Corangamite, situated on the shire's eastern edge and Victoria's largest lake. It is very salty, and it is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word describing salt or bitterness.

Much of the shire's area was occupied by prosperous pastoral estates, particularly southwards from Skipton through Derrinallum to Terang and Camperdown. The area is noted for lakes and craters, from relatively recent volcanic activity, with fertile grassed plains and patches of stony rises from volcanic material. There are numerous dry stone walls, particularly around Glenormiston. Most of the estates were subdivided for closer settlement in the 1890s and after the two world wars. Farms in the north of the shire graze sheep and beef cattle and farms in the south graze dairy cattle. The numerous creameries and butter factories of the 1920s-50s were regionalised as large-scale factories at Camperdown, Cobden, Simpson and Timboon. There was further consolidation, with the Camperdown and Timboon factories being taken over by small-scale enterprises. In 1995-96 livestock products (mainly dairy) were valued at $229 million. Meat products were valued at $52 million and crops at $36 million.

The shire's administrative centre is at Camperdown on the Princes Highway, which passes through the middle of the shire. The shire's census populations have been:

census date population
1996 17,812
2001 16,554
2006 16,616
2011 16,376

The population is above average English speaking in numbers, and religious affiliations (2011 census). At the 2011 census dairy farming accounted for 19.7% of employment and other farming 7.9%.

Further Reading

Corangamite heritage study, stage one, 2009

Camperdown; Heytesbury and Hampden Shires entries