Cressy is a rural town 35 km north of Colac in western Victoria. It is on the Hamilton Highway and the railway line to Ararat.
The settlement of Cressy came about by a Frenchman, Jean d'Auvergnay, settling at the nearby Woady Yaloak River in 1840. He apparently moved there from Camperdown, to a place which he thought was less menaced by Aborigines. He built 'Frenchman's Inn' on the site of the future Cressy, which was named after his birthplace in France, Crecy. Lake Rosine, about 6 km westwards, is named after his wife.
The inn was near the junction of tracks from Port Phillip to Portland and Port Fairy. A bridge was built over Woady Yaloak River in 1849. The township of Cressy was surveyed in 1851, and Duverney Street commemorates the founder's name. d'Auvergnay acquired a pastoral run, and most of the country around Cressy was occupied by similar properties until 1905. There was a Presbyterian church (1862), a school (1866) and the inn. In 1903 Cressy was described in the Australian handbook:
During 1905-10 over 400 sq km of pastoral properties on the plains around Cressy were subdivided for smaller holdings. Cressy's population grew eight-fold. A mechanics' institute was opened in 1908, The Pioneer newspaper began in 1910, and Methodist, Anglican and Catholic churches were built during 1910-13. After World War I an avenue of honour was planted and memorial rooms were added to the mechanics' institute. By 1912 Cressy was described in the Victorian municipal directory as an important township and centre of an agricultural and dairying district, with railway connection to Colac and the Ballarat areas (1911-53). In 1913 a line from the Geelong area to the Ararat area intersected at Cressy.
Cressy acquired a sub-regional role with a livestock saleyard and a bush-nursing centre (1929). The horticultural and agricultural society built a pavilion at the recreation reserve.
Cressy has a general store, Frenchman's Inn, a bowling club, a recreation reserve, a hall, Catholic and Uniting churches, an infant welfare centre and a school (26 pupils, 1998, and about half that number in 2010, after which it closed). The main farm activity is sheep grazing for meat and wool.
Cressy's census populations have been:
Cressy centenary celebrations, 1838-1938, Cressy Centenary Executive Committee, 1938
Gateway to the plains: the history of Cressy and district, 1838-1988, Cressy and District History Group, n.d.