Eagle Point

The settlement of Eagle Point is situated on the western shore of Lake King, about 10 km south of Bairnsdale in East Gippsland. Nearby is the mouth of the Mitchell River where silt jetties extend nearly 10 km into the lake. This natural phenomenon is formed by silt deposited as the river slows down on entering the lake.

In the late 1840s C.J. Tyers, who was first Police Magistrate and then Commissioner of Crown Lands, established his residence and a police depot at Eagle Point. This bluff on the Mitchell River is supposedly named because of an eagle's nest found there.

The area was well settled by the 1870s, with hops being grown along the river. Eagle Point was a popular place for picnics and in 1873 a large area, between the bluff and the lake shore, was reserved as a park.

In the early 1890s a village settlement was established on the south silt jetty. By 1896 there were 232 residents, growing maize, potatoes, onions and peas on their small farms. Fishing and labouring sustained many in the early years, and the settlement was more successful than most. A school commenced in 1894. Steamers visited the wharf regularly and ship repairs were carried out at the point.

Eagle Point developed rapidly after World War I. Much of the land on the silt jetty was used for grazing by several larger landowners. The school was moved to the road between Eagle Point and Paynesville in 1916 and a hall was constructed in 1929 and upgraded in 2008. In 2014 the school's enrolment was 103.

From the 1920s the reserve was increasingly used for camping and the Bairnsdale Shire gradually provided amenities. Later the park was managed by a local committee which continually upgraded facilities. In the early 1950s the old steamer Dargo served as a floating cafe.

From the 1970s there was much subdivision in the area. At first, there were many holiday homes, but there is an increasing number of permanent residents, including retirees. Camping and caravan parks, boat ramps and jetties service the holiday maker. There is also a golf course and a fauna park in the area.

The silt jetties have been eroding since the early 1900s, soon after the permanent entrance to the Gippsland Lakes introduced sea water that killed protective shoreline vegetation. In 1919 a break cut through the northern silt jetty and by 1970 their land area was reduced by 45%. Works are being undertaken to preserve them. Farming on the jetties has ended and they are used for recreation. The jetties are listed on the Register of the National Estate.

Census populations for Eagle Point have been:

census date population
1911 114 
1933  98
1954 120 
1961 186 
2006 408
2011 739

Further Reading

E.C.F. Bird, The silt jetties of the Mitchell River, Bairnsdale, 1972

Ann White et al, Eagle Point Primary School centenary 1894-1994: from the silt jetties to School Road, Eagle Point, 1994