Jan Juc and Bellbrae
Jan Juc is a coastal township on Bass Strait, immediately west of Torquay and 21 km south of Geelong. It is on the Jan Juc Creek, which enters Bass Strait 1 km west of Spring Creek, Torquay's original name.
Spring Creek separates Torquay from Jan Juc. About 5 km upstream the original village of Jan Juc was established, and the only coastal reference to the name was the mouth of the creek and the small rocky Point Jan Juc. The name is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word to which several meanings have been ascribed: milk, ironbark or goose. Jan Juc was described in the Australian handbook in 1903:
In 1922 the origin of the name Jan Juc became even more confused, as the belief that the name had a German origin caused the upstream Jan Juc to be named Bellbrae.
During the mid-1960s the coastal township of Jan Juc began to be developed. It is situated on a coastline close to some of the area's best surfing beaches and is a few kilometres from Bell's Beach. In 1992 there were nearly 1200 dwellings in Jan Juc and an estimated population of 1791 persons. About one-third of the dwellings were holiday houses.
Jan Juc has an extensive foreshore reserve and beach, and the Torquay golf club is actually on the Jan Juc side of Spring Creek. There is also a reserve with recreation facilities joined to a linear park along Jan Juc Creek. There is a caravan park beside the reserve. Apart from a small neighbourhood shopping centre, shopping is done in Torquay or further afield.
The former inland Jan Juc, now Bellbrae, was formed about 1860, and in 1861 a National School was opened. Independent and Wesleyan churches opened in 1863 and 1868, and a mechanics' institute and free library were opened in 1887. It was set in a pastoral and agricultural district consisting of low lying flats and rounded hills. The school and mechanics' institute remain, and recent additions include a motel and a golf club. The school's enrolment in 2014 was 398.
Census populations have been:
|Bellbrae and environs||2011||814|
Torquay/Jan Juc structure plan, Geelong Regional Commission, 1992
Ian Wynd, Barrabool: land of the magpie, Barrabool Shire, 1992