Lavers Hill

Lavers Hill is a rural village and tourist destination in the Otway Ranges, western Victoria, at the intersection of the Great Ocean Road and the Colac-Lavers Hill road. It is 45 km south-west of Colac. Lavers Hill was named after a settler who took up a farm selection when the area was opened up for settlement in 1891.

Difficulty of access inhibited development, with nothing substantial until 1901 when a Colac stock agent opened a sale yard. Within about five years there were a boarding house, a hotel and a cheese factory (1906-13). A school was opened in 1910 and the next year the narrow gauge railway line was extended from Beech Forest, providing a rail connection with Colac. Catholic and Presbyterian churches were opened in about 1912, and a bush nursing centre in about 1916.

Although a saw mill had been opened at Lavers Hill in 1910, no timber was later taken out from there as the forest tramlines converged on other railway stations. Grazing, dairying and agriculture were the main activities.

The hotel and the bush nursing centre closed in the 1930s, and the railway was closed in 1962.

Lavers Hills has prospered by being on the Great Ocean Road, with a motor inn, bed and breakfast, self contained cottages, a caravan park and a restaurant. It also has a consolidated school (1953), which incorporates a community recreation centre. The school had 130 pupils from prep to year 12 in 1998 and 65 pupils in 2014. There is also a public hall which was formerly a mechanic’s institute. The police station (2003) replaced the one in Beech Forest. About 3 km west of Lavers Hill is Melba Gully, with extensive tree ferns, myrtle beech and blackwoods. The gully has several glow worm colonies.

Lavers Hill’s census populations have been:

census date population
1911 315
1933 196
1954 309

Lavers Hill and environs census population in 2006 was 208. It was combined with Beech Forest in 2011.

Further Reading

M.P. Heffernan, Days gone by: Lavers Hill Centenary, Lavers Hill Centenary Committee, 1994

Norman Houghton, The Ridge: a brief historical guide to West Otway Ridge, Geelong, 2005