Merricks and Merricks Beach

Merricks is a rural locality on the Mornington Peninsula, overlooking Western Port Bay and facing Phillip Island. It is 13 km south-west of Hastings and 65 km south of Melbourne.

In 1840 Henry and Alfred Meyrick took up the Coolort (later Coolart) pastoral run which extended west from Crib Point. It appears that the expression ‘going down to Meyrick’s’ became the basis for the later place name, with a slight change of spelling.

In common with much of the central and southern Mornington Peninsula, Merricks was settled by farm selectors during the 1860s. A Union church was opened toward the end of that decade, but little other than farms occupied the landscape. A post office was opened in 1910.

In 1921 a branch railway line from Bittern was opened via Merricks to Red Hill. Coincidental or not, a school was opened in the same year and a general store was opened in another year or two. Part of the Coolart estate along the beach was subdivided during the 1920s and a few houses were built at Merricks Beach.

Merricks has retained a generally rural environment, including the grazing property Minto. There are several wineries. The general store (1927) has retained an authentic appearance and the nearby station reserve is public open space with a walking trail to Red Hill. The railway closed in 1954 and the school closed in 1950 when the Red Hill consolidated opened.

Merricks Beach has mainly secluded holiday and retirement homes. The foreshore reserve and beach include a yacht club (1964).

Further afield is the rural area of Merricks North. Its school had a life of 13 years, closing in 1950 and its post office ran from 1926-76. There are seven Mornington Peninsula wineries in Merricks North and its public hall is in Bittern-Dromana Road.

Census populations have been:

areacensus datepopulation
Merricks and Merricks North1921105
Merricks Beach2006144
Merricks North2006460

Merricks’ population was included in Balnarring in 2006 and Red Hill South in 2011.