Moolap, 5 km south-east of Geelong, is a locality which has agricultural and industrial uses and low density residential development. Its postcode area includes Point Henry, Geelong's first place for maritime cargo movements, but later the site of the Alcoa aluminium refinery (closed in 2014 leaving a contaminated site) and the Cheetham salt harvesting works.

Moolap is derived from an Aboriginal word for Point Henry, moo-laa, thought to mean men gathering to go fishing.

When first settled Moolap was readily described as part of Point Henry or Leopold, and the districts overlapped each other. Schools at Point Henry served the district, and a Moolap school was not opened until 1874. One of the earliest buildings constructed at Moolap was an Anglican parsonage (1855), midway between the churches at Point Henry and Leopold.

In 1879 the railway line passed through Moolap when the line was opened between Geelong and Queenscliff. The land north of Moolap and along the west side of Point Henry was low lying, occasionaly washed by Spring tides from Stingaree Bay (Corio Bay). The salt deposits inspired Richard Cheetham to open salt harvesting works in 1888, with a tramline connecting them to the railway.

Industrial areas were created nearby, on the opposite side of the Portarlington Road. A number of sports and recreation facilities have been established as Moolap became an outer suburb of Geelong, and the Newcomb village drive-in shopping village on the Bellarine Highway is on Moolap's western boundary. A hotel, recreation reserves and a swimming pool are nearby. There are two out-of-town churches and a caravan park on the Bellarine Highway. Moolap's old 'civic heart' is near the Portarlington Road, with the Moolap Reserve and the primary school (1877), which had 222 pupils in 2014.

At Point Henry there are the heritage registered buildings on the Cheetham salt works and a maritime signal station (1939).

South of Moolap is the Reedy Lake game reserve. The saltworks ceased in 2007, and a development was proposed for about half of the 465 ha site. It has become an important bird sanctuary while regulated saline flooding has continued.

Moolap's census populations have been:

census date population
1921 319
1947 651
2011 1111

Further Reading

Ian Wynd, Balla-Wein: a histolry of the Shire of Bellarine, Shire of Bellarine, 1988