Moyne Shire (1994-) in western Victoria adjoins the southern coastline and extends westwards from near Terang to Lake Condah and Mount Eccles, a distance of about 100 km. Its northern limit is the Lake Bolac district, about 80 km from the coast. Warrnambool city is near the middle of the shire and is a separate municipality.
The shire was formed on 23 September 1994, by the union of Port Fairy borough, Belfast and Minhamite shires, most of Mortlake and Warrnambool shires, and parts of Dundas, and Mount Rouse shires. The area is 5478 sq km.
Moyne shire’s name came from the Moyne River which rises in the middle of the western part near Hawkesdale and empties at Port Fairy, the shire’s administrative centre. Moyne is the name of a fifteenth century Irish abbey, County Mayo.
About 60% of the shire’s population resides in the southern coastal part where the main tourist and dairying areas are found. The chief towns are Koroit, Port Fairy and Yambuk. The main inland towns are Macarthur, Hawkesdale and Mortlake.
Livestock grazing is the main rural occupation. Based on 1994 data the shire had about 130,000 dairy cattle, about 170,000 meat cattle and about 1,770,000 sheep and lambs. Over half the sheep and lambs were in the Mortlake region. Cereal crops were negligible; the largest crop was potatoes (13,000 tonnes) in the Koroit district.
The Princes Highway and the South Western railway (ending at Warrnambool) serve the shire’s coastal area. The Hamilton Highway passes through Mortlake, and the Glenelg Highway passes just north of the shire. Past railways have included Terang to Mortlake (1890-1978) and a network from Port Fairy to Hamilton, Terang and Mortlake via Koroit (1890-1977).
Moyne shire’s census populations have been:
At the 2011 census, dairy farming accounted for 12.7% of the shire’s employment and other farming 12.7%.
Port Fairy, Belfast shire, Minhamite shire, Mortlake shire, Warrnambool shire and Caramut entries