Purnim is a rural village in western Victoria, situated on the Hopkins Highway, 17 km north-east of Warrnambool. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word meaning rain.

Land in the Purnim area was suitable for agriculture and dairying on relatively small allotments, and the local population opened a Catholic school in 1852. The Catholic tradition continues.

Being situated on the road between Warrnambool and Mortlake, Purnim developed an array of village amenities. It was described in 1903 in the Australian handbook:

At about this time Purnim took on dairying, as local cooperative or other butter factories were expanded. Dairying completely replaced potato and onion growing by the 1990s.

The State primary school closed in 1993. Thirteen families had 19 children at the Catholic school in 1999. Some families at Purnim commuted to work in Warrnambool.

Purnim has a Catholic church (1940), a public hall, and a recreation reserve. The school and the hotel (which included the general store) closed in the 2000s.

Purnim’s census populations have been:

area census date population
Purnim 1901 144
  1921 396
  1947 267
  1961 281
Purnim and environs 2006 459
  2011* 454

*census area includes Wangoom

Further Reading

Laraine Picket et al, St Marcellus School, Purnim, 1886-1986, Purnim, 1986