Simpson is a rural town in the centre of a postwar dairying area, 30 km south of Camperdown and 65 km east of Warrnambool, western Victoria.

During 1928-33 there was partial clearing of the Heytesbury Forest east of Cobden and Timboon, mainly for dairy farms. After World War II the Soldier Settlement Commission (later the Rural Finance and Settlement Commission) undertook the clearing and settlement of 430 farms. Heavy machinery clear felled the tree cover, not without some later regret that the landscape was denied any significant original flora reserve in the Heytesbury Farm Settlement. The town of Simpson was established in 1960, probably named after Leslie Simpson, chair of the Commission.

By 1963 Simpson had Anglican and combined Methodist/Presbyterian churches, and in 1966 a Kraft dairy factory was opened. A school was opened in 1972, by when there was a public reserve which became the venue for the annual Heytesbury district show, a hotel and a small shopping area. A bowling rink, and a public hall (1976) were also opened. The last land parcel was sold in 1989.

A historical display in the town includes the ball and drag which were used for clearing. A Catholic church is on the road to Lavers Hill. The Jancourt Forest north of Simpson contains the remaining piece of the Heytesbury Forest. National Foods acquired the Kraft factory, and in November 2010 announced a contraction of its operations, reducing the workforce with plans to close the cheese factory.

Census populations have been:

area census date population
Simpson 1961 110
Simpson and environs 2011 549

At the 2011 census, dairy farming accounted for 49.7% of employment and other farming 3.7%. The school’s enrolment in 2014 was 103.

Further Reading

Rosamund Duruz, Death of a forest: a story of the Heytesbury Shire, Kilmore, 1974

J. Fletcher, And we who followed: a history of the Heytesbury Shire 1971-1987, Shire of Heytesbury, 1987

Hec Fisher, Heytesbury: once in a lifetime, Spectrum Publications, 1997

K.H. Unwin, The Heytesbury settlement 50 years on: memories, madness and miracles, 2009