The small township of Woodside is situated on Bruthen Creek, Gippsland, about 20 km east of Yarram. The Strzelecki Ranges lie to the north and the coastal plain to the south. The South Gippsland Highway passes through the town which is about 185 km south-east of Melbourne.
The Brataualung tribe occupied the area when, in 1841, explorer Angus McMillan trekked to the coast where present Port Albert is now located, seeking a port for the hinterland. Pastoral runs were soon occupied in the area, the township site being encompassed by Woodside run, taken up in 1844. The name is thought to be descriptive, reflecting the forested nature of the country.
About 1857, a bridge was built over Bruthen Creek on the track linking the growing town of Sale, to the north, with the port. A township was surveyed and allotments sold. A store and two hotels were soon established.
In the 1870s the runs were opened for selection. Cropping and cattle and sheep grazing predominated and the increased population stimulated the building of a school in 1873, a hall in 1889 and a Catholic church in 1904. Sawmills operated in the area from 1890, cutting sleepers and timber for building. In 1903 the Australian handbook described a settled township:
In the early 1920s several properties in the district were subdivided into smaller farms for closer settlement. Sheep sales were held in local saleyards, and sawmills still worked in the area. More businesses opened in the township and the South Gippsland railway line was extended to Woodside in 1923.
Woodside was described briefly in the 1938 Victorian municipal directory:
The railway closed in 1953 after years of minimal services. The district remains mainly grazing. The township has a school (48 pupils, 2014), hall, a Catholic church, two stores, a hotel and motel. The general store burned to the ground in 2009.
Woodside Beach, about 10 km to the east, is a small settlement on the Ninety Mile Beach. Picnicking parties visited the beach from the 1880s. A camping park was established in 1958 and the beach has carparks, an amenities block and a surf lifesaving club (1968).
Census populations for Woodside have been:
|Woodside and environs||2011||488|
At the 2011 census, farming accounted for 23.7% of employment, including dairying (9.4%).
D.M. Boddy, 'Beyond the Ninety Mile' : the early happenings of Woodside, Bruthen Creek, Snugborough, Mullundung, Cherry Tree Flat and Balloong, c1972