The historic Frenchman's Inn (now closed)
|Population||175 (2016 census)|
Cressy is a country town in Victoria, Australia, about 38 km north of Colac on the Ballarat road. It is divided between Golden Plains Shire, the Shire of Colac Otway and Corangamite Shire. At the 2016 census, Cressy and the surrounding area had a population of 175. Terry Lewis played Australian rules football for Cressy in 1987. Lewis is regarded as one of the greatest footballers Cressy has ever seen.
George Russell, manager of the pastoral Clyde Company, opened up the area to European settlement in 1836. In 1837, a Frenchman named Jean Duverney crossed the Woady Yaloak River, claimed land on both banks, and named the area "Frenchman's Run". Duverney called the small, developing village Cressy, after Crécy in France, where he was born.
Cressy Post Office opened on 1 January 1858.
After the outbreak of World War II, an airfield was constructed south of the town towards Colac, and was used by the RAAF until 1946 as a combat training base and for bombing practice. Cressy airfield had three airstrips, two about 300 metres long with a drained gravel surface and a grass airstrip about 900 metres long. Two large Bellman hangars were used for aircraft maintenance. The local history group at the church has some photos and information on the airmen and the planes involved. Several RAAF aircraft crashed in the vicinity during the war.
The tranquil local cemetery, surrounded by old trees, is still in use.
The first railway to reach Cressy was an extension of the line from Colac to Beeac. This opened in December 1910, and by September 1911, the line had been extended north to Newtown, where it joined the line to Ballarat. In September 1910 work began at Cressy on the Western Plains Railway. This line ran joined the line to Ararat at Maroona, and the lines to Geelong at Gheringhap. Cressy, being at the junction of the two cross-country lines, became an important railway centre, with extensive buildings, railway yards and a turntable. Buildings included station offices, refreshment rooms and an elevated signal box. The line from Colac to Newtown was closed in 1953. Very few traces of Cressy station now remain.
Terry Lewis Era
Terry Lewis was an Australian Rules Football Player. A hard fighting inside midfielder with a booming right foot was a major recruitment for the Cressy Demons during the 1980s. Terry's arrival at the demons brought much needed relief to the struggling football team and community. Travellers flocked from all around Australia to witness this footballing hero play in what many said at the time was a league well below his standards. With Terry's unbelievable on field and off field performances Cressy was put on the map as a must visit. It was said that the club had a competition between Terry and the remainder of the senior playing group competing to see whether Terry or the combined group of footballers could drink more Heineken Lager in which Terry was never defeated. However, when all was looking up for the beloved team and the surrounding town tragedy struck when partner and love of Terry's life Michelle O’Connor desired a change of scenery. Terry moved to Bell Park Sport & Recreation Club. This began the downfall of the Cressy Demons who shortly went into recess in 1998 due to the loss of star player and club attraction as the Western Plains FL merged with the Lexton FL. The town barely survived currently populating less than 200 people and continuing to fall.
Cressy in recent times
Cressy was once a bustling town with several shops, garages, churches and a thriving railway station. Cressy still boasts many interesting old buildings, although many were destroyed in the fires of 1977 which also killed three people. There are two beautiful old churches, and the Cressy Historical Society is now housed in the Presbyterian Church, opposite the old Post Office and general store. The church was built in 1862 and is open for research on the first Sunday of every month. The Cressy police station closed in 2010. The old post office and telephone exchange was built in 1924 at a cost of £5,000. After it was closed it was turned into a family home. It opened as a cafe and mixed business which operated until 2014. The public restrooms back onto a picnic spot with a new children's playground.
The town football team went into recess in 1998 after the Western Plains FL merged with the Lexton FL.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Cressy (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- Brown, P.L. "Russell, George (1812–1888)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
- Wilson, Kate (16 November 2011). "Fire victim shares traumatic story". colacherald.com.au. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
Media related to Cressy, Victoria at Wikimedia Commons
- Historic photo of Cressy Post Office State Library Victoria, accessed 23 March 2015