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Lara, Victoria

Coordinates: 38°01′0″S 144°25′0″E / 38.01667°S 144.41667°E / -38.01667; 144.41667
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lara is located in City of Greater Geelong
Coordinates38°01′0″S 144°25′0″E / 38.01667°S 144.41667°E / -38.01667; 144.41667
Population19,014 (2021 census)[1]
 • Density1,311/km2 (3,396/sq mi)
Area14.5 km2 (5.6 sq mi)
LGA(s)City of Greater Geelong
State electorate(s)Lara
Federal division(s)Corio
Suburbs around Lara:
Anakie Little River Little River
Anakie Lara Avalon
Lovely Banks Corio Avalon

Lara is a town in Victoria, 18 km north-east of the Geelong CBD, inland from the Princes Freeway to Melbourne. Its population at the 2021 census was 19,014.


Landsat 7 image of the Greater Geelong area. Lara is visible at the top of the photo

Lara and its surrounding surrounding land was occupied for tens of thousands of years before European colonisation by the Wadawurrung people.[2]

The explorers Hume and Hovell arrived at Lara on December 16, 1824, believing that they had reached Westernport Bay. They recorded that the Aboriginals described the bay as Djillong and land as Corayo, suggesting origins for the names of Geelong and Corio.

The area was originally named Kennedy's Creek but was also given several different names, including Duck Ponds, Hovell's Creek, Cheddar, Swindon and Lara Lake. There were no more than a few farms there at that time.

The railway through the town was opened in 1857 along with the local railway station,[3] and several residential subdivisions were then announced. A Post Office opened on 1 March 1858 as Duck Ponds, renamed Hovell's Creek in 1872, and finally Lara in 1884.[4] The population had grown to a few hundred by 1890, and several facilities such as schools and churches were built, although a water supply was not provided until 1947.

In January 1969, 17 people were killed in a bushfire which ravaged Lara. Most of the victims were trapped in or near their cars by a fast-moving grass fire, while travelling on the Princes Highway.[5]

Several scenes from the 1979 feature film, Mad Max, were shot on location around Lara, as well as several scenes from the ABC mockumentary, We Can Be Heroes: Finding The Australian of the Year, in which the town carried the fictional name "Dunt".

On 13 February 2024, a freak storm hit the area, leaving thousands without power. The temperature reached 41 °C (106 °F) at about 2 pm, just before a wind gust of 122km/h was recorded at nearby Avalon Airport. During the thunderstorm, the temperature dropped to 25.3 °C (78 °F) before briefly rising to 35 °C (95 °F). A cool change arrived at 4 pm.[6][7][8]

The town's history is being preserved at the Lara Museum and Historical Centre on the corner of Forest and Canterbury roads. It is housed in an historic property, formerly the Lake Bank Hotel (circa 1860), which was renovated by local businessman, Lino Bisinella, and handed over in 2013 to the community group which runs the museum, Lara Heritage and Historical Inc.

Heritage listed sites[edit]

Lara contains a number of heritage listed sites, including:


According to the 2021 census, there were 19,014 people in Lara.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 2.1% of the population.
  • 79.5% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 3.6%, India 1.9%, Philippines 1.7% and New Zealand 1.2%.
  • 80.2% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Punjabi 1.4%, Tagalog 0.9%, Croatian 0.6%, and Italian 0.5%.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 41.5% and Catholic 22.6%.[1]


Hovell's Creek runs through Lara and ends at Limeburners Bay, a small inlet of Corio Bay. Owing to the poor soils and low runoff inherent in Australian streams, along with the fact the region is the driest in southern Victoria because of the Otway Ranges’ rain shadow (receiving about 425 millimetres (17 in) per year), the creek is ephemeral and is not useful as a water source. Granite peaks known as the You Yangs, 4 kilometres north of Lara, rise dramatically to a height of 352m and can be seen from most areas of Geelong.


Lara offers education through its three primary schools; St. Anthony's Primary School, Lara Lake Primary School and Lara Primary School. Lara Secondary College, which accommodates years 7 - 12 and the VCE, opened in 2004. Lara is also home to Avalon College, a school for International Students preparing them for traditional schools.


Princes Freeway at Lara

On Lara's outskirts are industry parks and two prisons – the maximum security HM Prison Barwon, opened in January 1990, and the medium security Marngoneet Correctional Centre, opened 3 March 2006. The former Pirra Homestead, a home for girls age 13 to 18, part of the Victorian youth welfare system, closed during the 1980s.

Lara is home to St Laurence Park retirement village, which is set on 42 acres (170,000 m2) of parkland near the centre of the town. It includes 119 fully self-contained units, 17 apartments and a holiday unit.[12] A more recent development on the eastern edge of Lara is Lakeside Lara, "a retirement or over 55's lifestyle community" with more than 200 cottages.[13]

Ford Australia operates a proving grounds for automotive testing and evaluation at the north end of the You Yangs.


Lara has regular V/Line passenger train services on the Geelong line to Melbourne and Geelong to cater for the many residents who commute to work each day via Lara railway station. Lara has become a popular place to live for those wishing to work in Melbourne and have ties to Geelong. After the extension of Myki ticketing to the Geelong line in 2013, Lara became a Myki Zone 2, 3 & 4 station.[14][15] Following the introduction of 20-minute off-peak services in 2015,[16] there has been an increase in passenger traffic by train between Geelong and Lara.

Under contract to Public Transport Victoria, CDC Geelong operates bus services in the Lara area on routes 10, 11 and 12, running to and from Lara station.[17] Taxis are also available.

Avalon Airport is nearby but there is no regular public transport from Lara station to the airport terminal.


Lara has a post office, two banks, several hairdressers, a barber, a travel agency, a butcher, a greengrocer, a Woolworths supermarket (opened in 2016) and a Coles supermarket. The Coles supermarket opened in December 2014 as part of the town centre expansion on the site of Austin Park, as well as a re-alignment of Waverley Road to create a more spacious site for the supermarket and the re-configuration of the park. There are four real estate agencies and one newsagency. The Lara Library opened in 2011.

There are several eat-in bakery/coffee/cake shops, three Thai restaurants, two Indian restaurants, three pizza shops, three fish-and-chip shops, McDonald's, Subway, three Chinese and noodle shops and other take-aways. There are two petrol stations, one of which is open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lodging and entertainment are provided by a pub/hotel, sports club, and a lawn bowls club.


Lara has an Australian rules football team competing in the Geelong Football League. There are two soccer clubs in Lara: North Geelong Warriors FC play in the National Premier Leagues Victoria 2 and Lara United FC play in division 5 of the Victorian State League. Lara is also home to the Lara Giants Basketball club that was established in 1992 and competes in Geelong United Basketball association.

Lara Golf Club (known as Elcho Park Golf Club until 2014) is an 18 hole course and driving range on Elcho Road.[18]

Environmental issues[edit]

EPA car in front of stockpiles at the recycling facility in Lara

C&D recycling, a recycling facility on Broderick Road, failed to comply with its permit conditions for several years before going into liquidation in 2019. EPA Victoria estimated that 286,200m3 of waste was stockpiled at the site, creating a high fire risk. The cleaning-up started in September 2019 and ended in June 2022, contractors handling large amounts of timber and soil as well as concrete, bricks, plaster, plastic, glass and ceramics. Soil contaminated with asbestos was also removed.[19][20] The Victorian state government provided $30 million to the operation in order to minimise fire risk.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Lara (SSC)". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 12 October 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Kim-Barne Wadawurrung Tabayl (Welcome to Wadawurrung Country)". Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation. Retrieved 13 June 2024.
  3. ^ Brown, Sid (March 1990), "Tracks Across the State", Newsrail, Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division): 71–76
  4. ^ Phoenix Auctions History, Post Office List, retrieved 30 January 2021
  5. ^ Duncan, Jamie (21 November 2016). "The 1969 Lara grass fire killed 17 people, and high risk of more deadly grass fires this summer". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 June 2024.
  6. ^ Boddington, Will (13 February 2024). "WATCH: Power outages and major damage in Lara". bay 93.9. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  7. ^ "Avalon 24 hour Observations". www.weatherzone.com.au. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  8. ^ Lamacraft, Tim (13 February 2024). "Storms spark fires and knockout power to thousands". K ROCK 95.5. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  9. ^ "Elcho Homestead (H0283)". Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Hume and Hovell Monument (H1547)". Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Pirra Homestead (H1723)". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  12. ^ "St Laurence Park, Lara". genU. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Lakeside Lara". Ingenia Lifestyle. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  14. ^ [1] Geelong Advertiser: V/Line commuters to feel myki's touch by July [dead link]
  15. ^ "Zones". Public Transport Victoria. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  16. ^ Dundas, Greg (1 June 2015). "You can get a Geelong train every 10 minutes at peak times under new timetable". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Geelong Bus Routes". CDC Victoria. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  18. ^ Golf Select, Elcho Park, retrieved 11 May 2009
  19. ^ Victoria, Environment Protection Authority. "Broderick Road Clean Up Project Complete | Environment Protection Authority Victoria". www.epa.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 February 2024.
  20. ^ Vedelago, Carla Jaeger, Margaret Gordon, Chris (30 June 2022). "After three years and $71m, Lara's mountain of rubbish is no more". The Age. Retrieved 12 February 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "Lara Waste Stockpile Clean Up Begins | Premier of Victoria". www.premier.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 February 2024.

External links[edit]