Shire of Colac Otway

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Shire of Colac Otway
Australia Victoria Colac Otway Shire.svg
Location in Victoria
Population21,503 (2018)[1]
 • Density6.2545/km2 (16.1991/sq mi)
Gazetted23 September 1994[2]
Area3,438 km2 (1,327.4 sq mi)[1]
MayorCr Kate Hanson
Council seatColac
RegionBarwon South West
State electorate(s)Polwarth
Federal division(s)Corangamite
Colac Otway Shire Logo.jpg
WebsiteShire of Colac Otway
LGAs around Shire of Colac Otway:
Corangamite Golden Plains Golden Plains
Corangamite Shire of Colac Otway Surf Coast
Southern Ocean Bass Strait Bass Strait

The Shire of Colac Otway is a local government area in the Barwon South West region of Victoria, Australia, located in the south-western part of the state. It covers an area of 3,438 square kilometres (1,327 sq mi) and in June 2018 had a population of 21,503.[1] It includes the towns of Apollo Bay, Beeac, Beech Forest, Birregurra, Colac, Cressy, Forrest, Johanna, Kennett River, Lavers Hill, Warrion and Wye River. It was came into existence on 23 September 1994 through the amalgamation of the local government areas of City of Colac, Shire of Colac, part of the Shire of Otway and part of the Shire of Heytesbury.[2]

The Shire is governed and administered by the Colac Otway Shire Council; its seat of local government and administrative centre is located at the council headquarters in Colac, it also has a service centre located in Apollo Bay. The Shire is named after the combination of the names for the former City of Colac, and Shires of Colac and Otway, from which the majority of the LGA was formed. The name Colac is used for both the main urban settlement and the lake, Lake Colac, which are located in the north-centre of the LGA. Colac is also the most populous urban centre in the LGA with a population of almost 12,000.[3] The name Otways is used for the major geographical features located in the south of the LGA, which are The Otways and Cape Otway. Cape Otway was originally named by Lieutenant James Grant who was the commander of the vessel, the Lady Nelson.[4] He named it after Captain William Otway who was one of the commissioners of the Transport Board, on 7 December 1800.[4]


The Colac district is the traditional land for the Gulidjan people and was known as “Kolak” or “Kolakgnat” which means ‘belonging to sand’.[5] The Gulidjan people are of the Easter Maar Nation.[5]

The earliest European settlers arrived in the district in the 1830s and settled around Lake Colac.[6]


Current composition[edit]

The council is composed of seven councillors elected to represent an unsubdivided municipality. In order of election in 2020, they are:[7]

Ward Party Councillor Notes
Unsubdivided Independent Joe McCracken
Independent Chris Potter
Labor Graham Lesie Costin
Independent Kate Hanson
Greens Stephen Hart
Independent Jamie Bell
Independent Margaret White

Former Wards (1996–2008)[edit]

  • Colac – had three councillors
  • Murray – had one councillor
  • Otway – had one councillor
  • Warrion – had one councillor

Administration and governance[edit]

The council meets in the council chambers at the council headquarters in the Colac Municipal Offices, which is also the location of the council's administrative activities. It also provides customer services at both its administrative centre in Colac, and its service centre in Apollo Bay.

Main towns in shire[edit]

In June 2018 the shire had a population of 21,503.[1]

Locality Total
Alvie 132
Apollo Bay 1,598
Balintore 67
Barongarook 434
Barongarook West 235
Barwon Downs 131
Beeac 370
Beech Forest 82
Birregurra 828
Bungador 62
Cape Otway 15
Carlisle River 135
Locality Total
Carpendeit 134
Chapple Vale 36
Colac 12,547
Coragulac 161
Cororooke 310
Corunnun 115
Cressy 175
Dreeite 55
Dreeite South 30
Eurack 65
Ferguson 19
Forrest 230
Locality Total
Gellibrand 210
Irrewarra 345
Irrewillipe 125
Johanna 63
Kawarren 166
Kennett River 41
Larpent 194
Lavers Hill 78
Marengo 239
Pirron Yallock 113
Skenes Creek 164
Stonyford 51
Locality Total
Swan Marsh 121
Warncoort 130
Warrion 198
Weeaproinah 11
Weering 67
Wongarra 37
Wool Wool 38
Wye River 63
Wyelangta 38
Yeo 148
Yeodene 121
Yuulong 37

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18: Population Estimates by Local Government Area (ASGS 2018), 2017 to 2018". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Victoria Government Gazette – Online Archive (1837–1997). "S63 of 1994: Order estg (Part 2) the Shire of Colac-Otway". State Library of Victoria. State Government of Victoria (published 23 September 1994). p. 3. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  3. ^ Census QuickStats (2016). "Colac (UCL) – UCL213003". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Government of Australia. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Otways and Otway Shire". Victorian Places. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b "About Colac Otway". Colac Otway Shire. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  6. ^ "A short history of Colac". Colac & District Historical Society. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Colac Otway Shire Council election results 2020". Retrieved 8 November 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to Shire of Colac Otway at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 38°20′00″S 143°35′00″E / 38.33333°S 143.58333°E / -38.33333; 143.58333