Winchelsea, Victoria

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Former town hall, now tea rooms
Winchelsea is located in Surf Coast Shire
Coordinates38°14′38″S 143°59′22″E / 38.24389°S 143.98944°E / -38.24389; 143.98944Coordinates: 38°14′38″S 143°59′22″E / 38.24389°S 143.98944°E / -38.24389; 143.98944
Population1,954 (2016 census)[1]
LGA(s)Surf Coast Shire
State electorate(s)Polwarth
Federal division(s)Corangamite
Localities around Winchelsea:
Ombersley Inverleigh Inverleigh
Ombersley Winchelsea Buckley
Birregurra Winchelsea South Wurdiboluc

Winchelsea is a town in Victoria, Australia. The town is located in the Surf Coast Shire local government area, the suburb or locality of Winchelsea is predominantly within Surf Coast Shire with a small section within the Colac Otway Shire. Winchelsea is located on the Barwon River 115 km south-west of Melbourne and close to Geelong (37 km north-east).


The first Europeans to reside in the area were squatters (Lomas's) who established grazing runs there c. 1837. Thomas Austin migrated from Tasmania and occupied the present day site of Winchelsea in 1837. The area was then called Austin's Ford. Austin built up his estate of Barwon Park to 29,000 acres (12,000 ha), including a mansion which still stands today.[2]

The town developed around the Barwon Inn, established in 1842 by Prosper Nicholas Trebeck and Charles Beal [1]. The Post Office opened as Barwon on 1 July 1848 and was renamed Winchelsea in 1854.[3] The town was the administrative centre of the Shire of Winchelsea, which was proclaimed in 1864, and which continued until 9 March 1994 when it was amalgamated with the Shire of Barrabool to become the Surf Coast Shire.[4]

The railway through the town was opened in 1876,[5] as part of the line to the south west of the state. The local railway station is served by V/Line passenger services on the Warrnambool line.

Winchelsea Magistrates' Court closed on 1 October 1984.[6]

Places of interest[edit]

  • Barwon Hotel (1842) with a collection of historical artefacts.
  • Old Shire Hall
  • Barwon River Bridge - Opened by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, on 3 December 1867
  • Barwon Park Mansion - Built 1871
  • The Globe Theatre

Heritage listed sites[edit]

Winchelsea contains a number of heritage listed sites, including:


The town has an Australian Rules football team competing in the Geelong & District Football League.

The Winchelsea Golf Club is located between Lorne Road and Lauders Lane. The course is popular with locals and tourists alike.[12]

The Winchelsea Cricket Club, formed in 1858 is one of the oldest sporting clubs in Victoria and currently compete in the Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association

Notable people[edit]

  • Elizabeth Phillips Harding (1821 – 1910) a pioneer settler at Winchelsea who was a philanthropist noted for her endowment towards setting up The Austin Hospital in Melbourne in 1882
  • Thomas Austin (1815-1871) husband of Elizabeth Phillips Harding, he introduced rabbits into Australia.
  • John Rout Hopkins 1828-1897 a pioneer settler at Winchelsea who served in local government and the Victorian government for many years
  • Marjorie Lawrence, soprano, noted as an interpreter of Richard Wagner's operas, born at Deans Marsh, south of Winchelsea in 1907
  • Denis Napthine MP (1952- ) Premier of the State of Victoria
  • Darcy Parish (1997- ) AFL Footballer with the Essendon Bombers
  • Albert Jacka VC, MC & Bar (1893 – 1932) Captain 14th Battalion AIF. First Australian to be decorated with the VC during the First World War.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Winchelsea (SSC)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 November 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Thomas Austin". Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
  3. ^ Phoenix Auctions History, Post Office List, retrieved 22 February 2021
  4. ^ "Winchelsea Shire | Victorian Places". Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  5. ^ Sid Brown (March 1990), "Tracks Across the State", Newsrail, Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division), pp. 71–76.
  6. ^ "Review of Legal Services in Rural and Regional Victoria" (PDF). Parliament of Victoria Law Reform Committee. May 2001. pp. 291–292. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Barwon Park (H0365)". Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
  8. ^ "Bridge Over Barwon River (H1456)". Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
  9. ^ "Memorial Grandstand and Gates (H1525)". Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
  10. ^ "Globe Theatre (H2226)". Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
  11. ^ "Ingleby Homestead (H0364)". Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
  12. ^ Golf Select, Winchelsea, retrieved 11 May 2009
  13. ^ Victoria Cross: Lance Corporal Albert Jacka, 14 Battalion, AIF Australian War Memorial

External links[edit]