Seaside Heritage Walk, Barwon Heads
The information provided in these notes has largely been derived from Rowe & Huddle, 'Greater Geelong Outer Areas Heritage Study Stage 2', in association with Mr. Kevin Krastins, Heritage Planner, City of Greater Geelong. (And reproduced with permission)
[Click on Icons for links]
The heritage character of Barwon Heads is comprised of various features. There are
houses, cottages, other buildings, jetties, the bridge, other structures and landscapes
that all contribute to the cultural heritage of the town.
Unlike some heritage areas, Barwon Heads is not characterised by rows and rows of Victorian houses - all of the same scale and form - but of places of many styles, forms and construction details. It is the variety of the cultural heritage in Barwon Heads that not only reveals to us the different historical developments that have occurred over the years, but highlights the unique combination of the natural and built environment.
Indeed, the area is particularly characterised by its distinctive open and treed landscapes, broad river and oceanic views and diverse building forms and structures.
A Brief History of Barwon Heads
The first survey of the township of Barwon Heads occurred about 1870, but the largely
open, treed land was not to be transformed in a seaside township until the turn of
First known as Point Flinders, Connewarre East and Mt. Colite, the early landholders of this riverside stretch of Barwon Heads were Alexander Cameron McDonald, John Middlemiss, and from 1876, Frederick Challis.
However, major progress was not made with the development of the town until the 1890s, when some of Challis's land was sold to the Barwon Heads Estate Company. These were difficult years for developing a town, for the international economic melt down in 1892-93 was not the best time for tempting prospective buyers. This land formed a large subdivision that had a frontage along the Barwon River, and also stretched as far west as Hitchcock Avenue (which was then known as Barwon Avenue).
Many additional subdivisions occurred in subsequent years - by both the Barwon Heads Estate Company and private owners - which has predominantly led to the character of the seaside town as we know it today.
Wealthy Geelong and Western District citizens have enjoyed the relaxing landscapes from the verandahs of their riverside homes, and happy campers have made the most of the well-treed park in close proximity to sand and surf. Today, Barwon Heads continues to be an attraction for holiday
makers, but its close proximity to Geelong has also brought about an increasing permanent population, including those yearning for a "sea change".