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 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.
The town developed around the Barwon Inn, established in 1842 by Prosper Nicholas Trebeck and Charles Beal .
The Post Office opened as Barwon on 1 July 1848 and was renamed Winchelsea in 1854. 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.
Places of interest
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
Winchelsea contains a number of heritage listed sites, including:
The Winchelsea Golf Club is located between Lorne Road and Lauders Lane. The course is popular with locals and tourists alike.
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
Thomas Austin (1815 – 1871) a pioneer settler at Winchelsea who is generally credited with the introduction of rabbits into Australia in 1859
John Rout Hopkins 1828-1897 a pioneer settler at Winchelsea who served in local government and the Victorian government for many years
Denis Napthine MP (1952- ) Premier of the State of Victoria