Colac Otway ShireCommunity profile

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Great Ocean Road - Otways

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for Great Ocean Road - Otways is 2,815, with a population density of 0.03 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

Great Ocean Road - Otways is the southern-most part of the Colac Otway Shire. Great Ocean Road - Otways is bounded by the localities of Simpson, Carlisle River, Gellibrand, Barramunga and Barwon Downs and Surf Coast Shire in the north, the Southern Ocean in the east and south, and Corangamite Shire in the west.

Settlement history

Settlement of the area dates from the late 1840s when the Cape Otway Lighthouse was built, but primarily from the 1850s when settlers and prospectors arrived and timber-getting and sawmills were established. The township of Apollo Bay was established from the 1860s, serving as a centre for fishing, whaling and timber industries and the surrounding agricultural area. Growth was slow until the 1880s and 1890s, when land was settled in Beech Forest, Johanna, Lavers Hill and Skenes Creek. The townships of Kennett River and Wye River emerged largely due to fishing and camping. Some growth occurred in the early 1900s, especially in Lavers Hill. Tourism was aided by the opening of the Great Ocean Road in 1932. The most significant development occurred in the post-war years, with some subdivision of coastal areas in the 1960s. The population increased between 1991 and 2006 as new dwellings were added to the area. The population declined slightly between 2006 and 2011, a result of fewer new dwellings being added to the area and a decline in the average number of persons living in each dwelling and the share of occupied dwellings. Recent growth, in areas such as Apollo Bay, Johanna and Lavers Hill is due largely to tourism.

Land use

Great Ocean Road - Otways is a rural, residential and resort area. Great Ocean Road - Otways includes the townships of Apollo Bay, Beech Forest, Glenaire, Johanna, Kennett River, Lavers Hill, Marengo, Skenes Creek, Wongarra and Wye River. Apollo Bay is the major tourist centre in the Shire. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Major features

Major features of the area include Great Otway National Park (formerly Angahook-Lorne State Park, Melba Gully State Park and Otway National Park), Cape Otway, Cape Otway Lightstation, Apollo Bay Boat Harbour, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, Maits Rest Rainforest Walk, The Old Cable Station Museum, Bass Strait Shell Museum, Barham Paradise Scenic Reserve, Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary, the Great Ocean Road, the Great Ocean Walk, Apollo Bay Golf Club, Apollo Bay Airport, Lake Horden State Game Reserve, Marengo Flora Reserve, Smyths Creek Flora Reserve, Apollo Bay Foreshore Reserve, Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve, Beech Forest Recreation Reserve, Kennett River Foreshore Reserve, Wye River Foreshore Reserve, Marriners Lookout, Apollo Bay Community Pool, Beauchamp Falls, Carisbrook Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Marriners Falls, Triplet Falls, various beaches and two schools.

Included areas

Great Ocean Road - Otways encompasses the localities of Aire Valley, Apollo Bay, Beech Forest, Cape Otway, Ferguson, Glenaire, Grey River, Hordern Vale, Johanna, Kennett River, Lavers Hill, Marengo, Mount Sabine, Petticoat Creek, Separation Creek, Skenes Creek, Skenes Creek North, Sugarloaf, Tanybryn, Weeaproinah, Wongarra, Wyelangta, Wye River and Yuulong, and the Colac Otway Shire parts of the localities of Chapple Vale and Gellibrand Lower.