Colac Otway ShireCommunity profile

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Rural South

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for Rural South is 2,911, with a population density of 0.02 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

Rural South is bounded generally by McGrath Road, Nalangil Road, Bullens Lane, Browns Lane, Kennys Lane, Lake Colac, Deans Creek Road, the locality of Elliminyt, Colac-Forrest Road, Collins Road, Trasks Road, Colac-Murroon Road, Deepdene Road and Birregurra-Deans Marsh Road in the north, Surf Coast Shire in the east, the localities of Separation Creek, Wye River, Kennett River, Mount Sabine, Tanybryn, Beech Forest, Ferguson, Wyelangta, Lavers Hill and Chapple Vale in the south, and Corangamite Shire in the west.

Settlement history

Settlement of the area dates primarily from the 1880s when a small town was established at Gellibrand. The township of Forrest emerged as a service centre to the timber industry. Some development occurred in the interwar period, mainly in Larpent where land was purchased for soldier settlement. The most significant development occurred in the post-war years, especially between 1947 and 1961 as land was subdivided, particularly in Larpent. Since the 1970s there has been development in Barongarook and Forrest, due largely to the increasing popularity of rural-residential living. The population generally declined slightly between 1991 and 2006, and then was relatively stable between 2006 and 2011.

Land use

Rural South is a predominantly rural area. Rural South includes the small townships of Barongarook, Carlisle River, Forrest, Gellibrand, Larpent, Pirron Yallock and Swan Marsh. Land in the rural areas is used mainly for timber, fishing and farming, especially dairy farming.

Major features

Major features of the area include Great Otway National Park (formerly Carlisle State Park), Yaugher Flora & Fauna Reserve, part of Carpendeit Flora & Fauna Reserve, the Gellibrand River, Stevensons Falls, West Barwon Reservoir, Barwon Downs Town Park, Carlisle River Recreation Reserve, Forrest Recreation Reserve, Gellibrand Recreation Reserve, Irrewillipe Recreation Reserve, Loves Creek Reserve, Pirron Yallock Recreation Reserve, Rex Norman Reserve and a number of schools.

Included areas

Rural South encompasses the localities of Barongarook, Barongarook West, Barramunga, Barwon Downs, Bungador, Colac West, Forrest, Gellibrand, Gerangamete, Irrewillipe, Irrewillipe East, Kawarren, Larpent, Murroon, Nalangil, Swan Marsh, Yeo and Yeodene, and the Colac Otway Shire parts of the localities of Carlisle River, Carpendeit, Jancourt East, Pennyroyal, Pirron Yallock, Simpson and Stonyford.