Beautiful Birregurra is Bouncing
“Birregurra – a place to live and a place to visit; a township that is
built around its character and heritage”
The charming town of Birregurra sits on the edge of the Otways where the ranges smooth out into the volcanic plains.
Birregurra is accessed by three distinct arterial roads, being the Princes Highway –Cape Otway Road – Dean’s Marsh-Lorne Road.
During 1837 explorers Gellibrand and Hesse travelled through the area in search of “new lands” for settlement. In 1838 The Wesleyan Mission of London commissioned thesetting up of a Mission Station with Rev. Tuckfield as the leader. (see article about Bunting Dale Aboriginal Mission in this Issue)
Traditionally a “worker’s town”, it was a centre for the timber and farming sectors. From the late 19th century, the Birregurra Railway Station has been a crucial centre-point for transporting timber; stock; and other rural goods from the Otway Region and local area.
Indeed, “Birregurra Butter” produced in a local factory [and transported by rail] was a well-known brand name in Melbourne. The stately railway station has been restored by the community, and is still functioning as an important transport link for residents travelling to-and-from Warrnambool, Geelong, and Melbourne.
The local industries now focus on dairying, cropping, beef production, wool production. Residents enjoy the convenience of easy-driving distances to Colac, Lorne, Ballarat, Geelong, and Melbourne whilst living in this charming and beautiful rural environment.
Having made the successful transition from timber to tourist town, farming to commuting, the community can now boast of many activities.
Firstly, the most obvious is the increased interest in tourism around the area thanks to Brae (formerly Sunny Brae, a renowed restaurant and cookery business) and a number of beautiful B&Bs opening up to help cater for the increase in visitors including Harvest Birregurra and & Birregurra 1865 Bed & Breakfast. The later was the historic Native Youth Hostel that has been completely restored – bringing back to life a much loved building and one that many people in the community and around the area have very fond memories stories from their parents and their grandparents. Harvest B&B is a lovely restored Californian bungalow where the owners have retrofitted the old building to be an energy efficient passive solar style home as well as transformed their adjoining pony paddock into a beautiful self sustainable food forest and garden. Tarndwarncoort Homestead, now known as ‘Tarndie’, has also recently opened up a new kiosk and gallery adding to the tourism options in the area.
Secondly, there is a burgeoning art movement in Birregurra. Birregurra Arts Group started up last year and has grown from strength to strength – offering a range of art workshops including reduction print making, starting a gospel choir (currently 12 members), organising day trips to metro and regional areas to enjoy arts events, coordinating an Artist in Residence programs for Birre Primary School, and working with other groups in the area to introduce art into the community such as music, public art and theatre – including visiting programs as well as community based programs.
Lastly, the icing on the cake is the Birregurra Festival – check out the article in this issue.
The population of Birre has continued to grow from 400 in 1996 to ? 2006 and the community intends to mange this growth to ensure the town remains attractive for people to reside in, as well as interesting for people to visit. A place where local residents and visitors alike can enjoy and appreciate the charm of the mainstreet and the history and heritage contained therin.
Dr. Robert Manley –
“It isn’t enough for a town to have good leadership. Communities also must have people –“community builders” – who vigorously encourage and support a wide range of activities which benefit the community. These ‘builders’ aren’t self-serving. They’re interested in improving their communities. Find a community with both leaders and ‘builders’ and you find a community that
So if you haven’t been there yet, make sure you include a trip to beautiful Birregurra on your next itinerary.
Birregurra Action Group Township Plan October 2000 Change Concepts Pty Ltd