APOLLO BAY

THE FIRST 100 YEARS

 

1800
 

First recorded sighting of the area is made by Lieutenant Grant on 8 December 1800 on his voyage through Bass Strait in the Lady Nelson.
 

1800s

 

First landings on the shores of the bay are attributed to sealers and whalers operating in Bass Strait in the 1800s.

1836

Gellibrand and Hesse are the first white men to penetrate the Otway Ranges. They disappear without trace the following year while still in the Otways.

 

1845

Captain Loutit on a trading voyage to Portland in the schooner Apollo shelters here from a south-westerly gale and names the place Apollo Bay.
 

1845

The first survey of the coast from Port Phillip to Cape Otway is made by surveyor George Douglas Smythe using a rowing boat and charging 30 shillings per mile for the survey.
 

1845

The first overland route, a 1.2 metre-wide bridal path, to the Apollo Bay area is made by William Roadknight and his son Thomas, who drive cattle through the bush from Birregurra to their run on Cape Otway.
 

1848

The lighthouse at Cape Otway is completed and the light lit on 14 August 1848, remaining in service until 1964.
 

1849

The first settlers in the area are timber cutters who come to harvest the magnificent Blue Gum and Mountain Ash trees, which grow up to 40 metres high and over a 1 metre in diameter. These were dragged down to the beach, floated through the surf, and loaded aboard the small ships anchored off-shore.
 

1851

The timber cutters settlement on Apollo Bay is destroyed by bushfire on 6 February 1851, Black Thursday, when much of Victoria is devastated by fire.
 

1851

Victoria becomes a separate colony. A census held this year shows 229 people resident in Apollo Bay and Cape Otway area.

 

1852

The first sawmill is built on Clyne’s Creek (now Milford Creek) by a Mr. Lindsay from Geelong.
 

1853

Skene surveys an area to be known as Middleton township and forwards it to the Governor-in-Council.

 

1853

A dam is built on the Barham River with a water race transporting water to a second sawmill where it is used to drive a Pelton wheel. As the stream flow is unreliable the mill is soon converted to steam.
 

1854

The Brigantine Anna of 140 tons becomes the first ship wrecked in Apollo Bay. On 29 July 1854 she drags her anchors into the surf during a gale.
 

1855

The first jetty is built on Point Bunbury in the vicinity of the present boat ramp.
 

1864
 

The first farm is established by Mr. John Cawood who settled a piece of land cleared to provide grazing for the bullocks used to haul logs to the mills. Cawood fattened cattle and then drove them through the bush for up to three days to market at Birregurra.
 

1868

The first titles to land are issued.

 

1873

Two members of the Coal Board arrived to check out coal seams but the terrain is difficult, the scrub and gullies are impenetrable, and the seams not a viable proposition.
 

1873

The narrow track into Apollo Bay is widened and the first wheeled-vehicle is driven over the Otways. It takes four horses to pull the empty two-wheeler.

 

1874

Following a new survey the town has a name change from Middleton to Krambruk.

 

1877

Surveyed land is thrown open for selection. 30 township and half-acre sites are sold.

 

1879

The first school is established following a petition to the Minister for Education on 2 December 1878.

 

1880

The first meeting of a committee to run the Recreation Reserve is held on 13 October 1880.

 

1882

Apollo becomes the first boat built and launched in Apollo Bay using timber from the remains of Eric the Red, being constructed by Mr. Burgess.

 

1884

After many years of burying the dead in the churchyard the first cemetery is established.

 

1885

32 perches of land on the corner of Sylvester and Nelson Streets are reserved as a site for a public library.

 

1886

Telegraph services are provided from the post office.

 

1888

A company is registered to mine coal in the Wild Dog Creek and commences operation.

 

1889

A coach service is commenced between Apollo Bay and Birregurra. The first coaches take two days to arrive, being pulled by only one change of horses.

 

1890

The first butter factory is built. It proves a failure.

 

1891

A police watch-house is erected in Apollo Bay.

 

1896

Plans are approved for the construction of a bridge across Skenes Creek.

 

1898

Krambruk becomes Apollo Bay on 2 May 1898.

By now there are three means of communication with Apollo Bay – a weekly boat service; coach to Forrest and then the railway line; and the telegraph. Apollo Bay is becoming part of the world.