Rural centre known as the Gateway to the Otways
Colac, known as the "Gateway to the Otways", is an important civic service centre at the eastern edge of the world's third-largest volcanic plain which is scattered with craters and cones. The fertile volcanic soil has helped produce an agricultural, pastoral and dairying district noted for its onions, potatoes, cattle, pigs, sheep and milk products. Colac is located on the southern shore of Lake Colac which is one of more than 50 lakes in the district. It is an ideal place for bushwalks, pleasant walks through the impressive Botanic Gardens and along the shore of the lake, and is an ideal destination for those wishing to explore the beauty of the Otway Ranges and their forests.
Colac is located 153 km south-west of Melbourne on the Princes Highway. It is 134 metres above sea level.^ TOP
Origin of Name
For thousands of years the area was home to Gulidjan Aborigines. It is thought that 'Colac' was a corruption of Coladjin which was a word meaning "fresh water".^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Located off Fyans Street with access from Gellibrand Street, the Colac Botanic Gardens lie on the southern shore of Lake Colac. The land was set aside in 1865 and the initial gardens were laid out by Daniel Bunce in 1868. In 1910 William Guilfoyle, the director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, submitted a design which was accepted by the Colac Council. Between 1911 and 1940 Archibald Campbell was the curator and his home is now the Botanic Cafe and Gallery. The gardens cover 16 ha and contain over 1000 specimens (more species than any other provincial garden in Victoria), including five trees which have been placed on the National Trust of Victoria's Significant Trees Register. There is a brochure available. It is available at https://www.colacotway.vic.gov.au/Parks-Recreation/Colac-Botanic-Gardens and titled Colac Botanic Gardens brochure.pdf. It provides a detailed map of the gardens which identifies where the five trees - the Chinese Pagoda Tree, New Zealand Kohuha, Queensland Bunya Bunya, Huntingdon Elm and Tecate Cypress are planted. It also draws attention to a North African Atlas Cedar, some Flowering Gums, gardens of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas, an oak drive, palm bed, rose garden, a fountain and lily pond. There are also shady picnic areas with barbecue facilities and a children's playground, a loop drive for motorists, as well as a network of walking paths for pedestrians. The main entrance, with its ornate iron gates, is at the end of Gellibrand Street. The gates are closed at 4.00 pm daily.
Lake Colac and Foreshore
Lake Colac is the largest natural freshwater lake in Victoria. There are several ramps, a jetty, picnic and barbecue facilities. Boating, rowing, yachting, swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing and fishing for redfin can all be enjoyed. The signage beside the lake explains: "Lake Colac is part of the landlocked Corangamite basin formed by early (Pleistocene and Tertiary) volcanic activity. There are over 1000 lakes and wetlands in the Corangamite Basin, many of which have been drained or degraded.
Volcanic activity blocked the natural outflow of Lake Colac's two tributaries, Deans Creek and Barongarook Crek to the south of Lake Colac and caused the river to flow into the basin and leave alluvial deposits. Wind action caused lunettes to form, creating many of these shallow lakes and wetlands.
Lake Colac is relatively shallow and has a water surface area of 2,668 ha. The catchment area of the lake is 217 square kilometres. Most of the catchment is made of volcanic materials, whilst tertiary sand and mudstones make up the remainder.
Volcanic rock and soil has low permeability, creating higher runoff than the tertiary sand and mudstone sediments."
Another sign notes: "Gulidjan People arrived at Lake Colac (Corrum) many thousands of years ago. From this place, the Gulidjan look across a wetland full of plants and birds to see Mount Warrion (Bandicoot) and the only high landmark before witnessing the volcanic creation of Red Rock (Buukarang).
Lake Colac Foreshore Arts Project
Located below the Botanic Gardens on the lake foreshore this major work was created by Glenn Romanis and artistic co-ordinator Libby McKinnon and an artistic team drawn from the colleges and schools in the area. There is a detailed sign which explains that "The design for this artwork is based upon the left hind footprint of a Tachyglossus, an ancient ancestor to the Echidna, who roamed the western basalt plains approximately 40,000 years ago.
"The pad of the Tachyglossus footprint is in the shape of Lake Colac and is divided into sections representing totems used by the local indigenous people, the Gulidjan/Kolacgnat.
"Bunjil the Wedge Tail Eagle and Waa the crow, flying in the direction of Wathaurong country to the east.
"Black and White Cockatoos flying in the direction of the Mara nations to the west
"The Eel and the Smelt (a small fish), important food sources for the Gulidjan/Kolacgnat: the eel and the fish are surrounded by water ribbons found in some local streams.
"The claws of the Tachyglossus footprint depict from left to right.
The Manna Gum Leaf - once common now rare
Red Rock as a volcano exploding thousands of years ago
A site line and contour map of Red Rock
"The front of the pad is shaped to symbolise the Red Rock Skyline to the north and the stone wall follows the shape of the Otways skyline to the south.
"The cypress pine seating is carved with images that reinforce the theme of local indigenous flora and fauna. The stone wall represents European settlement. Indigenous plants that were once abundant in the area surround the installation."
Barongarook Creek Walk
At the eastern end of the Botanic Gardens, just beyond Fyans Street and the Lake Colac Boat Ramp, is the pleasant Barongarook Creek Walk - a walking track which follows the eastern bank of the creek northwards, beneath archways and English trees, through the Colac Pergola Urban Forest Sanctuary, with its ducks and other waterbirds, from the Botanical Gardens and the Lake to the main street (Murray Street). There is more information at https://www.colacotway.vic.gov.au/Parks-Recreation/Barongarook-Creek.
Colac Heritage Walk
The very comprehensive Colac Heritage Walk (which can be downloaded at https://www.visitotways.com/assets-theotways/Uploads/OT-Colac-Heritage-Walk-2011-screen2.pdf) lists a total of 42 places of interest starting at the Visitor Information Centre in Murray Street. Many of the buildings included in the walk are recent (the Visitor Centre was built in 1987 and the Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre was built in 2000). The genuinely interesting historic buildings include:
3. Adam Rea's Store
Located at 1 Murray Street, and once the site of the Crook & Plaid Inn (1844) it is, according to the Victorian Heritage Database, "It is a well proportioned emporium prominently located within the original section of the town. It is architecturally detailed and finished with a remarkably high degree of sophistication for buildings of that period located outside one of the major shopping streets in Melbourne." For more details check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/308.
4. Former Post Office
Located at 4 Murray Street and "Built in 1876 by the Public Works Department, it was extended in 1888 to reflect the Victorian Free Classical building that is seen today. It features a classical colonnade entrance, windows with attenuated vertical proportions, aedicules using prominent pillar detailing and a classically inspired clock over the entranceway." It is currently a successful Chinese Restaurant.
5. Shire of Colac Hall
Located next door to the former Post Office at 6 Murray Street, the Shire of Colac Hall was built in 1892. The Victorian Heritage Database notes: "This Italianate building is symmetrical about the entrance, presenting a robust and confident set of patterns to the street. The streetscape appearance is enhanced by the ground floor windows which are arched and echoed in the adjacent post office." For more details check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67767.
8. Colac RSL
Located at 21 Murray Street this is surely the most unusual RSL in Australia. If you cross over and look up you will see that the facade is that of the town's old Regent Theatre which was built in 1925. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database.
9. Gentlemen's Club
Located at 26 Murray Street this elegant building was built in 1885 and originally used as a gentlemen's club. It later became a branch of the National Bank.
11. The Warrions St John Lodge Freemasons Hall
Located at 34 Hesse Street, the St John Lodge Freemasons Hall was built by local architect Gilbert Marshall Pell in 1923. There is an excellent and detailed description at (https://www.flickr.com/photos/40262251@N03/14246663947) which explains that "the Colac Masonic Temple has been designed with a facade that reflects the building's use; classical, well proportioned and not unlike a temple. The building is very Arts and Crafts in its style with classical interpretations. The red brick from which it is built is the traditional building material of Arts and Crafts buildings and the excellent stone masonry is a tribute to the artisan who created the detailing to the facade. The Masonic Temple is symmetrical and the facade is broken into three bays, a large central one dominated by a fine gable, and two smaller ones. The larger bay also features a beautiful stained glass window which proudly shows the building's purpose not only in its Art Nouveau font cobalt lettering, but in the square and compass which appears in a cartouche above the words. This traditional symbol of the Masons is repeated not only in the stained glass window, but also in a bass relief in the apex of the gable and in cast iron on the two gates that lead into the temple building."
12. St Andrews Uniting Church
Located on the corner of Hesse Street and Manifold Street is the Gothic design of St Andrew's Uniting Church, built in 1877 as the town's third and last Presbyterian church. It was constructed of basalt which is said to have been transported from New Zealand as ballast on sailing ships bound for the goldfields. Impressive features include the tower and spire, the large roundel window in the west wall, the quality of the interior furnishings, the ironwork ornamentation and the masonry.
Particularly impressive are the stained glass windows. "St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (now Uniting) at Colac in western Victoria contains an entire cycle of historical stained glass windows created by the renowned colonial craftsmen Ferguson & Urie of North Melbourne.
"The Colac church archives have the intricate detail surrounding the concept of the stained glass windows, but the one which would mesmerise the congregation for well over a century would be the west end rose shaped window which was erected in 1877. It is a magnificent piece of stained glass dedicated to the memory of the pioneer of the Colac district, William Robertson, who died in 1874." Check out https://fergusonandurie.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/1877-st-andrews-presbyterian-church-colac-victoria for much greater detail.
16. Convent of Mercy
Located in Fireman Street this handsome building was built for the Sisters of Mercy in 1889.
22. Memorial Square
In 1864 a Market Reserve was set aside in the infant community of Colac. The square was subsequently dedicated as a memorial to those who fought in World War I. As the war memorial specifically states: "Egypt Polygon Wood Gallipoli Bullecourt Palestone Paschendale Flanders Villers, Brettoneaux Pzieres Mont St Quinto. The Square has an impressive War Memorial which Monument Australia describes as "a large sandstone structure predominantly erected for World War One, but it has been supplemented with plaques to other conflicts. The memorial was unveiled by Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Chauvel on the 15th November 1924. The memorial contained the names of 1665 men who had enlisted during the war. The cost of the memorial was ₤3600. The memorial to those who served in the Second World War and Korean War was constructed as a separate entity on the Murray Street side of the First World War memorial. In 1955, Architects Mason & Weinstock developed a contemporary design involving a low wall and two tall columns facing a pool of remembrance. The memorial was opened on August 3rd 1957 by Lt. Governor Sir Edmund Herring." See http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/multiple/display/30864-colac-war-memorial for more information.
There is a memorial to the famous runner, Cliff Young, which reads: "In 1982 Cliff Young used this Memorial Square site to run 800km in 8 days 4 hours and 46 minutes, including 500 km in 3 days 16 hours and 20 minutes, setting two world records for a person of 60 years. This record achievement was the forerunner to his Sydney-Melbourne Ultra-Marathin win in 1983, when he covered 886 km in 5 days 15 hours and 4 minutes."
24. Colac Railway Station
Located off Gellibrand Street, the Colac Railway Station was built and opened in 1877. The rail line came from Geelong and extended to Warrnambool. There was also a narrow gauge line which connected Colac to Beech Forest and Crowes. It was opened in 1902 and extended to Lavers Hill and Crowes in 1911. The line was turned into the Old Beechy Rail Trail (see below) in 2005. For more information check out http://www.vicrailstations.com/Port_Fairy/Colac/Colac.html.
Other Attractions in the Area
Old Beechy Rail Trail
There is a 50 km rail trail from Colac to Beech Forest which was once a narrow-gauge railway line used to convey timber, potatoes and passengers from Beech Forest and Lavers Hill north to Colac from 1900 to 1960. The track starts at the Colac Railway Station and passes through Barangarook, Birnam, Gellibrand, Dinmont and 50 km later reaches Beech Forest. The excellent Rail Trails website (see https://www.railtrails.org.au/trail?view=trail&id=81) notes that its main features are:
* The Old Beechy Rail Trail winds through scenic pine forests and bushland, rich farmland and rolling hills as it travels from Colac up to Beech Forest.
* It was originally a narrow gauge railway that played a key role in opening the western Otways to settlement.
* Magnificent eucalypts and blackwoods provide homes for abundant bird life.
* This trail features outstanding and innovative interpretative signs along the route.
There is an excellent brochure available at the Visitor Centre. Most of the information is available at https://www.colacotway.vic.gov.au/Parks-Recreation/Old-Beechy-Rail-Trail. It has information about bike hire in the area.
Otway Fly Treetop Adventure
Located 46 km south of Colac via the Colac-Lavers Hill Road and Phillips Track, the Otway Fly Treetop Adventure combines elevated treetop walks with a unique Zipline Tour which allows visitors to take flying fox adventures through the trees. The Treetop Walk is 600 metres long and 25 metres above the forest floor. The experience involves walking in a cool temperate rainforest comprising mainly Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Mountain Ash. The total walk is 1.9 km and it takes approximately one hour. It is open every day from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm, tel: 1800 300 477 or check out http://www.otwayfly.com/ for prices and the range of activities available.
Red Rock Circuit
There is an interesting brochure Red Rock Lakes & Volcanic Craters which can be downloaded at https://www.visitotways.com/assets-theotways/Uploads/Red-Rock-Lakes-and-Craters-Brochure-2.pdf which has a map and 9 points of interest on a circular route from Colac which passes Lake Corangamite, Red Rock, Lake Beeac and returns to Colac via the road around Lake Colac. It covers the following places:
1. An ancient lake bed raised by Warrion’s eruption 80,000 years ago.
2. Red Rock Regional Theatre and Gallery.
3. Corunnun Homestead.
4. Lake Corangamite Nature Reserve.
5. Red Rock Lookout.
6. Coragulac House - which is open for groups of over 20. Tel: Sharyn Gibson on 0434 491 339 for information and booking.
7. Stone Walls created to clear the land and form barriers to cattle and rabbits.
8. Beeac with its interpretive park and windmill display.
9. Meredith Park tourist spot on the northern shore of Lake Colac.
Red Rock Volcanic Reserve
Red Rock is located 230 metres above sea-level and 17 km north west of Colac via the A1 and the road to Alvie. The entire area was once covered with volcanic activity and consequently the landscape is scattered with vents, some of which have formed into crater lakes. It is estimated that the area contains over 40 eruption sites. The basalt plains around the volcano, known as Stony Rises, were formed by lava flows. Ash deposits formed around the craters and lava jets shot hundreds of metres into the air creating the hills of Red Rock. There are three excellent lookouts which offer impressive views over the surrounding lakes and volcanic formations. One vantage point has views over the Old Shire Pit - a scoria quarry which reveals layers of ash and lava flow and the other, known as the Eastern Lookout looks down on Coragulac House, a 26-room mansion with conical towers built in 1873 by George Robertson and, across to the south-east, are Lake Colac and Colac while Beeac lies to the north-east. Further along is access to the Western Lookout which overlooks Lake Werowrap, Lake Gnalingurk and Lake Purdigulac. These lakes were originally volcanic craters. There is a useful, downloadable brochure. Check out https://www.visitotways.com/assets-theotways/Uploads/Red-Rock-Lakes-and-Craters-Brochure-2.pdf.
As you drive around the area you will notice the impressive stone walls which are a product of the volcanic activity covering the countryside with basalt and the early settlers wanting to clear the land. The result was that cleared basalt was used to build these impressive stone walls which were created to clear the land and form barriers to cattle and rabbits. There are many impressive examples. Check out Melrose Road, Duckholes Road and the road between Warrion and Beeac. Some were built as early as the 1840s but most appeared in the 1870s and 1880s.
Located to the west of Colac (the Foreshore Reserve is 15 km north west of the town) is Lake Corangamite, Victoria's largest inland lake. With a surface area of 234 square kilometres and a circumference of about 150 km, Lake Corangamite stretches for 32 km in a north-south direction although, even then, it is thought to be a remnant of a much larger body of water. The lake's name is said to be a First Nation word for 'bitter' - a reference to its extreme salinity (three times saltier than seawater). This condition, which discourages the presence of fish, arises because the volume of the streams which feed the lake is insufficient to cause an overflow and so there is no ongoing interchange or flow of waters. It being a rather shallow basin, the water merely evaporates, causing an accumulation of salinity.
Lake Corangamite contains Vaughan Island which is one of the state's few pelican-breeding colonies and home to sacred ibis and black swans. Other birds on the lake are Australian shelduck and chestnut teal which roost and moult in large numbers, as well as the freckled duck, double-banded plover and the banded stilt.
From the lookout on the lake shore the visitor can see the volcanic cones of Mt Porndon, Mt Sugarloaf and Mt Elephant (their positions are marked on a dial at the lookout). To the north of the lookout is a foreground of farmland where potatoes, onions and dairying occur on the rich volcanic soils and a background formed by the Alvie and Warrion Hills. For more information check out https://www.otway.biz/lakecorangamite.html.
Lake Beeac and the village of Beeac
Located 22 km north of Colac via the Colac-Ballarat Road is Lake Beeac, a strange "freshwater" lake covering 560 ha which is so hypersaline that it has a whitish hue.
The Colac Community Website (https://www.otway.biz/lakebeeac.html) explains that the lake is "An important wetland water-bird habitat, Lake Beeac is a State Wildlife Reserve and is also part of the Ramsar Lakes which have international protection for migratory waterbirds. Despite the lake being hyper-saline, which can give it a ghostly milky whitish hue, the brine shrimps that thrive in its waters provide a food source for the banded stilt and red-necked avocet. Flocks of many thousands of these birds and banded stilts have been recorded as well as large flocks of several other species, such as the hoary-headed grebe and the whiskered tern. Some birds are known to travel from the Northern Hemisphere to feed on Lake Beeac's shrimp. The salt lakes of the Ondit district, which includes Beeac, encouraged the establishment of salt factories on the margins of the lakes in the late nineteenth century, including Lake Beeac."
The tiny village of Beeac is of interest both because it has an impressive Gothic brick Catholic Church - St Michael's on Main Street (dating from 1924) and a Windmill Park which features a diverse range of windmills collected from the surrounding farms. For more information about the town check out https://www.otway.biz/beeac.html.
Floating Island Flora and Fauna Reserve
Located 18 km west of Colac via the Princes Highway, the Floating Island Flora and Fauna Reserve (5 ha) is located in Lake Pirron Yallock which contains a number of small islands that support scrub, reeds, tussock grasses and eucalyptus saplings.The Floating Islands are formed of peat and move about on the surface of the lake. They are believed to be propelled either by wind power or fluctuations in the underlying water temperature. It is believed that the islands were originally a peat swamp which developed in a depression which was probably created by an ancient lava flow. It flooded each winter and dried up in the summer. In the centre was an island of peat on which potatoes were grown. In 1938 the peat caught fire and smouldered for several months, lowering the level of the swamp and the island. Then, in 1952, heavy rains caused the swamp to fill to a high level. The peat broke away from the basalt floor, complete with its vegetation, and began to float. The seasonal swamp was then turned into a permanent lagoon as the result of nearby roadworks and the clump of peat broke into a series of islets. The reserve is home to koalas and some 16 species of waterbirds which can be observed along the walking track to the Lake Pirron Yallock which leads from the carpark. A nature walk map is available from the Colac Information Centre. For more information check out https://www.otway.biz/pirronyallock.html.
Irrewarra and the Irrewarra Sourdough Bakery
Located 7 km east of Colac on the Princes Highway, Irrewarra (a local Gulidjan-Kolakngat word meaning "long spear throw" was established when Scottish-born pastoralist, John Calvert, purchased 69,000 acres (29,000 ha) of land. By 1845 he was shearing 17,000 sheep and had built a single-storey rubble basalt homestead, with its plastered facade and recessed veranda. The stables also date from the late 1840s. The Calvert family have lived on the land for five generations. In recent times John Calvert, at the time a Melbourne lawyer, with his wife Bronwynne, decided to turn the stables into a sourdough bakery. To learn more about the success of this remarkable experiment check out https://www.irrewarra.com.au/about-us.
* Prior to European settlement the area was occupied by the Gulidjan Aborigines.
* The first European in the area was pastoralist Hugh Murray who arrived in Geelong in 1837 with his sheep and horses.
* Thomas Austin stopped at what is now Winchelsea while Murray continued west, settling adjacent Barongarook Creek on the southern shore of Lake Colac later in 1837.
* In 1837 that the explorers Joseph Gellibrand and George Hesse went missing in the area. Their bodies were never located and they were presumed killed by Aborigines.
* William Robertson purchased the rights to 5000 acres at Colac in 1837.
* In 1839 the Tuckfields arrived at Birregurra to establish the Methodist Buntingdale Aboriginal Mission.
* Hugh Murray built his first homestead in what is now Chapel St in 1840.
* Alexander Dennis and John Calvert established the 'Warncoort' and 'Irrewarra' runs respectively in 1840.
* The district's first race meeting was held in 1840 to the east of Lake Colac.
* Birregurra was visited in 1841 by Protector of Aborigines, George Robinson, who amused the inhabitants with a fireworks display.
* In 1843 Robertson bought out police magistrate Foster Fyans who had taken up land in the area in 1838.
* The novelist Rolf Boldrewood (Thomas Alexander Browne) in Old Melbourne Memories (1884), wrote about visiting Lake Colac in 1843 and finding it full of wild ducks, geese and cranes. "It was a scene of surpassing beauty and rural loveliness ... This Colac country was the finest, the richest as to soil and pasture that I had up to that time ever looked on".
* The settlement at Colac emerged around a coaching inn which was established in 1844 at the southern end of the lake (at what is now the corner of Hesse and Murray Streets). The site was surveyed in 1844 and small plots of land were made available the following year when a general store and blacksmith's were established.
* The Reverend Dunmore Lang, passed through the district in 1845 and took up land to the west of Colac in 1847. He subdivided it and sold the allotments in England.
* In 1848 the first post office was opened, a Presbyterian chapel was erected, a court of petty sessions was established and Buntingdale mission closed (the buildings were destroyed by fire in 1851).
* A police court, day school, second hotel, public pound, wheelwright and carpenter's shop and butcher's opened in 1849.
* A national school was established at East Colac in 1850, along with a second general store, the Colac Hotel and a brickmaking works.
* By 1851 the population was recorded as 672.
* The first flour mill was constructed in 1852.
* A bridge was built over Barongarook Creek in 1855.
* The first Catholic Church was erected in 1856
* A Methodist Church was built in 1857-58.
* A steam flour mill was built in 1857. That same year, Thomas Austin of Winchelsea, released rabbits on his estate. They would reach plague proportions in just a few years, prompting the construction of the stone walls which distinguish the area.
* In 1858 the first (unsuccessful) attempt was made to stock Lake Colac with fish.
* The first Colac Agricultural Show was held in 1859.
* In 1864 Colac was proclaimed a shire and the first bank opened in town.
* 1865 saw an unsuccessful attempt to extract sugar from grass-tree plants.
* John Co-Coc-Coine, the last chief of the local tribe and a man known as the 'King of the Warriors', died in 1865.
* Colac's first newspaper, The Observer, was published in 1866.
* The Duke of Edinburgh visited the area in 1867.
* In 1870 the first pleasure boats appeared on Lake Colac.
* A rabbit canning factory was built in 1871. Millions of rabbits were canned here for export to the UK.
* The railway reached the town in 1877.
* In 1879 a hospital was built and the first regatta was held on Lake Colac.
* In 1880 the First Rabbit Act was passed, making landowners responsible for the destruction of rabbits on their own property.
* In 1880 Alexander Dennis successfully cross-bred Merino and Lincoln sheep, thereby creating the Polwarth breed which proved better suited to areas of higher rainfall.
* Alexander Browne's son bought a local property in 1885, there entertaining his father and guests such as Dame Nellie Melba.
* After World War I soldier settlement schemes divided up some of the large properties around the town.
* The first community hospital in Victoria was opened at Colac in 1934.
* The settlement became a borough in 1938.
* Colac became a town in 1948.
* In I Can Jump Puddles (1955) Alan Marshall recalls being taken to Colac Hospital for the treatment of his infantile paralysis.
* Colac became a city in 1960.^ TOP
Colac Information Centre, 1 Murray Street, tel: 1300 689 297. It is open daily - Monday - Thursday 9.00 am - 3.00 pm, Friday 9.00 am - 5.00 pm, Saturday 9.00 am - 3.00 pm and Sunday 10.00 am - 2.00 pm.^ TOP
The official website is https://www.visitotways.com/the-otways-destinations/colac.^ TOP