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Terang, VIC

Rural service centre with impressive avenues of trees

The visitor entering Terang is overwhelmed by the beauty of the wide streets and the impressive avenues of mature trees. There are English oaks, planted in the 1890s, in the High Street; cottonwood poplars, planted in 1900, in Thomson Street; and plane trees, planted in the 1910s, line the Princes Highway. The result is a particularly attractive rural service centre where the primary attractions area number of important historic buildings, some attractive walking trails and an opportunity to admire the unusual volcanic surroundings which have resulted in an important pastoral district.


Terang is located 212 km west of Melbourne via Geelong and Camperdown. It is 132 metres above sea level.


Origin of Name

It is claimed that the town was named after a local Aboriginal word which reputedly meant "a twig with leaves".


Things to See and Do

The Importance of Terang's Historic Area
The Victorian Heritage Database recognises Terang as being historically important. It sums up the important as being "significant in several respects: the extent and richness of its early twentieth century commercial architecture in comparison to other county towns; its picturesque setting and exotic tree plantings; and the buildings, avenues and monuments which are a legacy of its strong community ideal. Terang's townscape comprises an unusual, attractive and harmonious juxtaposition of two important and conflicting ideals in Australian history: the patronage of the villagers and yeomanry who also flourish in this unusually fertile location. The precincts which are most central to this character are the High Street town centre, the major avenues, Bradshaw Hill and the dry Lake Terang, and also the Railway Station precinct." See https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67791 for more details.

Court House
Located at 22 High Street, the old courthouse is part of a law and order complex which includes the former courthouse (1903-1980) and the police station and residence. It was built of Northcote bricks around the same time as the Post Office.

Post Office
Located at 28 High Street is the Post Office. The Victorian Heritage Database notes of the building's significance: "The Terang Post Office is architecturally significant as an accomplished design by architect JH Marsden in the Arts and Crafts and American Romanesque styles featuring multiple arched windows, a prominent roof, timbered gables and bracketed eaves. The tower which was added to the design to house the publicly financed clock is now the dominant feature and raises the scale of the building from its otherwise domestic proportions." The clock tower was reputedly the first in Australia to be funded by public subscription. Both the courthouse and post office were constructed of Northcote bricks by the same builder in 1903-04. For more information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/5484.

Commercial Hotel
Located at 73 High Street, the Commercial Hotel was originally built in 1866 by a Mr Asche. The original building was demolished but the tower, which dates from 1866, was retained.

Terang War Memorial
Located in High Street this impressive  20 metre granite obelisk was dedicated in 1923. It was unveiled by Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Chauvel to honour those who served in World War I but, over the years the names of those who served in World War II were added.  When it was unveiled The Age reported that "The memorial consists of an obelisk of grey granite 66 feet in height, approached by a flight of granite steps.  Each face of the plinth carries a heavy bronze slab. One of these contains a battle scene, and the inscription "In honor of all Australians who fought in the Great War, 1914-18, and to perpetuate the memory of those from Terang and district." A second tablet contains the names of those who fell, and the other two the names of all other district men who enlisted." Check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/127318/download-report for more details.

Band Rotunda and Rose Garden
The Band Rotunda in the median strip on High Street was designed to commemorate two bandsmen who died during World War I and four who died during World War II. the funds for the memorial were collected at football matches during 1919. It was rededicated in 1985. The Rose Gardens, opened in 1927, were established when over 1000 roses were donated by town residents after the local Rotary Club asked if residents would like to donate a rose for a rose bed. For more information check out https://www.monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/multiple/display/33711-bandsmen-memorial.

English Oaks on High Street
There is a total of 118 English Oak trees on High Street between Estcourt Street and Lyons Street. These English oaks (Quercus robur) were planted in the 1870s and are probably the oldest avenue of trees in Victoria. They are listed on the Victorian Heritage Database. Check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/71202.

Johnstone Court
Located at 44-64 High Street, Johnstone Court is "An exceptionally intact and very fine shopping complex of 1925 by the architect W P Knights, designed around a central atrium with a barrel-vaulted glazed roof: still retaining in the atrium the original commemorative plaques, the decorative cement work, and quantities of green glazed tiling, while the street front retains its cantilevered awning and some of the decorative pressed metal lining, notable in front of the Men's Store, which is a period specimen with its original diapered coloured glazing in the toplight, and somewhat later display windows and lettering." See https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67824 for more information.

Mechanics Institute
Located on the corner with the Promenade and High Street is the Shire of Hampden building erected in 1898 as a mechanics' institute and library. At its rear is an early public hall dating from 1886 and on the western side of the building is the present Civic Hall (1910).

Terang Public Park
Located behind the Civic Hall is Centenary Park, now known as Terang Public Park. The basin, with its ornamental and native trees, was once Lake Terang which attracted many waterbirds. The early settlers used it as a sheep wash and they also fished in the lake. In 1933 the peat bed in the lake caught fire. It was subsequently and turned into a park and golf course.

Thomson Memorial Presbyterian Church
Located near the western end of High Street is the Thomson Memorial Presbyterian Church. It was named after John Thomson who squatted on Lake Keilambete (6 km north-west of Terang) in 1840. He is said to have built the first brick house in the district, was appointed a magistrate in 1840 and was also a founder of the first church in Terang, erected by the Bible Christian denomination in 1863. The Thomson Memorial Presbyterian Church was erected at Thomson's instigation in 1893-94 on the site of an earlier Presbyterian church. The Victorian Heritage Database records significance for both the church and its organ noting: "One of the largest and finest country parish churches in Victoria, built in 1890 to the design of Reed, Henderson and Smart in a style with French overtones in such aspects as the semicircular pseudo-apse (actually the vestry), the pinnacles clustered about the base of the spire, and the spiral curved stair tower with steeped-up window openings. It is one of the few churches in Victoria in which the spire was completed in the initial building campaign, and the interior is enhanced by a wagon-headed roof." and "A two-manual organ of 14 stops built in 1879 by William Anderson for Holy Trinity Church, Kew, and installed in its present location in 1902 following its rebuilding by George Fincham & Son. The instrument remains unaltered from its 1902 state and retains its tonal scheme, pipework and action from that date." See https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/67786.

Terang Historical Society Museum
Located at the western end of High Street is the town's Terang College Primary Campus. The oldest school building dates from 1871 with a northern wing added in 1890 and a southern wing in 1907. In the school grounds is the Terang & District Historical Society museum. It is housed in the old Dixie Primary School building which was relocated to this site. The website explains that "We have a growing collection of photographs, newspapers, business ledgers, organisation minute books, history books, cemetery records, maps and memorabilia relating to Terang and District."
The Museum is open on the third Sunday of each month from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm and by appointment. Check out https://www.teranghistory.org.au/museum for details.

Terang Railway Station
Located at 44 Swanston Street and dating from 1889, the Railway Station is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database. It notes that "was constructed by FS Leonard on the Warrnambool-Terang line for the Victorian Railways. It comprises a single storey, hip roofed symmetrical brick station building with a standard iron platform verandah and a basalt faced passenger platform. Distinctive features of the station building include the round arched windows, cream brick dressings to the openings and the porch, a gambrel roof to the porch, and tall octagonal chimney stacks." and points out the significance of the building as "a representative and most intact example of the 'Terang' style of station building. A small group of brick station designs (Terang and Camperdown), which feature Romanesque arches to the openings, cement render banding and a broken gable over the entrance." For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1151.


Other Attractions in the Area

Lake Terang Walking Track
The Lake Terang Walking Track, created by the local Lions Club, is a 4.5 km (it will take about 45 minutes) walk around the bed of Lake Terang which starts at the Apex Playground. The walk was opened in 1995 and features a number of interesting historic markers as well as seating and the opportunity to enjoy the birdlife and flora of the area. It starts off the High Street.

Terang to Noorat Walking Trail
Starting at the end of Thompson Street, this Rotary Club undertaking is a 4.2 km walking and cycling trail from Terang to Noorat. It is relatively flat and offers excellent views of Mount Noorat.

Alan Marshall Walking Track
This short walk (500 metres return to the crater and 1000 metres return to the peak)  begins at Carroopook Street (it runs off Glenormiston Road at Noorat) and climbs up the edge of one of Australia’s best preserved dry craters. The volcano erupted about 5,000 years ago. The lookout offers commanding views of surrounding peaks on the volcanic plain and a good panoramic view over the countryside.
For more information on all these walks check out https://terangdistrictwalkingtrails.weebly.com.

The village of Noorat is located 6 km north of Terang. It is located at the foot of Mount Noorat, a volcanic cone which rises 313 metres above sea-level. Prior to the arrival of Europeans the mountain was an important meeting and trading place for the local Aborigines who exchanged stones, spears, skins and other material. Over the years Mount Noorat has proven a source of scoria, used on the district's early roads.
Noorat was the birthplace of much loved Australian author Alan Marshall (1902-1984) whose most famous work was his autobiography I Can Jump Puddles (1955) which told the story of his battle with polio which he contracted in 1908. A cairn has been erected in the park opposite the Beehive Store, which was Marshall's birthplace. For more information on the cairn check out https://www.monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/arts/display/32942-alan-marshall.

Dalvai and Heritage Garden
Located at 431 McKinnons Bridge Road, Noorat, is the impressive Dalvui homestead (1907) which is surrounded by outstanding gardens designed by William Guilfoyle, designer of Melbourne's Botanic Gardens. The gardens are "regarded as one of Australia’s most significant gardens; lush velvety lawns beneath spectacular mature trees complement curved borders filled with a choice selection of shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Rockeries and ponds. More recent plantings add further interest." Check out https://federationhome.com/2018/06/29/dalvui-terang-vic. The house is not open to the public but occasionally the gardens can be inspected.

Niel Black Presbyterian Memorial Church
Located at the corner of Glenormiston Road and Mackinnons Bridge Road, the Niel Black Presbyterian Memorial Church (1893) is a bluestone structure named after the man who took over the Glenormiston run in 1840. He became a civic leader, benefactor and Member of the Legislative Assembly. Check https://www.churchesaustralia.org/list-of-churches/denominations/presbyterian-church-of--australia/directory/2976-niel-black-memorial-presbyterian-church for more details.

Lake Keilambete
Located 6 km north-west of Terang via the Terang-Framlingham Road, Lake Keilambete is a near-perfect maar. Agriculture Victoria's website explains: "Lake Keilambete is a circular lake up to 11 m deep occupying a maar crater 2 km in diameter. It is surrounded by a basaltic tuff ring which gives a maximum enclosed crater depth of 40 m. Tertiary sediments (clayey limestone and limestone) form the bedrock and are exposed at the lake shoreline and in the lower walls of the crater. There is no stream inflow or outflow but a clayey lake floor prevents seepage loss. On-going investigations of the lake environs and lake floor materials by drilling, pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating have revealed a history of changing lake levels and salinity. Carbon dating of lake floor sediments indicates a minimum age of 30 000 years for crater formation." Check http://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/glenregn.nsf/pages/eruption_points_keilambete for more details. The DPCD South West Victoria Landscape Assessment Study offers the following advice for people wanting to view the lake: "Lake Keilambete is not immediately discernible to the eye, as it nestles in a deep crater. Where Keilambete road edges the lake, views are predominantly blocked by dense roadside vegetation. A break in the vegetation on the south western edge opens up to reveal the sparkling blue water of the lake. From this point cleared, grassy banks slope down to the water’s edge and the almost perfectly circular formation of the lake is visible. The view is contained within this deep recession, with the raised sides (or ‘tuff’ ring) blocking outward views. Mount Noorat is centred in the view on the horizon.
"The stunning, deep blue-green colouration of the water of the lake is one of the most striking features of this view. The blue colour seems to glow from within the waters of the lake, unlike some of the broader and shallower lakes in the region that tend to reflect the colours of the sky. The straw coloured pastures that edge the lake provide a high level of contrast that exacerbates this colouration.
The perfectly circular formation of the lake and the presence of Mount Noorat in the centre of the lake on the horizon give this view a remarkable balance. Scoria mining on the tuff ring has scarred the south eastern edge of the maar." Check out https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/94841/Significant-Views-Overview-Part-3.pdf.

Ralph Illidge Sanctuary
Located at Halfords Lane, Naringal, the Ralph Illidge Sanctuary is a 91 ha bush retreat  which provides an insight into the land prior to the arrival of Europeans. Ralph Illidge died in 1975 and the sanctuary was bequeathed to the Victorian Conservation Trust. It is now managed by volunteer Friends Group. Apart from preserving the native flora and fauna, the Sanctuary contains such rare wildlife species as the Long nosed Potoroo, the Powerful Owl, the Rufous Bristlebird and the White Goshawk. The potoroo is a rare member of the kangaroo family which is smaller than a rabbit. It was also the first animal that Captain Cook saw when he stepped ashore at Botany Bay. For more information about the site contact (03) 5566 2319 or check out https://www.visit12apostles.com.au/attractions/ralph-illidge-sanctuary/#moreinfo.



* Prior to the arrival of Aboriginal people, thought to have been of the Kuurn Kopan Noot tribe, lived in the area, particularly by the lake, but there was much conflict when whites arrived and a massacre is said to have occurred at this time.

* The Glenormiston run was taken up to the north of the townsite in 1839

* Glenormiston was taken over by Niel Black in 1840. That same year John Thomson established a 13 000-ha run on Lake Keilambete (6 km north-west of Terang).

* The first slab hut was also erected on the future townsite in 1840 by Donald McNicol, an employee of Niel Black.

* The first sale of town allotments occurred in 1855.

* By 1857 there were four buildings within the town boundary - two slab huts, a slab store and a carpenter's shop. There were also one or two families living in tents.

* The township was surveyed in 1858.

* The first post office opened either in the store or the carpenter's shop in 1859. A rough wooden schoolroom and the town's first hostelry were erected in the same year. * The early 1860s saw the construction of a racecourse and the establishment of the Wheatsheaf Hotel.

* A Bible Christian church was built inn 1865. 

* The Framlingham Aboriginal mission was established to the west of town and in 1867 80 Aborigines were removed to the Lake Condah reservation.

* Rabbits became a pest in the area and the 1860s saw the first dry stone walls of the area erected in an attempt to keep them out of paddocks.

* A Presbyterian Church was built in 1868.

* A regular coach service from Geelong to Warrnambool> commenced in the 1860s, stopping at the Commercial Hotel at Terang en route.

* The early 1870s saw Cobb & Co commence a regular service between Warrnambool and Camperdown.

* A telegraph service opened at the post office in 1871.

* A stone schoolhouse replaced the original wooden building in 1874.

* The Camperdown-Terang rail link was opened in 1887 with the line extended to Mortlake and Warrnambool in 1890.

* A local progress association was formed in 1889.

* The Thomson Memorial Presbyterian Church was built in 1894.

* The Glenormiston Butter and Cheese Factory was set up in the old bluestone woolshed on the Glenormiston Estate in 1895. From 1895 to 1949 the Glenormiston Butter and Cheese Factory produced 249 million gallons of whole milk and over 66 000 tons of butter.

* Anglican and Catholic churches were opened in 1898. That  year saw a grandstand built at the racecourse.

* A new Post Office was completed in 1902.

* A creamery opened at Noorat in 1903 and another was set up at Castlecarey in 1906.

* A Public Hall was opened in 1908.

* In 1910 the original butter factory was moved to Noorat and another creamery erected in its stead at Glenormiston.

* In 1911 Trufood established a powdered skim milk factory at Glenormiston.

* The first powered flight in Australia was made in 1910 by John. R. Duigan who was born at Terang in 1882.

* After the war the area was opened up for soldier settlement.

* The War Memorial in the main street was dedicated in 1923.

* In 1936 the Norah Cosgrove Terang and District Community Hospital was opened.

*  As part of the war effort, the government set up a flax mill at Terang in 1940 (it closed in 1947

* A glove factory operated from 1944 to 1952

* A sawmill was set up in 1947.

* A High School was opened in 1950.

* After World War II local estates were again broken up for soldier settlement.

* In 1960 Medical scientist Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet (1899-1985), who had attended Terang State School, was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in immunology.

* Noorat, 6 km north of Terang, was the birthplace of popular fiction writer Alan Marshall (1902-1984) whose autobiography I Can Jump Puddles (1955) told the story of his childhood and his battle with polio which he contracted in 1908.

* The Aboriginal Lands Act of 1970 granted control of Framlington Mission land to the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust.

* The Glenormiston Butter Factory closed in 1974.


Visitor Information

There is no Visitor Centre in Terang. The closest is ast Warrnambool to the south of Colac to the east. Check out Colac Visitor 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.


Useful Websites

There is a useful local website. Check out https://www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/towns-and-villages/terang. Also useful is https://beautifulaltona.com.au/terang.

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