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Colac

Colac is a small city in the Western District of Victoria, Australia, approximately 150 kilometres south-west of Melbourne on the southern shore of Lake Colac.

Details

  • Area:37.626 km2
  • Elevation:136 m
  • Population:9,048
  • Local Government Area:Colac Otway Shire Council

Description

Colacis a small city in the Western District of Victoria, Australia, approximately 150 kilometres south-west of Melbourne on the southern shore of Lake Colac. # History For thousands of years clans of the Gulidjan people occupied the region of Colac. ## British colonisation The British first entered the region in March 1837, when several land-holders came upon Lake Colac while searching for the missing colonist Joseph Gellibrand. Another larger search party, which was acting on information that local Gulidjan had killed Gellibrand, arrived in April. This group returned to Geelong after two Gulidjan people were killed by Aboriginal trackers accompanying the party.Colonisation of the area began in September 1837 with the arrival of grazier Hugh Murray (died 1869) who selected 34,000 acres of land and established three sheep stations: Warrion, Elliminyt and Barongarook. According to Murray, conflict with the resident Gulidjan was limited, with only one Aboriginal man being shot dead during punitive raids upon Aboriginal settlements following the taking of sheep. In 1841, around forty Gulidjan lived and worked on what was now Murray's property.The surveying for a village began in 1841 and the township of Lake Colac was proclaimed in 1848. The Post Office opened on 1 July 1848 as Lake Colac and was renamed Colac in 1854.Colac Botanic Gardens in Queen Street located on the shores of Lake Colac, were established in 1868. ## Brookhouse Mystery In 1854 town founder Hugh Murray employed a couple of shepherds named Thomas Brookhouse and Patrick Geary. Brookhouse who was looking for missing sheep disappeared without a trace. Patrick Geary and his wife soon left the district. Fifteen years later a boy out rabbiting found the skeletal remains of Thomas Brookhouse under a pile of rocks near Lake Corangamite. Brookhouse had his head smashed in. It took Police two years to track Patrick Geary and charge him with Brookhouse's murder. A friend of Geary told the court that Geary had killed Brookhouse with an axe to stop him from informing Murray of Geary's sheep stealing activities. Geary was hanged in Melbourne in 1871. ## Role in World War I A plaque on the southern side of the Memorial Square commemorates two historic speeches given on consecutive nights in Colac, beginning on 31 July 1914 with the then Federal opposition leader, Andrew Fisher, and followed the next night by the Prime Minister Joseph Cook. The two speeches declared Australia's commitment to follow Britain into World War I, with Fisher declaring "Should honor demand the mother country taking part in hostilities, Australians would stand beside her to the last man and shilling." and Cook's famous reiteration that "If the old country is at war, so are we." Fisher became Prime Minister for the third time on 5 September. The War Memorial stands in the centre of Memorial Square. ## Heritage listed sites Colac contains a number of heritage listed sites, including: 1 Murray Street, Adam Rea's Store 1–5 Fyans Street, Colac Botanic Gardens # Weather Colac has an oceanic climate (Cfb) with warm summers and cool damp winters. It records only 55.3 clear days on average. # Things to do

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