Drouin is a town in the West Gippsland region, 90 kilometres (56 mi) east of Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria.
- Area:52.37 km2
- Elevation:145 m
- Local Government Area:Baw Baw Shire Council
Drouin is a town in the West Gippsland region, 90 kilometres (56 mi) east of Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria. Its local government area is the Shire of Baw Baw, and is home to the council headquarters despite being the second-largest town in the shire, behind neighbouring Warragul. The town is supposedly named after a Frenchman who invented a chlorination process for the extraction of ore, or an Aboriginal word meaning "north wind". New housing developments have accelerated the town's residential growth in recent years. As at the 2016 census, Drouin had a population of 11,887 people.
Settlement in this part of Gippsland was rather delayed due to the dense forest. Pastoral runs were taken up but little developed. In 1867, a coaching station was established on the track into Gippsland at Brandy Creek, about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north-east of present Drouin. By the early 1870s, a small settlement had developed and land was being selected in the area. A post office opened on 5 April 1876, later renamed to Jindivick in 1878.
Between 1877 and 1879, the Gippsland railway line was constructed, connecting Melbourne with Gippsland. Workers' camps were set up along the route which passed to the south of Brandy Creek, with three camps in the vicinity of Drouin. After the Brandy Creek rail section opened in 1878, a township was surveyed at Drouin Junction, soon known as Drouin. A post office named Drouin Junction opened on 1 January 1877 and was renamed Drouin in 1878. As Drouin developed, Brandy Creek, now called Buln Buln, had declined. When the Buln Buln Shire was formed in 1878, the administrative centre was located in Drouin. The new Tourists' Guide described the township in 1889, showing its substantial development.Throughout the 1880s, a number of small sawmills operated in the Drouin district, many transporting their timber by tramway to the Drouin railway station. In the 1890s, a quarry was opened south-east of Drouin, the stone being carried by tramway to a railway siding east of Drouin. In 1913, this quarry was purchased and operated by the shire.
As land was cleared, dairy farming became the main industry. Initially, butter and cheese were made on the farm. A creamery operated from 1891 to 1895 and in 1904 a co-operative butter factory was established at Drouin. When this factory was extended in 1907, an electric light plant was installed which also provided light for the streets and homes of Drouin. The factory supplied fresh milk to the Melbourne market from 1915.
Over the years, the company acquired other dairy companies and enlarged its own operation, producing casein, skim milk and butter-oil as well as butter and cheese. It became part of the Bonlac company (now Fonterra) which later closed it down, removing the town's biggest employer. Flax was grown around Drouin during the two world wars. A private factory operated for a while and in 1941, the government constructed a factory to manufacture canvas goods for military use.
The town has progressed steadily. In 1904, the population was 700. By 1933, there were just over 1,000 inhabitants and by 1970, 2,750. From the 1970s, the subdivision of an industrial estate on the south-east edge of the town had encouraged the growth of light industry. A number of housing subdivisions have also been initiated, as well as rural residential subdivision on the fringes of the town. The construction of a freeway bypassing Drouin allowed the remodelling of the shopping centre. By 1981, the population was 3,492 and in 1991 was 4,100. The Victorian Municipal Directory described the town in 1994. The town forms part of a combined urban area that includes Warragul. The estimated urban population for this area was 37,928 at June 2018, having grown on average 3.26% year-on-year for the preceding five years.
# Things to do