Friday, January 2, 2015

Apollo Bay: Then and Now

Apollo Bay is not part of Melbourne, but we love going there.

According to a recent article in The Age the sleepy coastal town's population swells from the usual 1000 residents, to more than 15 000 in December and January, as Melbournians flee the city for their summer break. For these two months it is the largest town in the state's south west.

Apollo Bay has been a local tourist destination for a long time, popular since at least the end of the Second World War. But the towns origins are more modest.

The first European settlers in the area were whalers and sealers, arriving in the early 19th century. One of these, Captain Loutit, named the bay after his own ship, the Apollo. By the 1850s, the dense forest that surrounded the bay had attracted another form of commerce, and sawmilling quickly became the areas main industry.

A post office was erected in 1873, and a school in 1880. Nearly all access to the bay was via the sea, until a coastal track was completed in 1927.

Word of Apollo Bay's natural beauty had spread to Melbourne by this time and, with the road through, holiday makers began arriving in the 1930s. With an affluent middle class established in the wake of World War II, the Bays popularity increased steadily, to its present day peak.

The following is a brief pictorial history, of one of favourite destinations...

A sketch of the bay from 1858, by C.Maplestone.

A sketch from above the bay, 1870s. Artist unknown.

A makeshift sawmill tram, 1870s.

Looking back towards the fledgling town, circa 1900.

A view of the town's enormous jetty, from 1908. The jetty was used to allow
large cargo ships to dock and collect saw logs. It fell into disuse and disrepair
after the logging trade ended, and was demolished in the 1950s.

Circa 1925.

The Great Ocean Road opened up the area from the late 1920s

A tourism poster from 1947.

Views of the town, and beach, from the 1940s, as the area became popular.

Scenes from the present day.


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