Town by town snapshot: St Leonards
The size of St Leonards is approximately 28.5 square kilometres and has 5 parks covering nearly 7% of total area.
The population of St Leonards in 2011 was 2,000 people and by the 2016 Census the population was 2,484 showing a population growth of 24.2% in the area during that time.
St Leonards is a coastal township on the end of the Bellarine Peninsula facing eastwards onto Port Phillip Bay and is about 46 kilometres south-west across the bay from central Melbourne.
James Langdon took up his St Leonards pastoral station in the area in 1849, possibly taking the name from the town of that name in Sussex, England.
Langdon was a partner of George Cole, a Melbourne merchant and owner of Coles Wharf on the Yarra River, Cole later operated paddle steamers in Port Phillip Bay.
Shortly after Langdon’s purchase Cole acquired land along the foreshore, both sides of the present-day St Leonards.
He is thought to have established a firewood trade from the Bellarine Peninsula to Melbourne and to have built the first houses at St Leonards and a pier was functioning by 1862.
The jetty was used for the carriage of agricultural produce as well as for poultry, pigs and fish.
Along with several coastal towns on the Bellarine Peninsula, St Leonards became a camping and fishing resort.
St Leonards has grown steadily since the 1960’s and has a foreshore reserve from Indented Head (to its north) to Lower Bluff wildlife reserve, interspersed with three camping areas. There is a large nature reserve adjoining Salt Lagoon, St Leonards Lake and an adjoining reserve in the township, an arboretum and another reserve along the main road to the jetty. The large Edwards Point wildlife reserve is at the south of St Leonards and extends into Swan Bay.
CoreLogic data indicates that the predominant age group in St Leonards is 60-69 years with households in St Leonards being primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1,400 – $1,799 per month on mortgage repayments, and in general, people in St Leonards work in a professional occupation.
In 2011, 70.9% of the homes in St Leonards were owner-occupied compared with 71.6% in 2016.