Town by town snapshot: Aireys Inlet
The size of Aireys Inlet is approximately 20.2 square kilometres and is a popular stop for travellers along the Great Ocean Road where ocean vistas begin to be more prominent.
The population of Aireys Inlet in 2011 was 714 people and by the 2016 Census the population was 808, showing a population growth of 13.2 per cent in the area during that time.
In 1839 John Airey took up a pastoral run near Point Roadknight, east of the inlet and by 1842 expanded his holding along the coast beyond the inlet and was named the Angahook/Angohawk Run.
It is probable that Aireys Inlet is named after him, although his brother George was a Commissioner for Crown Lands in the Geelong district, 1839-44.
In 1887 the relatively inaccessible inlet area was subdivided and about 100 blocks were soldwith only a few being occupied.
In 1890 the construction of a lighthouse was begun on the site known as Eagle’s Nest Point (renamed Split Point in 1913).
The heritage listed lighthouse, 100 metres above sea level, is made of cement-rendered concrete.
A post office and the Grand Hotel opened in 1893 and 1894 supported by agricultural and pastoral activities in the area.
Access to Aireys Inlet, however, was by travel along the beach from Lorne at low tide or by road over the mountainous Otway Ranges.
In 1905 a survey disclosed that a track along the edge of the coast was possible, and its construction was later taken up as a project to employ returned soldiers.
The Great Ocean Road Trust was formed and the road between Lorne and Anglesea was opened in 1922.
The median house price in Aireys Inlet in 1987 was $74,250 and in 1996 it was $140,000. The low figure in 1987 was three years after the Ash Wednesday fires which destroyed 219 houses in Aireys Inlet, 177 in Fairhaven, 87 in Moggs Creek and 32 in Eastern View.
CoreLogic data indicates that the predominant age group in Aireys Inlet is 50-59 years, with households in Aireys Inlet being primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1,000 – $1,399 per month on mortgage repayments, and in general, people in Aireys Inlet work in a professional occupation.
In 2011, 74 per cent of the homes in Aireys Inlet were owner-occupied compared with 73.9 per cent in 2016.