Town by town snapshot: Birregurra
The population of Birregurra in 2011 was 741 people and by the 2016 Census the population was 810 showing a population growth of 9.3% in the area during that time.
Birregurra is a charming rural township near the Princes Highway between Geelong and Colac.
It borders the western bank of the Barwon River with the Otway Ranges immediately to the south and the Colac to Geelong rail line to the north.
In 1839, an Aboriginal mission station was established about six kilometres south of Birregurra on the Barwon River which ceased in 1851.
One of its overseers, a Captain Bowden, had his name given to the place (Bowden’s Point) where the Cape Otway road crossed the river, and that place subsequently became Birregurra. The Birregurra on Barwon township was surveyed in 1862 and it is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word describing ‘kangaroo camp’ or (less likely) referring to a bend in the river.
The railway was extended from Geelong to Birregurra in 1876-77, prompting a steady growth in population to nearly 400 people by 1900.
The Otway Forrest railway line, branching from Birregurra was opened in 1891, looping southwards and skirting the Otway Ranges as it passed through numerous small farming settlements.
Livestock and whole milk were transported, enabling a saleyards (1912) and a dairy factory (1913-55) to open in Birregurra.
The town’s population approached 700 and stayed in that region until the 1960s, the Forrest railway line was closed in 1957.
CoreLogic data indicates that the predominant age group in Birregurra is 60- 69 years with households in Birregurra being primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1,400 – $1,799 per month on mortgage repayments, and in general, people in Birregurra work in a managers occupation.
In 2011, 82.7 per cent of the homes in Birregurra were owner-occupied compared with 78.6% in 2016.