Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published March 19th 2017
A little town that's big on history
The pretty, little town of Beeac dates back to 1860. With a population of only 200 people it is easy to dismiss it as having nothing of interest. That would be a mistake. The town is nestled on the banks of Lake Beeac in the Lakes and Craters Region of the Victorian Volcanic Plains and is packed to the rafters with history.
The Beeac Windmill Park in Main Street (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The Beeac Windmill Park will likely be the first thing to catch your eye as you drive into town. Opened in 2010 the park exhibits windmills which operated in the region between the 1890s and 1940's. Each windmill has its own information board. Retired engineer Dick Shinners and The Beeac Progress Association restored the windmills using parts scavenged from local farms ad old photos for reference. Six different windmill manufacturers are represented in the park.
The information pavilion at the Beeac Windmill Park (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The pavilion at the park features a variety of information boards representing the history of Beeac. There are boards about the windmills, transport, education, produce, agriculture, and religion. One board displays a map and details of the Beeac Heritage Trail.
A sample dry stone wall at the Beeac Windmill Park (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
At the back of the park a sample dry stone wall, common in the area has been constructed. The stones, prolific on these volcanic plains, were cleared to make way for pastoral land and used to construct these boundary walls. They are certainly more appealing than the standard wire fences surrounding rural paddocks.
Traditional verandahs at the Farmers Arms Hotel in Main Street, Beeac (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
You might want to take a break before embarking on the Beeac Heritage Trail. The general store across the road sells drinks and snacks and you can get coffee to go if you wish to sip and walk. If you have children with you there is a playground, BBQ and picnic tables on the corner of Main Street (Colac-Ballarat Road) and Wallace Street. The Farmers Arms Hotel at 87 Main Street is open for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday and serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Heritage shop fronts in Main Street, Beeac (photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Although the distances are short there are 41 points of interest on The Beeac Heritage Trail. Click here to print out the Heritage Trail brochure. Many of the historic buildings feature a plaque with a photo of the building in its early days and a short history. Some of the shop fronts have displays of yesteryear items in their windows. Stroll beneath the traditional verandah covered shop fronts where tubs of pretty flowers brighten the streetscape and take as much or as little time as you wish.
The building used by Gainger's Garage and Bus Lines opened in 1917 (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Amongst the buildings you will pass are Gainger's Garage and Bus Lines which was opened in 1917. The London Chartered Bank which is now a residence was opened in 1888, and The Farmers Arms Hotel established in 1866 and still operating today.
Wallace Street, Beeac, a picturesque avenue of trees (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Top off a relaxing visit with a stop at Lake Beeac. This salt lake of around 560 hectares is an important wetland bird habitat. Commonly seen here are the banded stilt, red-necked avocet, hoary-headed grebe and whickered tern.
Lake Beeac Reflections (Photo by Keza67 (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Beeac is 20kms northwest of Colac along the Colac-Ballarat Road. Colac is around 150kms and an hour and a half from the Melbourne CBD. Visit the website for directions. The Windmill Park, Heritage Walk and access to Lake Beeac are free. More information can be obtained by visiting the Colac Community Website – Beeac or ringing the Colac Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5231 3730. There are public toilets in Main Street (Colac-Ballarat Road) and at Lake Beeac. The town is close enough to Melbourne to make this a day trip. Those wishing to stay overnight will find a variety of accommodation options in nearby Colac.
Where:Beeac is 20kms northwest of Colac along the Colac-Ballarat Road. Colac is around 150kms and an hour and a half from the Melbourne CBD. Visit the website http://www.otway.biz/travel.html for directions.