Glenelg Shire

About the area

Key Statistics

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Glenelg Shire is located in south-western Victoria, about 360 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD. Glenelg Shire is bounded by West Wimmera Shire in the north, Southern Grampians Shire and Moyne Shire in the east, the Southern Ocean in the south, and the South Australian border, the District Council of Grant area and the Wattle Range Council area in the west.

Included Areas

Glenelg Shire includes the localities of Allestree, Bahgallah, Bessiebelle (part), Bolwarra, Branxholme (part), Breakaway Creek (part), Brimboal, Cape Bridgewater, Carapook (part), Cashmore, Casterton, Chetwynd (part), Clover Flat (part), Condah, Corndale, Dartmoor, Dergholm (part), Digby, Drik Drik, Drumborg, Dunrobin, Gorae, Gorae West, Grassdale, Greenwald, Heathmere, Henty, Heywood, Homerton, Hotspur, Killara, Lake Condah (part), Lake Mundi, Lindsay, Lyons, Merino, Milltown, Mount Richmond, Mumbannar, Muntham (part), Myamyn, Nangeela, Nareen (part), Narrawong, Nelson, Paschendale, Portland, Portland North, Portland West, Sandford, Strathdownie, Tahara (part), Tahara Bridge, Tahara West, Tyrendarra (part), Wallacedale (part), Wando Bridge, Wando Vale (part), Warrock and Winnap.

Land Use

Glenelg Shire is a predominantly rural area, with significant residential areas in numerous small townships. The major town is Portland, with smaller townships at Casterton, Dartmoor, Heywood and Nelson, and small communities at Digby and Merino. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 6,200 square kilometres, including national parks, pine plantations and coastline. Much of the rural area is used for timber-getting, farming, grazing and dairying.

Name Origin

Glenelg Shire is named after the Glenelg River, which was named by Major Mitchell in 1836 after Colonial Secretary Baron Glenelg.

Indigenous Meaning

The original inhabitants of Glenelg Shire were the Bunganditj, Gunditjmara and Jardwadjali Aboriginal people.


European settlement dates from 1834, when Edward Henty settled in Portland, making the area Victoria’s oldest continuing European settlement. The main industries were farming, grazing, timber-getting and whaling. Population was minimal until the 1850s and 1860s, with growth spurred by the gold rush and saw-milling industries. Expansion continued from the 1870s into the early 1900s, aided by the opening of the railway line, growth in the timber industry and tourism. The most significant development occurred in the post-war years, particularly during the 1940s and early 1950s. The population was relatively stable from the late 1950s to the 1970s, and then increased slightly through to the 1980s. The population declined slightly from the 1990s, and then stabilised in more recent years.

Major Features

Major features of Glenelg Shire include Discovery Bay Coastal Park, Cobboboonee National Park, Lower Glenelg National Park, Mount Richmond National Park, Dergholm State Park, Cape Nelson State Park, the Great South West Walk, Portland Maritime Discovery Centre, Portland Botanic Gardens, Princess Margaret Rose Cave, the Glenelg River and South West TAFE (Portland Campus).


Glenelg Shire is served by the Glenelg Highway, the Henty Highway, the Princes Highway, the Port of Portland and Portland Airport.

Glenelg Shire

economic profile