Inverleigh is an historic village on the confluence of the Leigh and Barwon rivers. Since the mid-1970s, this rural township has become a dormitory suburb of Geelong with some residents commuting to Melbourne. The railway station is closed to passengers, being a siding on the Western standard gauge line between Melbourne and Adelaide.
It has been speculated that the first European to arrive in Inverleigh was William Buckley, but the first European known to have visited Inverleigh was the surveyor J.H. Wedge who arrived in 1835, probably naming the Leigh River after his Tasmanian farm 'Leighlands'. Very soon thereafter the Weatherboard Station land was taken up either by George Russell or by station manager David Fisher on behalf of The Derwent Company. It was claimed that the weatherboard homestead built by the station manager was Victoria's first weatherboard homestead. The name of the station is now commemorated by Weatherboard Road.
The township has a number of historic buildings. The Post Office opened on 11 October 1856. The Prefabricated Iron Cottage at 24 Weatherboard Road, Inverleigh, is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register for its historical and architectural significance. nverleigh Hotel dates back to 1856.
River Leigh, Lawson Park
The Wathaurong people called the River Leigh "Yaramlok" and at Inverleigh it flows through a shallow gorge lined by river red gums. Following the course of the river is Lawsons Park, named after a blacksmith from Tasmania who arrived here in 1836 and settled under an ancient, gnarled river red gum that still stands on the edge of town and bears his name. Nearby you'll find a barbecue, picnic spot and the old police lock-up. Further upstream is the steel cable and wood Federation suspension bridge that crosses the Leigh and leads to the Rainers Hill lookout. From this construction, built on the edge of the escarpment, one looks over the Barwon River Valley, with its low hills and large farms.
Inverleigh is home to Gladioli Restaurant, one of Victoria's best regional restaurants, which received two Chef's Hats in The Age Good Food Guide 2015. It is small, understated and elegant, with linen on tables and fine glassware, and you'll find truly beautiful and delicious dishes balancing flavour, texture and respectful use of modern techniques highlighting local producers such as Western Plains Pork and Great Ocean Ducks. It has become a popular weekend lunch retreat.