Walkerville South

A tiny fishing village on Waratah Bay in southwest Gippsland, this small town, originally known as Waratah, is separated into North Walkerville and South Walkerville. Late last century Walkerville South was the site of a thriving limestone industry, the remains of the kilns, jetty and the pioneer cemetery can still he seen on Waratah Bay.

Location: 190 km from Melbourne.

Waratah Bay is an arc of almost 20 kilometres of flat sandy beach framed by Cape Liptrap to the west and Wilsons Promontory in the east. Walkerville, a tiny settlement on the sandy shores of Waratah Bay, was once one of the busiest places in South Gippsland due to its thriving lime industry. Remnants of the burnt-out lime kilns cling to the cliffs of Walkerville South.

Extremely secluded, Walkerville South is only accessible by lonely gravel roads and the lack of people ensures that facilities are at a bare minimum. Walkerville North is accessed by a sealed winding road from the nearby hilltop through beautiful forest down to the shore. Once the road clears the forest at the shore a gravel road on the immediate left leads to a camping ground while the sealed road hugs the shore closely for about 500 metres before ending at a boat ramp, providing access to the shores of Waratah Bay.

Along this road there are a few houses, along with a picnic area and public toilets. Walkerville North provides beautiful views across Waratah Bay to nearby Wilsons Promontory, and at low tide provides access to spectacular rock pools.

Approx. 100 metres beyond the end of the boat ramp marks the beginning of a walking trail up the cliff that separates the two Walkerville settlements. This trail leads you through spectacular forests and little creeks stained brown by the tea tree (melaleuca) plants. Along the trail are vantage points with information plaques about the brief mining and logging history of the settlement, and geographical information about the area.

A short side-trail takes you to a hidden cemetery, with beautiful headstones of the settlers and workers that battled the rough terrain that is visibly different to that of today. The gravel road that leads to Walkerville South ends with a similar boat ramp to that of its northern sister settlement, and a sheltered bay frequented in the summer by families swimming, fishing and jet-skiing in the quiet pristine waters.

Brief history: from 1878 until 1926, the township of Waratah (now Walkerville South), on the western shores of Waratah Bay in South Gippsland, was the location of a significant limestone quarry and lime production industry involving six kilns and employing up to 80 men. The lime produced at Walkerville was mainly shipped to Melbourne but some went to Gippsland and occasionally to Sydney. Lime from Waratah is said to have been used in the preparation of mortar for Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station. One of at least ten large vessels have been shipwrecked in the area.

Origin of name: in 1892 the name of the town of Waratah was changed to Walkerville, according to some reports to avoid confusion with a town of the same name in New South Wales. It is believed to be named after the man who purchased the limeworks here in 1884.

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