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.