Barwon Heads is a coastal township on the Bellarine Peninsula, near Geelong, Victoria, Australia. It is situated at the mouth “heads” of the Barwon River.
Nearby Thirteenth Beach is a popular surfing location, the beach is named for its proximity to the 13th hole of the golf course. The town was subject to flooding, including a flood that lasted some weeks in 1952, until the construction of levee banks in the 1950s.
During the late 1990s, Barwon Heads was the primary location of filming for the popular Australian television series, SeaChange. In the past decade Barwon Heads has become subject to what is colloquially known in some parts of Australia as the ‘seachange effect’.
Since the SeaChange television series first aired in 1998 there has been a significant increase in tourism and real estatesales and development (both commercial and residential) in the area. This has resulted in a very substantial increase in property and land values, making the town an ideal location for property developers.
Barwon Heads’ residential areas are softened by roadside verges and ti tree; some roads are unsealed. The town area is relatively low-lying, protected by a levee bank from flooding from the Barwon River. All the coast has a foreshore reserve, backed by the golf course and camping reserve. A smaller reserve separates the town from the river bank.
There is a main shopping street, Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches, a community hall and senior citizens and pre-school centres. Towards the north of the town there is the Barwon Heads Village Park, with sports facilities. The residential area extends beyond there to the river where it opens to Lake Connewarre. There is a look-out at the Bluff at the river mouth, giving views to the other side of the Port Phillip Bay. The look out has a monument to survivors of the “Earl of Charlemont” shipwreck (1853), some of whom pioneered the district.