Originally called Yaugher, the name was changed to Forrest in the early 1900s. The town football team was established in 1891, and is still going strong to this day. Consisting of a “pub”, general store and 2 guest houses, Forrest is the gateway to the Otway Ranges. The West Barwon river flows through the township and it is near the West Barwon reservoir, which services Geelong.
The town was once the end of the main train line servicing the townships of Deans Marsh, Maroon, Barwon Downs, Yaugher and Forrest. It was a V Line route starting at Birregurra. At Forrest numerous tramways ran off into the nearby bush. These lines were used to bring the freshly cut timber to the rail head, and the associated sawmills of which there were 4 in Forrest and nearby Yaugher. All of these mills are now closed.
During the past few years the town has begun to grow again with an influx of people seeking more affordable blocks of land not that far away from the coastal resorts of Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek, Grey River, Kennet River and Lorne. These can be reached either by a pleasant drive on a sealed main road or by ex-timber blue metal roads. Advice should be sought before motoring on the backroads to Kennet River, Wye River and Grey River.
Fauna to be viewed on these drives include King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas, Grey Swamp Wallabies, Echidnas. Koalas have in the past been released into the Otways.