Koroit is a small rural town in western Victoria, Australia a few kilometres North of the Princes Highway, 18 km North-West of Warrnambool and 278 km West of Melbourne. It is in the Moyne Shire local government area located amidst rolling green pastures on the North rim of Tower Hill. At the 2001 census, Koroit had a population of 1,380. Early settlement from Ireland has given Koroit a fascinating Irish charm.
Prior to European settlement the Koroit area was a rich source of foods for the Koroitch Gundidj people, whose descendants retain special links with the area.
The first European knowledge of the area is the confirmed sighting of Tower Hill by French explorers sailing with Captain Nicolas Baudin aboard Le Géographe in 1802. The first European settler came to the Koroit area in 1837. A large number of Irish immigrants made Koroit their home in the 1840s and 1850s. The township of Koroit was surveyed and the first town allotments were sold in 1857. One of the strongest and most obvious links between Koroit and Ireland are the potato crops grown in the rich volcanic soil surrounding the town. Eight sites in Koroit are listed in the Register of the National Estate.
Koroit was originally part of the Shire of Belfast (Belfast being the prior name of today’s Port Fairy). In the latter part of the 19th century, the township of Koroit separated from the Shire of Belfast and formed the Borough of Koroit. In November 1870, after the proclamation of the Borough of Koroit on October 7, 1870, nine new councillors were elected from fourteen candidates. On December 10, 1870, the new Borough of Koroit elected its first mayor. In 1985, the Borough of Koroit merged with the Shire of Warrnambool and was incorporated into the Moyne Shire in 1994.
The author Henry Handel Richardson lived in the Koroit Post Office as a child after her family moved to Koroit in 1878. Remembering Koroit from her youth, the third volume in her The Fortunes of Richard Mahony trilogy is set in the town.