Mallacoota is a small town in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. About 300 families live there permanently, a population of approximately 980, while at holiday times, particularly Easter and Christmas, the population increases by about 8,000. It is one of the most isolated towns in the state of Victoria, 25 kilometres off the Princes Highway and 427 kilometres from Melbourne. It is the last official township on Victoria’s east coast before the border with New South Wales. Mallacoota has a regional airport (Mallacoota Airport) YMCO (XMC) consisting of a grassed field for private light planes.
It is known for its wild flowers, abalone industry, the inlet estuary consisting of Top Lake and Bottom Lake, and Croajingolong National Park that surround it. It is a popular holiday spot for boating, fishing, walking the wilderness coast, swimming, birdwatching, and surfing. The Mallacoota Arts Council runs events throughout each year. Mallacoota Inlet is one of the main villages along the wilderness coast walk from NSW to Victoria, Australia.
Mallacoota’s main surfing beach, Bastion Point, has one of its best learning breaks and natural beauty under threat. There is some dissention and protest about this plan. There have been concerts in Melbourne by bands that have played in Mallacoota to try to preserve Mallacoota’s scenery. Tracks, an Australian surfing magazine, had a one page article on efforts to save this spot.
Prehistory, the area was part of the territory of the Bidawal people. Settlers started to arrive in the 1830s. A small timber lighthouse was installed on nearby Gabo Island in 1854, and the existing granite lighthouse was completed in 1862. By the 1880s commercial fishing was well established, with some catch being shipped south to Melbourne. At the same time the first tourists started to arrive. Gold was discovered in 1894, after which the Spotted Dog Mine operated for three years. A satellite airfield was constructed during World War II for the purpose of coastal defence. During the 20th century the logging, farming and fishing industries in the area declined, and the tourism and abalone industries grew. The town’s largest employer, the abalone co-op, was formed in 1967.