The name of the town comes from the local Aboriginal Australian name for a nearby volcanic cone and can be interpreted in a number of ways.
The most popular translations include, “land between two rivers,” “two swamps,” and, “ample water.” The first European settlers arrived in the 1840s to the Lady Bay area.
The town was surveyed in 1846 and was established soon thereafter. Warrnambool became a boom town during the Victorian Gold Rush and grew rapidly in the 1850s.
The town benefited greatly from the ownership of nearby Port Fairy, which also underwent a similar boom during this time.
Like Port Fairy, Warrnambool maintains much of its old maritime tradition and visitors can learn all about it at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum.
This fascinating museum holds the original lighthouses and the Warrnambool Garrison. The museum also contains artifacts from the Loch Ard wreckage.
Winner of the the Victorian Tourism Award for Tourist Attraction, the Flagstaff hill Maritime Museum contains an extensive collection of shipwreck and maritime artifacts, thus making it the perfect stop for a maritime enthusiast or a history enthusiast.
Warrnambool – Activities
The town is home to a number of events, both cultural and athletic. Every year at the end of June/start of July, Warrnambool is the home to the Fun4Kids festival.
As its name suggests, the festival is targeted at young children providing them with a variety of activities.
The festival is held at the Lighthouse Theatre.
The Wunta Fiesta is a festival held in Warrnambool held during the first weekend in February.
It is one of southwest Victoria’s premier major community festivals. While the main attraction to the festival is music, it offers a wide range of entertainment suitable for all ages.
If you are an sport enthusiast, this town is the place for you. The town is home to the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic, which attracts an international array of drivers over the Australia Day long weekend.
The town is the finishing point to the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic bicycle race, which is the longest one day bicycle endurance race in the world and the world’s second oldest bike race.
Warrnambool also has a horse racing club, the Premier Speedway, which is a 410 m dirt oval track, three Australian Rules Football teams, and an 18 hole public golf course.