Growing Winchelsea Inc. is an advocacy and leadership group which facilitates and promotes business and community development throughout the Winchelsea Ward of the Surf Coast Shire. Volunteer community leaders help provide the town with a united voice.

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Winchelsea Arboretum / Tree Trail Project















In February 2020, a group of passionate community members submitted a community proposal to the Surf Coast Shire Council. The proposal outlined a vision to develop a ‘modern arboretum trail’ or ‘tree walk’ in and around the Winchelsea township area.


An arboretum is a collection of trees, often on a large scale and within the one site. Whilst Winchelsea may not have one large vacant space to develop as an arboretum, it was recognised that there are a number of existing sites with remarkable trees and other vacant sites where a range of interesting trees (including indigenous, native and exotic) could be planted. These areas throughout Winchelsea would become ‘mini arboreta’ and could be connected by beautiful ‘treed’ avenues and trails. This township beautification project would provide enjoyment for residents and would likely attract new residents and many visitors to the Winchelsea township.


From the town’s existing base of significant trees and trails, planning has commenced on the identification of potential sites for further tree planting and determining the missing trail links. Potential sites for planting include appropriate vacant spaces, selected nature strips and entry roadway points to Winchelsea. Recent networking undertaken with a range of community groups, private organisations and government agencies, has identified opportunities for a strategic and collaborative approach to tree planting in our town and surrounds. The common goal is to create inviting, attractive, appealing, useful, sustainable and cool spaces.


The expected community and township benefits and the outcomes resulting from this tree planting and trail development project include:

  • enhancing the health and wellbeing of residents, creating cooler streetscapes and enjoyable walking / cycling routes around town;

  • providing an opportunity for the community to learn more about trees and potentially develop a greater appreciation and connection to our environment

  • enhancing the identity of Winchelsea, adding to the town’s appeal and interest;

  • establishing Winchelsea as a destination, inviting and attracting visitors to "walk or ride the Arboretum Trail”, to stay for a while and spend some money in the town; 

  • creating attractive surrounds to complement local events and potential to create a new feature event in Autumn to showcase the colours and beauty of the town


In December 2020, the Surf Coast Shire Council endorsed the feasibility of a $270,000 first stage of this community initiated Arboretum Trail project. Various sources of potential funding are currently being explored.


For more information please get in touch using the Contact page on this website.


RV Friendly Winchelsea

​Growing Winchelsea developed an RV Friendly submission and worked with the council until after the riverbank below the swimming pool opened. If you would like to know more about RV Friendly Camping in Winchelsea, please click here.  


Partnership with Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism (GORRT) led to the development of a website including the I Am Winchelsea website. After several workshops, Winchelsea is now included with their own tourism page, which you can find here

Community Noticeboard


Working in partnerships grows more fruitful outcomes. Observing that the noticeboard needed upgrading, Growing Winchelsea applied to the Bendigo Community Bank for funds that enabled the purchase of a brand new lockable and weatherproof noticeboard. This is now managed by volunteers of four different community groups. Along with this generous grant, an application was made to assist with payment of storage for accumulated community assets which had been scattered in farm sheds. These items include Christmas decorations, the market trailer with outdoor seating and art display frames for public use. 

Adventure Playground and River Walk

An outsourced project, run by the Surf Coast Shire, engaged with the community to identify a vision for Winchelsea's future growth, both short and long term.  This resulted in the 'Shaping Future Growth Report 2015', which is an active working document for the Surf Coast Shire, and a reference document for Growing Winchelsea. 

The report outlined the importance of an adventure playground. We helped identify a playground destined for Beal Court could be better positioned within the town. The main playground in Barwon Terrace was refurbished in 2020 and has been very popular with local and visitors alike.  

Footpaths continue to be on the drawing board, looking at how they might be improved and where they might be required. With the full circuit of Barwon River inaccessible to foot traffic, this was another positive to come out of the report. Growing Winchelsea continues to keep this vision alive. 


Traffic Management Planning

Negotiating with council, Growing Winchelsea helped draw attention to the need for  improved road access and parking at the Barwon Terrace & Willis Street Corner. We successfully applied for a budget of $199,000 for traffic management in this area.

Town Beautification

Another major project coming from the 'Shaping Future Growth Report' was town beautification and recently we have seen an upgrade of the streetscape with new furniture, footpath and bins, and more to follow. 

Sporting Precinct

Growing Winchelsea is continuing to lobby Surf Coast Shire for the purchase of a second oval in the sporting precinct, identifying the land at the corner of Stephenson and Witcombe Streets. 


At the Public meeting organized by Growing Winchelsea in October, there was an announcement from the Shire that the land had been purchase and progress can now be made for development of the sporting precinct.  


Recognition of Veterans

With the increased interest in the community attending Anzac Day services, assistance was required for catering and morning tea. We successfully achieved a grant for continued funding for catering. Town beautification included Anzac Park, where the World War 1 cairn was completed. We have supported the Surf Coast Shire with a letter to State and Federal governments for funding for the remaining two cairns. 

Forums & Fundraisers

​​Early this year, a forum was held by Growing Winchelsea identifying the issues of elderly people as they require more assistance in maintaining a mobile and independent lifestyle. This was wonderfully successful, resulting in partnerships with Surf Coast Shire, the Bendigo Community Bank, Winchelsea Star, The Lions Club and Hesse Rural Health

​In 2016, Shutting the Gate was a response to concerns about the potential development of coal seam gas extraction in the district. Growing Winchelsea presented a forum with Jon Faine as MC and five speakers. 300 people packed the Eastern Reserve Hub to hear the reasons for and against the proposals. 

​The Eastern Reserve Community Bank Room also came to life at a fundraising dinner with Greg Champion of the Coodabeens where 150 enjoyed the night. 

Public Meeting

Following concern in the community regarding land identified in the Future Growth Report  for a proposed school site, was being sold to developers, Growing Winchelsea organized a Public meeting in October 2018. Guest speakers included Richard Riordan MP for Polwarth, Simon O’Brien Principal Winchelsea Primary School and three officers from Planning Department of Surf Coast Shire.

Questions were not restricted to the future of the school but remained relevant to the town and planning department. The meeting was hugely successful with 130 people in attendance. Requests for more sessions like this were noted.

Movie Club

​Following the success of the Dressmaker exhibition at Barwon Park and the showing of the film, a movie club was set up by Growing Winchelsea. It is membership based and ten movies are shown every year. Everyone is invited to join. Enquiries at



Winchelsea Historical Society and Growing Winchelsea partnered with the Wathaurong, presenting Koenig Aboriginal artefacts to the community. These artefacts need a home, and are currently in safekeeping with the society. ​

Town Entry Sculptures


VicRoads and Surf Coast Shire donated money to Winchelsea during the major roadworks for town entry sculptures. Sculptures are now in place on the East end and soon to be installed on the west town entry. The phragmites reed found in the Barwon River was the inspiration of the artists when designing the brightly colored town entrance sculptures.

Child Care

In 1978, a Winchelsea Strategy plan identified a need for child care in the town. Over the last ten years, Hesse Rural Health, Winchelsea Community Bank, Growing Winchelsea and Surf Coast Shire have been in discussions to develop community child care. In 2018, a private developer was approved by Surf Coast Shire to build a centre. This centre was opened earlier this year, 2019.



With markets becoming the place to go on a Sunday and Winchelsea now having magnificent bluestone pedestrian bridge, it was the obvious location for the Makers and Growers Market.

This will be run during the First Sunday of each month September to April (except January) from 9-1 pm.  For information email

Restoration of the Common


Surf Coast Shire developed the Regional Trader Group Collaboration, of which Growing Winchelsea have representatives attending regularly with other community groups from the Shire. 

​The Department of Land, Water and Planning approached Growing Winchelsea prior to the closure of the Common and the current restoration of the landscape to a more natural state.


These and many other projects can be attributed to interested community volunteers who are members of Growing Winchelsea Inc. Membership is free. You are invited to attend any meetings on the second Wednesday of every month, 7.30 pm at the Hub. 

​For further information, or if you have items for agenda, please contact the secretary of Growing Winchelsea here.