Anakie, Victoria

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Anakie, a rural village on a road between Geelong and Bacchus Marsh, is 35 km. north-north-west of Geelong and 80 km. west of Melbourne. It is in the foothills of the Brisbane Ranges, which contain three hills known as the Anakies, as well as Mount Anakie. It is thought that Anakie is derived from the Aboriginal worlds Anakie Youang, meaning little hill.

The area was occupied by Frederick Griffin's Anakie pastoral run from 1842, south of the Anakie hills. Some of Griffin's land on Anakie Creek was subdivided and sold in the early 1850s, becoming the site of the village. In 1858 and 1859 Wesleyan and Catholic schools were opened. In 1865 Anakie had a hotel, post office, Presbyterian church, and two schools. The State school replaced them in 1877. A Catholic church was built in 1871 and Anglican church in 1891. The Anakie and Staughton Vale mechanics' institute building was opened in Anakie in 1906.

The district's small holdings were insufficient for some farmers to make a living, and consolidations resulted in a loss of population. (The land is not as suitable for agriculture as the river valleys further south, and grazing now predominates.)

The village has a general store, recreation reserve, auto repair shops, fire brigade and about forty houses. A brickworks was opened in 1960. Anakie is more widely known for the Anakie Gorge scenic reserve, in the Brisbane Ranges and for the children's attraction, Fairy Park. The Presbyterian Church and homestead, "Narada", are on the Register of the National Estate. Narada's owner, John Browne, was a prominent contributor to the church's building fund.

Smaller villages in the Anakie district include Staughton Vale to the north and Balliang to the north-east. There is a vineyard at Staughton Vale, as well as the Mount Anakie winery 4 km. north of Anakie.

Anakie had census populations of 212 (1911), 259 (1933) and 283 (1961). It had estimated populations of about 500 (1865) and 124 (1995).

Further Reading:

"Anakie State School 1910 Centenary, 1877-1977", School Centenary and Back-to-Anakie Committee, 1977.

"Anakie Structure Plan 1995", Public Discussion Document, City of Greater Geelong, 1995.

Wynd, Ian, "So Fine and Country: A History of the Shire of Corio", Shire of Corio, 1981.

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