Mallacoota, Victoria

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Mallacoota is a small town in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. At the 2016 census, Mallacoota had a population of 1,063. At holiday times, particularly Easter and Christmas, the population increases by about 8,000. 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 gravel runway for light planes and an asphalt runway for commercial planes flying from Melbourne.[2]

Mallacoota 1.jpg
Mallacoota is located in Shire of East Gippsland
Coordinates37°33′0″S 149°45′0″E / 37.55000°S 149.75000°E / -37.55000; 149.75000Coordinates: 37°33′0″S 149°45′0″E / 37.55000°S 149.75000°E / -37.55000; 149.75000
Population1,063 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation22 m (72 ft)
LGA(s)Shire of East Gippsland
State electorate(s)Gippsland East
Federal Division(s)Gippsland
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.3 °C
67 °F
10.7 °C
51 °F
939.4 mm
37 in
Mallacoota Camping Park
Mallacoota Lake sunset

It is a popular holiday spot for boating, fishing, walking the wilderness coast, swimming, birdwatching, and surfing.[citation needed] 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.


Prehistory the area was part of the territory of the Bidawal people. Shore-based whaling may have taken place in the area in 1841 under the direction of Captain John Stevenson.[3]

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[citation needed]. Mallacoota Post Office opened on 7 May 1894 and Mallacoota West in 1901. In 1928 Mallacoota West was renamed Mallacoota, and Mallacoota became Mallacoota East (closing in 1940).[4] 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-operative, was formed in 1967.

In December 2019, fires in the East Gippsland region had a "significant impact" on Mallacoota and the nearby town of Genoa.[5]


It is one of the most isolated towns in the state of Victoria, 25 kilometres off the Princes Highway and 523 kilometres (325 mi) and 6 hours from Melbourne. It is 526 kilometres (327 mi) and 7 hours from Sydney, New South Wales. It is halfway between Melbourne and Sydney when travelling via Princes Highway, though that is a long route between Australia's two main cities. 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.


Golfers play at the course of the Mallacoota Golf and Country Club on Nelson Drive.[6]

The Sydney Swans' 2005 premiership winning defender and former St Kilda player Sean Dempster hails from Mallacoota.[7]

Mallacoota has a soccer club called the Mallacoota Blues. The club ranging from junior age groups to senior age groups plays in the Far South Coast Football Association (FSCFA). Mallacoota is also the host to the annual Mallacoota Cup soccer tournament.

Whale watchings for migrating and residential species such as the endemic, endangered Burrunan dolphins, southern right whales, and humpback whales, are available on many locations along the coasts in their migration seasons.

Fishing competitions are also popular in the town of Mallacoota with many being held on weekends throughout the year.[citation needed] These weekends help to support individual businesses with the number of people that visit the small town.[citation needed]

2019-2020 bushfiresEdit

The cause On the night of 28 December, a lightning strike near Wigan River started a bushfire which burned overnight becoming 10-fold in size despite mild conditions and little wind. Four Country Fire Authority (CFA) strike teams were sent into the town to assist the local CFA and emergency services. The fire was burning south and with expected wind changes and catastrophic fire, conditions predicted it was expected that this fire would remain uncontrolled.

The Warnings Evacuation warnings were given to East Gippsland at 9 am on the 29 December resulting in over 30,000-holidaymakers exiting the East Gippsland region. Mallacoota and Cann River was excluded from the warnings. At 1300 on 29 December a "watch and act' notified residents it was too late to leave stranding thousands of holidaymakers after the Princes highway to Melbourne was closed. At 2034 on the 29/12/20 the roads were reopened but the Emergency warnings continued to advise stranded holidaymakers not to leave. The fire front grew quickly in intensity and overnight with a northeast wind behind it blew to the coast extending it to over 60km long. On 30 December at 11 am, local authorities alerted residents and visitors of the firefront and shelter plans. They estimated 10,000 people were present in the town. The advice was given that only the road to the North was open, despite the Princes highway being clear and open in both directions. The roads were officially closed 120 minutes after the meeting.

The Impact The 60km fire front and a southwest wind change pushed the fire through the Croajingolong National Park towards the town. An Emergency warning was given at 1800 30/12 for all to relocate to a safe evacuation location. This was the local Hall or the Wharf. Many boat owners launched their boarts into the water and sheltered out on the lake. It is reported that more than 50 boat owners with up to 300 people were on the lake on the evening of the 30/12. The town was evacuated towards the main wharf, and into the hall, directly east of Mallacoota Airport and stayed there for over 24 hours. At 1000 an unpredicted wind change resulted in large sections of the town being lost (Genoa road, Terra Nova and surrounding properties) with over 135 homes destroyed but the central areas of the town where people were sheltering were saved from the fire front. Despite the front not reaching the centre of town, many properties were damaged by ember attacks from the fire front.

Post Fires The initial impact of the fire left most survivors stunned. Despite the life-threatening threat passing the fires continued to burn in and around the town. On the late afternoon of the 31/1 people started to leave their shelters and return to their houses. Many areas of the town were cut-off from direct access due to active fires, including Mirrabooka Avenue and Lakeside Drive. In the early hours of the morning 1/1 a thick smoke engulfed the town resulting in a panicked community seeking medical assistance and evacuation. This resulted in over 200 medical presentations to the Medical Centre in a single day and stores of Ventolin inhalers being depleted.

The Evacuation On January 2 the Royal Australian Navy arrived in Mallacoots bringing a small supply of essential medical supplies and 8000 litres of diesel. on January 3 commenced the large civil evacuation due to hundreds of kilometres of the damaged road preventing access to Mallacoota and surrounding towns. Nearly 1000 people and pets were evacuated on the HMAS Choules with a 20 hour trip to Melbourne. Despite initial estimations, it is now clear that there was far less than the estimated people, with as few as 3000 people in the region at the time the fires hit. A further 450 people were evacuated by RAAF once visibility allowed for air evacuation.

On 5 January, the fires threatening Mallacoota were feared to have joined up with the Batemans Bay fires and were threatening the town of Eden, NSW. AS of January, 18 evacuated residents have not been able to return to Mallacoota.

Post Fires Roads for residents opened on the 18/2 to allow them to cross the border to NSW to buy supplies. As of 22/1 all roads into Mallacoota remain under control of the local police and non-residents are not allowed to enter.


Mallacoota has a subtropical climate (Cr) according to the Trewartha climate classification system or an oceanic climate (Cfb) according to Köppen system.

Climate data for Mallacoota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 42.0
Average high °C (°F) 24.0
Average low °C (°F) 15.4
Record low °C (°F) 6.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64.4
Average precipitation days 7.9 8.1 9.0 10.2 11.8 13.4 12.3 11.5 12.5 11.6 10.9 9.0 128.2
Average relative humidity (%) 66 69 66 67 68 69 65 63 64 65 65 66 66
Source: [8]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Mallacoota (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 January 2018.  
  2. ^ YMCO – Mallacoota (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 15 August 2019, Aeronautical Chart
  3. ^ Susan Chamberlain, Sealing, whaling & early settlement of Victoria; An annotated bibliography of historical sources, Victorian Archaeological Survey & the Department of Conservation & Environment, Melbourne, 1989, pp. 10, 14.
  4. ^ Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
  5. ^
  6. ^ Golf Select, Mallacoota, retrieved 11 May 2009
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Climate Statistics For Mallacoota". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. May 2011.

External linksEdit