Small rural coastal service centre
Heywood is a small service centre on the Fitzroy
River. It is situated at an elevation of 27
metres amidst rolling green hills in an
agricultural, pastoral and timbercutting
district. Heywood is 357 km west of Melbourne at
the intersection of the Princes and Henty
There are a number of attractions in the
general area, including Mt Eccles National Park
(see entry on Macarthur, on ), Discovery Bay
National Park, Cape Nelson State Park, Mt
Richmond National Park (for the latter three see
entry on Portland) and the Lower Glenelg
National Park (see entry on Nelson). Lake Condah
Aboriginal Mission, 25 km north-east of town,
affords valuable insight into the history of
Victoria's indigenous people while the coast is
only 25 km to the south.
Prior to European settlement the area was
occupied by the Kuurn Kopan Noot Aborigines.
David Edgar built the Bush Tavern on the
townsite in 1842. A settlement emerged.
Initially known as Edgar's it was surveyed in
1852 by Lindsay Clarke who named it after
Heywood in England. The first town allotments
were sold in 1854.
Since the outset of European settlement the
local forests have been exploited and much has
been selected, cleared logged or burned.
Nonetheless there are still substantial areas of
forest including plantations. The local forests
tend to be rich in fauna and flora and are
traversed by good all-weather roads which tend
to be well-signposted. Numerous picnic areas
have been established.
The Wood, Wine and Roses Festival is held in
Things to see:
There is a tourist information centre at
Portland, tel: (03) 5523 2671 or free-call
(1800) 035 567.
Bower Bird's Nest Museum
Located at a property known as 'The Trees',
which is signposted 3km off the Princes Highway,
the Bower Bird's Nest Museum promotes itself as
'weird, wild and wonderful'. Vanda, who owns and
runs this huge museum, is a remarkable person.
Her interests include Celtic mythology and
specifically an area known as wicca. She sees
herself as a painter and sculptor as well as a
historian and collector. Over the years she has
carefully developed literally hundreds of
thematically arranged exhibitions which she
displays in the 30 rooms of the house as well as
a number of outbuildings. She has collected
material from over 40 christian denominations
which she displays in the oldest church in the
Portland district (it dates from the 1850s) as
well as other buildings. Of particular interest
is a 19th century portable gaol. Around the
museum are some outstanding gardens which
include trees Vanda has planted and a number of
her sculptures. The museum is open daily during
daylight hours and there is an admission charge
with group concessions, tel: (03) 5527 1660.
Crawford River Winery
Head north-east of Heywood along the Henty
Highway for 21 km to Condah then turn left into
Hotspur Rd and it is 8 km to the Crawford River
Winery (it is signposted from Condah).
Established in 1975 the winery produces a
riesling, a semillon/sauvignon blanc, a cabernet
sauvignon, a cabernet/merlot and a dessert wine.
It is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily
but it is advisable to ring as this is a working
farm, tel: (03) 5578 2267.
Jackass Ferntree Gully Picnic Area
Jackass Ferntree Gully Picnic Area is located 31
km north-west of Heywood at the headwaters of
the Fitzroy River. In the early days of European
settlement it was a crossing site and a watering
place for bullock teams hauling logs from the
forest. There are a number of fern types. To get
there head north-west of Heywood along the
Princes Highway for about 23 km. Just beyond
Lyons turn left into the T & W Road (it should
be signposted). Cross the railway line and when
you come to what is essentially a Y-intersection
with Bag Gate Road veer left and head down past
the pine plantations. Continue straight ahead
past the turnoffs into Survey Swamp Road and
Inkpot Road and you should see a sign to the
right for the picnic area. If you reach the Mt
Deception Road intersection you've gone too far.
For further information ring the Department of
Natural Resources and Environment, tel: (03)
Crawford River Regional Park
Crawford River Regional Park is a reserve based
around the Crawford River valley, north of
Heywood and just west of Hotspur. This is not a
well-known spot and thus tends to be pretty
quiet. There's plenty of animal life, including
grey kangaroos and red-necked wallabies in the
dry forest, and birds such as emus, white
cockatoos, galahs, yellow-tailed thornbills,
ground thrushes and southern red robins.
The eastern part of the park is signposted
from Hotspur. To access the western section head
north-west of Heywood along the Princes Highway
for about 22 km and turn right into Cowlands Rd.
It is almost opposite the T & W Road turnoff
(see previous entry) but about 50 metres back
towards Heywood. Follow Cowlands Rd to the
T-intersection (caravans and trailers are not
permitted along this road due to the steep
gradients) and turn right into Big Hill Rd. This
leads to Hiscocks Crossing Picnic Area and
Camping Ground. Just near Hiscocks Crossing is a
turnoff into the Boulevarde Scenic Drive which
pursues the northern riverbank through treefern
gullies. It eventually comes out at Hotspur.
Fishing is popular along the river. For further
information ring the Department of Natural
Resources and Environment, tel: (03) 5527 1302.
Surrey Ridge Picnic Area
Travel south on the Portland Rd and just before
reaching the Surrey River bridge turn right down
Coffeys Lane (it should be signposted for Surrey
Ridge). After about 5 km it reaches a
T-intersection. Turn left into Jacky Swamp Rd.
Continue along to the next T-intersection and
turn right onto Cutout Dam Road. It is
signposted about 3 or 4 km along this road. The
picnic area is situated amid messmate forest on
a bend in the Surrey River. There are facilities
and two walks through river vegetation,
blackwood, manna gums, ferns, rushes, sedges,
taller flowering shrubs and Australian clematis.
Ring the Discovery Centre for more details. For
further information ring the Department of
Natural Resources and Environment, tel: (03)
Also on the Portland Rd is Bolwarra Berries
Strawberry Farm. Pick your own from October to
April, tel: (03) 5523 1834.