Bellarine Historical Society Inc

...preserving the history of the Bellarine Peninsula

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The township of Leopold [formerly known as Kensington] is built on a hill overlooking Lake Connewarre.

Lake Connewarre

Lake Connewarre - from McCorkell's Reserve, Brinsmeads Lane, Leopold.
[Photograph #676 : The Bellarine Historical Society photograph collection]


Leopold was originally called Kensington and was established in 1852 after other small subdivisions had failed.

Initially, buildings were of wattle and daub, and perhaps a tent. Later there were paling houses with wooden shingles on the roof.

Kensington's proximity to Point Henry helped the settlement - others settlers were people who had been to the Ballarat diggings and returned to buy small farms.

Schools were quickly established with a church school opened in 1854 on the present St Marks site.

The first church services were held in pioneer's homes - Brinsmead's on Lake Connewarre on the road that now bears their name (all denominations took part), and a Primitive Methodist service in Melaluka Road on the Barker's property.

In 1885, Kensington was described as a good fruit growing area with a population of 100 people living within a mile of the Post Office. It was around that time that the name was changed to Leopold to stop confusion with Kensington in Melbourne.

By that time, Leopold had a Free Library (established 1882), a Temperance Hall, pound, 2 churches, school and brass band.

Early postal activities were conducted from early shops in the area. There was also a hotel (Help me through the World) on the Portarlington Road, and the Union Hotel, also on the same road.

[From Myrtle Filbay, President, Bellarine Historical Society]

Record Sources for Leopold

  • Photographs : Bellarine Historical Society; Geelong Historical Records Centre; various private collections.
  • Maps & Plans : Bellarine Historical Society; Geelong Historical Records Centre.
  • Newspapers : Geelong Advertiser Indexes - Bellarine Historical Society & Geelong Historical Records Centre; Geelong Advertiser on microfilm - Geelong Historical Records Centre; various local newspapers - Bellarine Historical Society.
  • Miscellaneous Documents & Advertisements : Bellarine Historical Society; Geelong Historical Records Centre; various private collections.
  • Bellarine Shire Council Records : Geelong Historical Records Centre.
  • More recent Council Records : City of Greater Geelong.
  • Cemetery Records : (Leopold/Kensington Cemetery) Bellarine Historical Society; Geelong Historical Records Centre.
  • Land Records : Registrar of Titles, Melbourne; Bellarine Historical Society; Geelong Historical Records Centre.


Brownhill, Geo. H. Illustrated Guide to Geelong And District, Facsimile edn., Deakin University Press, Geelong, 1990.

Campbell, A. J. Tourist Guide to Geelong and Southern Watering Places, Henry Thacker, Geelong, 1893.

Wynd, Ian. Balla-wein : A history of the Shire of Bellarine, Shire of Bellarine, Drysdale, 1988.

Wynd, Ian. Geelong The Pivot : A Short History of Geelong and District, Cypress Books, Mont Albert North, 1971.

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 May 2009 21:05  

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