In 1869, American Methodists established a permanent religious camp community on the coast at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, in the United States of America. It was so successful that they decided to spread their camps overseas, including to Australia. Following a collaboration with the Victorian Methodists, an initial camp was set up near Point Lonsdale. By 1882 they needed to acquire a larger area, so they could establish their Australian Ocean Grove community.
In 1887, Charles James and James Grigg purchased, surveyed and subdivided land into 2,500 blocks bearing the covenant "no part of the above Land shall be used for the Manufacture or Sale of Malted Spirituous, or Vinous Liquors". Due to this covenant, no bars or public houses could sell liquor within the town limits. The Ocean Grove Coffee Palace was built for the Methodist and Temperance Society, the first church service was held on 1 January 1888, and the population was such that a post office opened on 14 September 1888.
Many streets were named after important people in the Methodist community, while the local youth camp was run by the Methodist (later Uniting) Church from the 1920s until 1996.
Collendina is a small section of Ocean Grove. When the town of Ocean Grove was established it was a Methodist town, and it was the ruling of the Methodists that it would remain a dry town. Because Ocean Grove was free of alcohol outlets, the town of Collendina grew up around the Collendina pub and caravan park just outside the Ocean Grove boundary. Eventually the two towns merged to form one urban area. The prohibition was officially lifted in Ocean Grove in 2006, although many cafes and restaurants were already beginning to serve alcoholic drinks.
Now the largest town on the Bellarine Peninsula, Ocean Grove has the largest shopping centre on the peninsula. Only a few blocks from the beach, it is popular with tourists and locals alike. In 2005 a new shopping centre was built in the Collendina area, allowing the locals to shop at both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.
Ocean Grove has a resident population of about 12,000 which, during the school summer holidays, swells to four times this number as tourists from Melbourne, Geelong, interstate, and overseas flock in. The area offers surf beaches, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, bushwalking and other outdoor activities. The Ocean Grove Nature Reserve preserves some remnant native woodland and contains walking tracks.
Significant infrastructure development in Ocean Grove during 2008-2009 has resulted in two soccer pitches, indoor swimming complex complete with a 25m pool and a four-star Skate Park with Bowl suitable for boards, blades and bikes. A Target Country Store was opened in October 2009 as part of a mini-mall, featuring Gloria Jeans. Upgrades to the 'Grubbers' Football clubrooms are scheduled for 2009.
While tourism makes the largest contribution to the local economy, during the slower months a larger proportion of local income is derived from orchards, fruit and vegetable growers, and the local wineries.
One of the local newspapers is the Ocean Grove Voice.
In December 2019 the Kingston Village shopping complex located on Grubb Road opened to the public. It is the biggest shopping complex on the peninsula, housing a McDonald's, Woolworths, Dan Murphy's, Aldi, Caltex petrol station, Zack's dog bath and a Bakers Delight alongside numerous eateries and specialty stores.
The Surfside Waves Soccer Club competes in the Geelong Regional Football Association.
Golfers play at the course of the Ocean Grove Golf Club on Guthridge Street.
The town hosts a Bi-annual Geelong gaming competition with teams from around the greater Geelong region competing for a minor cash prize and qualification for the state competition held in Broadmeadows.
Other Sports: Shell Road Complex & Surrounds
- Indoor Volleyball
- Indoor Basketball
- Indoor Soccer (during summer)
- Indoor Basketball
- Indoor Netball
- Indoor equestrian
- Outdoor Paintball
- Ping Pong League
- Competitive E-Sports
There are also two tennis clubs with modern facilities - Ocean Grove Tennis Club - Madeley St and Surfside Tennis Club - Shell Road (next to the new aquatic and sports centre).
Ocean Grove was featured in the 2006 film Kenny, while the bridge between Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads featured in the popular ABC television show SeaChange. The town is also the home town of fishing personality Ross Gould.
The band The Murlocs formed in Ocean Grove.
The band Ocean Grove is named after the town.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Ocean Grove (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- "Ocean Grove | Victorian Places".
- Phoenix Auctions History, Post Office List, retrieved 29 January 2021
- "Ocean Grove | Victorian Places".
- Begg, Peter (13 March 2014). "VCAT rules Ocean Grove booze ban no longer enforceable". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
- Mckay, Mark (1999). On Tap: A Calvacade of Trivia and Tall Stories Celebrating 200 Years of the Australian Pub. Wakefield Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-86254-473-4.
- Full Points Footy, Ocean Grove, archived from the original on 16 May 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
- Surfside Waves, Ocean Grove, retrieved 6 July 2009
- Golf Select, Ocean Grove, retrieved 11 May 2009
- Bellarine Historical Society: History of Ocean Grove
- Great Ocean Rd info
- Ocean Grove Voice newspaper
- Ocean Grove Business Association
Towns on the Bellarine Peninsula
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