Focus on Balnarring

Balnarring is a town situated on the Mornington Peninsula, approximately a one hour and 15-minute drive from Melbourne. The Aboriginal meaning for Balnarring is ‘camp in open places’.

The population of Balnarring area in 2021 was 5149 (including Balnarring, Merricks, and Somers).

The median house price for Balnarring is $1,375.000 and the median rent is $775 per week.

Balnarring Beach, also known as Tulum Beach, lies at the mouth of Merricks Creek and overlooks Phillip Island. Racehorses are trained on the beach early in the morning six days a week.

From 1857 onwards, the Government created a number of Land Acts designed to open the land, offering blocks to small-scale farmers. The Parish of Balnarring was surveyed in 1865, as part of the “Agricultural Area of Mount McMahon”. Most of the selectors were orchardists although dairy farmers also took an interest in the area. In the 1920s, the construction of cool stores at Red Hill increased their ability to trade their produce further afield.

The formation of the Balnarring village came with the opening of the post office in 1866, a school in 1871, and a church in 1881.

On 23 August 1899, the Balnarring Mechanics’ Institute was opened by the Hon. F.S. Grimwade (MLC North Yarra, 1891–1904). It was a timber hall, used as a community hall and social centre by the community until the 1960s. A new hall was built in 1969. In 1970 the Mechanics’ Institute building burned down, and in 1979 a reserve was declared in its original location.

Just to the east of Balnarring on the coast in neighbouring Somers are the Coolart Wetlands. This nature reserve surrounds the historical Coolart Homestead which was built in 1895 and includes a lagoon where thousands of Australian white ibis nest every year, plus attractive picnic and BBQ areas.

The Balbirooroo Community Wetlands border the commercial centre, and include a lagoon and walking trails.

Balnarring Beach holds the award for the “Cleanest Beach in Victoria” from the Keep Australia Beautiful committee.

In 1924, the Harley Davidson Motor Cycle Club built a clubhouse at the beach and it is still there today. The club members met at the Cheero Tearooms at Balnarring presumably after they had been beach racing at Balnarring Beach. The local council prohibited beach racing around 1930, so the club members then used Bob and Frank Myers property (who were local members) for racing. In 1926 Milledge Bros. Pty Ltd of Elizabeth St Melbourne purchased 2 lots of land from the Balnarring Beach Estate for the use of the Harley Club. Milledge Bros. were the importers of Harley Davidsons at the time. Club rooms were built on this land and were opened in December 1928. From 1930 until the mid-1950s Mr. K.J. Rattray Wood of East Brunswick was listed as the owner of the land and he rented it to the Harley Club. Today, although the board over the gate still says ‘The Harley Club’ the house is privately owned. This is certainly an unusual piece of Mornington Peninsula’s history.

Coffee Safari

Freshly brewed coffee is a must-have for weekends. Here are a few places to check out when you’re in this beautiful part of the world.

Phase Two

Shop 11, Balnarring Village
3050 Frankston-Flinders Road

With a flavourful all-day menu, locally roasted coffee and friendly service, this cafe has become a firm favourite in Balnarring Village and is loved by locals and weekend visitors alike.

Village People Balnarring

SHOP 15, Balnarring Village
3050 Frankston-Flinders Road

A great spot to chill out for breakfast with excellent coffee and vegan options available. An outdoor seating area under the trees is also available.

Asher’s Bakery Cafe

Shop 9, Balnarring Village
3050 Frankston-Flinders Road

A casual space serving amazing coffee and excellent pastries.

The Red Hill Baker

1/3000 Frankston – Flinders Road

More than just a bakery, this bustling cafe also stocks a variety of deli items, take-home meals and gourmet food products. You can also enjoy live music on Sunday afternoons.

Photography: Yanni

Peninsula Essence – January 2024