Photos by Fran Henke.
Hastings is 62km south of Melbourne and located on the Mornington Peninsula fronting the western shore of Western Port Bay, situated between Tyabb and Bittern.
Population: 8,865 (2011)
Hastings is the admininstrative centre of the Western Port area and its heavy industries include the Exxon-Mobil oil refinery and the BlueScope Steel plant which is one of Victoria’s largest manufacturing operations.
An attractive town, Hastings features a modern commercial centre which extends several blocks along High Street and right down to the Western Port foreshore. There are three major supermarkets and several shopping complexes including Westernport Central in High Street and the Kmart sore and specialty stores off Victoria Street.
Hastings’ extensive foreshore area consists of large and grassy open spaces, native bush and mangroves along the water’s edge. There are also several sporting facilities located on the foreshore including tennis courts, a bowling club and sports ovals. The Pelican Park Recreation Centre is situated on the waterfront and features an indoor heated lap pool, a gymnasium, spa and steam room and a kiosk. Next to Pelican Park is the historic Hastings Jetty which is a popular spot for fishing and boating activities.
One of the major attractions in Hastings is the Western Port Marina. Visitors enjoy use of the Marina’s attractive BBQ and picnic areas. For boating enthusiasts, permanent and casual berthing is available.
In 2004 Hastings was the overall winner of the Victorian Tidy Town Awards held by the Keep Australia Beautiful Network.
Hastings was the seat of the Hastings Shire, before this was merged into the Mornington Peninsula Shire, and still has many buildings associated with federal, state and local governments. It has the headquarters of the regional traffic police.
There is a modern library in the centre of town, outside of which is a statue of former resident and famous footballer, John Coleman. Other facilities include a public hall, and an modern aquatic centre.
A 3.5km walking rail and boardwalk connects the town to Jack’s Beach through an expanse of white mangrove.
Hasting’s overlooks the mangrove-fringed upper reaches of Western Port Bay, with views to French Island and the tiny Sandstone Island.
Established during the early 1850s as a fishing and farming community the industrial development from the 1960s including Esso and the BHP steel mill were based on its deep water harbour and are still active to this day.
The HMAS Otama is a decommissioned, British built submarine that was in service for 20 years and launched by Princess Anne in 1973. In 2002, the Otama arrived in Hastings after the town won a tender competing with 32 other towns – the plan was to raise the fully-functioning Otama out of the bay and place it in a built structure on the Hastings foreshore, turning it into a museum and tourist attraction. However, as the foreshore is Crown-owned land, the Otama is still sitting in Western Port Bay, awaiting its final destination.
Hastings is thought to be named after a fishing town in England or the British imperial administrator Warren Hastings.