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25.2 Barham River Lagoon

This information has been developed from the publications:

  • Sites of Geological and Geomorphological Significance in the Western Region of Melbourne (1986) by Neville Rosengren
  • Sites of Geological and Geomorphological Significance on the Coast of Port Phillip Bay (1988) by Neville Rosengren.
  • Sites of Geological and Geomorphological Significance in the Shire of Otway (1984) by Neville Rosengren.
Geological heritage sites, including sites of geomorphological interest and volcanic heritage sites, are under regular revision by the Geological Society of Australia, especially in the assessment of significance and values. Reference should be made to the most recent reports. See the Earth Science Heritage (external site) section of the Geological Society of Australia website for details of geological heritage reports, and a bibliography.

Location:25-315057. Apollo Bay - 500 metres south of sports ground.

Former lagoon (A), behind an old coastal barrier at Apollo Bay.
Great Ocean Road.


Private land (some Crown Land).


The Barham River has a short wide floodplain south of Apollo Bay with well defined terraced margins. Drilling into the Barham River sediments has shown over 60 metres of alluvial fill. This indicates the depth of river incision during low sea level episodes in the Pleistocene. The alluvial surface is now drained and cleared but near Mount Bay, there are lagoons which are abandoned tidal channel meanders. These developed during earlier Holocene times, before the Barham entrance was enclosed by the sand barrier spit that extends north from Marengo. The barrier also encloses a now dry lagoon, the inner edge of this being the degraded low bluff near the Apollo Bay landing ground.


State. These are the largest abandoned tidal meanders of any stream in Western Victoria. The sequence of barrier, lagoon, bluff, infilled estuary and meanders demonstrates a classic case of river infilling and modification by marine and estuarine processes.

Infilled estuary of the Barham River. Abandoned tidal

meanders (A), former lagoon (B), coastal barriers (C).
The town of Apollo Bay occupies several terrace levels.
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