In 1850, when the Catholics established a school there, the area was known as Point Henry, however it was renamed Curlewis after a local pioneer family (George Campbell Curlewis was a squatter and purchased land here in 1845). The Catholic School closed at the end of 1873 after refusing to lease the school to the new Education Department. A new school, Curlewis State School No. 1559 was built on the corner of Bawtree Road and opened in 1875, however low attendances forced its closure in 1880. In the meantime the Catholic School re-opened with much larger attendances – an indication of the size of the Catholic community in the area.
One of the parishioners was Anthony Devine – the children held picnics on his property Derry Hall.
Initially, a timber church stood next to the school on the Portarlington Road, however it was replaced by a Gothic style bluestone and brick structure – St. Francis Xavier Church is a noticeable landmark today in a seemingly low populated area.
Another Curlewis landmark which has long since disappeared was Christies Union Hotel which was located on the north side of the Portarlington Road between Christies and Bawtree Roads.
Septimus Lord Curlewis, stepbrother and trustee for the late George Campbell Curlewis, built Hermsley. Septimus looked after the family and property until George’s sons were old enough to take over in 1866. By the 1880s the Curlewises seemed to have run into financial difficulties as the property was offered in mortgagees sales.
Real estate & design
Curlewis has some of the best bay views in the Bellarine Peninsula district. Undulating land gives fine views across the bay and the shelly beach on the township’s foreshore. Housing development has kicked off in this area, but many residents still live on 2-5 acre blocks.
The suburb of Curlewis underwent significant growth in 2010 when the Curlewis Urban Growth Area began construction. This development includes Bayview on the Bellarine, Curlewis Parks, Baywater Estate, Bellaview Estate and Coriyule Estate. Over 650 lots have been developed to date in the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area. In the east of the suburb there is the new Percy Cherry Park, adjacent to Griggs Creek which flows past Clifton Springs Primary School into the bay.
Centennial Boulevard is home to the Curlewis shopping centre which features Woolworths, a medical centre, pharmacy and other shops. This is located within the Neighbourhood Activity Centre with a proposed total of 7000sqm of retail space, a community centre and childcare service.
Sports fitness & recreation
In 2016, Curlewis was honored to receive the inaugural “Australian Golf Digest Club Excellence Award” for contemporary and forward-thinking approach to golf.
The course measures 6,150 metres and is a challenging par 72. A challenge for players of all standards and a true test of golfing ability. The comfortable clubhouse offers a wide array of delicious, chef-prepared, dishes in the bistro, along with a renowned a la carte dinner menu every Friday and Saturday night. In late 2018, the next exciting phase began at Curlewis, with a state-of-the-art 18-bay driving range, teaching academy opening on site and Two tier Mini Golf course – The Range at Curlewis.
Railway once linked nearby Drysdale with Geelong now it is linked via a bus route which services much of the Peninsula.
Nearby Drysdale offers plenty for the history and heritage lover, the Queenscliff – Drysdale historic steam train is the town’s biggest attraction and much loved. This train travels frequently during the weekend, school holidays and busy periods of the year and is a great way to explore the Bellarine Peninsula. There are also regular blues trains where blues bands play in carriages along the journey.
The Drysdale market is one of the more popular of the things to do in Drysdale it is held on the third Sunday of the month between September and April on the local recreation reserve and is the best place to sample some of the regions beautiful fresh produce and buy some beautiful craft items made locally.
Another attraction well worthy of a visit is the Drysdale old Court house museum ran by the bellarine historical society where a wide assortment of artifacts, manuscripts, photographs and documents are on display showing some of the rich and interesting history of the area.
Resturants & cafes
A short drive up the road lies Bellarine (the town) and is home to many of the Peninsula’s best wineries including Scotchmans Hill, Kilgour Estate Winery and the Spray Farm just to name a few. Many have open cellars where you can try and buy and some even have gourmet cafes or restaurants. Small farms specailising in ’boutique’ stock like special breed sheep and specialty cattle even llamas or angora goats. While others are trying their hand at olives or organic fruits and vegetables.