Breamlea has been a special destination for over 40,000 years. Before European settlement it is told that the local tribe, the Wathaurong, migrated down Thompsons Creek (formally Bream Creek) during summer to harvest food from the sea.
It is believed that William Buckley lived near this area for some time in the early 1800s. In 1891 the SS Bancoora ran aground off Buckleys Beach and all the crew came ashore and camped in the dunes.
By the early 1900s, Thompsons Creek had become a summer camping place for people of Geelong and by the 1920s campers were constructing makeshift huts from a range of materials including timber washed up on the beach. During the depression of the 1930s these huts became home to a number of people who could no longer afford rent in Geelong.
In 1942 the Surveyor General sub-divided the land at Breamlea for sale at public auction and included a Recreation Reserve of 5 acres (today known as Breamlea Recreation Reserve) and a Municipal Reserve (Cahir Park).
The township has seen the development of a Surf Life Saving Club and a Caravan Park. Breamlea now has just over 100 houses nestled in the shelter of spectacular sand dunes between the coast and the unique saltmarsh and estuarine environment of Thompsons Creek.
The story goes that, at the time that Shire of South Barwon decided to formalise the roads in Breamlea, they sent a bulldozer driver with a copy of the roads survey and instructions to straighten the roads. When the bulldozer driver got to Breamlea he discovered to his horror that straightening the roads meant, in some instances, putting his bulldozer through people’s front gardens. Thankfully, he listened to his heart and not his head and followed the existing tracks instead. His kind heart gave us one of our greatest landscape features - winding, organic roads.
Breamlea contains many significant plants. Of particular interest is the occurrence of Moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata ssp lanceolata) trees in Breamlea. As a result of clearing and other pressures brought on by development Moonah woodlands are now much reduced from their former distribution. Moonah Coastal Woodlands are a listed community under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). In order to monitor Moonah trees, a study was commissioned by the Breamlea Association and the City of Greater Geelong in 2004. This documents the distribution, age, health, ecosystem quantity and land tenure of the remnant Moonah within the Breamlea area.
The community is very active and aware of Breamlea’s unique environmental values and this led to the establishment of the ‘Breamlea Association’ which is a group that meets regularly to plan activities and discuss issues.
There is a great deal of open space in Breamlea, primarily to protect areas of environmental significance, such as wetlands, sand dunes and saltmarsh. Areas such as the Recreation Reserve are excellent places to undertake outdoor activities such as walking the dog and family cricket or utilising the picnic facilities for a barbeque lunch.