Winchelsea is a rural town by the banks of the picturesque Barwon River, 37km southwest of Geelong on the Princes Highway and almost exactly halfway between Geelong and Colac. Significant bluestone homesteads and woolsheds such as Barwon Park Mansion, Wormbete and Ingleby, reflecting status and success from early squatting days, are in the vicinity. The township was formed in the early 1850's to service the growing population of settlers, farmers and those travelling to districts in the further southwest of the colony.
Winchelsea is the first township encountered on the journey to the Colac-Otway region, and the inland route to the Great Ocean Road and the Surf Coast. As a result, there is a growth in tourism in the area. Local businesses include a Bendigo Community Bank, two hotel pubs, the historic Tea Rooms, post office, farm & hardware suppliers, supermarket, cafes, a number of antiques outlets, retail establishments and light manufacturing companies.
There is a primary school, medical & dental services, a hospital and an extensive aged care facility. Community groups include churches, CFA, SES, Lions Club, Business & Tourism Association, an official Visitor Information Centre, sporting clubs, ADASS, Probus, Senior Citizens, a Community House and a local newspaper the Winchelsea Star.
The Winchelsea Festival Committee aims to contribute to the provision of quality infrastructure to service the needs of existing and future community and sporting groups with a view to maintaining current levels of participation and to meet the needs of our increasing population as the town grows. The historic township of Winchelsea has continued to progress and flourish through the years whilst maintaining its original country 'feel' and lifestyle.