Bells Beach history
Bells Beach is in Wadawurrung country. The Wadawurrung people lived inland areas such as Lake Modewarre and Lake Colac and the coast which provided resources like shellfish, ochre and Yam Daisy tubers.
Permanent European settlement in Wadawurrung country started in the 1830s and Bells Beach and surrounding land became part of the Mount Pleasant pastoral run.
The reserve is named after the family of John Calvert Bell who purchased the property in 1905. The Bell family licensed the reserve for grazing until 1940-41.
Surfing came to Bells in the 1940s but surfers were few until the access track was widened in 1960. The first formal competition was held over Easter in 1962 and continues, now known as the Rip Curl Pro, as a part of the World Surfing League Tour.
Bells Beach cultural heritage
This short video explores the cultural heritage of the Bells Beach Surfing Recreational Reserve. The video features Corrina Eccles discussing the Wadawurrung history of Bells Beach, and Anthony Hume playing didgeridoo.
The Bells Beach Committee
The Bells Beach Committee helps Council manage the Bells Beach Surfing Reserve and is made up of an impartial chair, representatives of the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, representatives of Surfing Victoria, and five community nominees. They meet at least four times each year.
Current works and management
Management and works implementation at Bells is currently guided by the Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Coastal Management Plan 2015-2025(PDF, 3MB) and the Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Implementation Plan 2015-2018(PDF, 7MB) . These documents are currently being updated.
Have your say - Updating of the coastal and marine management plan for Bells
From now until 5pm Friday 26 September 2019, a minor draft update of the coastal and marine management plan for Bells is on exhibition for public comment. This time around there is a single management document rather than the two plans. You can find details of the draft update and how to provide your comments at Your say .
Australian National Surfing Museum
Rip Curl Planet Day
Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Integrated Vegetation Management Plan(PDF, 4MB)
Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Flora Species List(PDF, 168KB)
Bells Beach Recreation Reserve Flora and Fauna report 2007(PDF, 3MB)
Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Fauna Survey Results 2015(PDF, 212KB)
Bells Beach Task Force Report to Council October 2015(PDF, 3MB)
Government Gazettes showing reservation of the land, naming and regulations(PDF, 20MB)
Letters from 1964 to 1971 regarding early management of the Reserve(PDF, 3MB)
Map of the management boundaries at Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve(PDF, 3MB)
Rocky Shores of Marine National Parks including Bells values, uses and impacts(PDF, 5MB)
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