Acknowledgement of Country
This website contains stories of towns established on the land of the Bengalat balug of the Wadawurrung people. We acknowledge them as the Traditional Owners of these lands and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present, and Aboriginal Elders of other communities who read these stories.
Several interviews include copies of photographs sourced from either:
• the person being interviewed,
• The Bellarine Historical Society (https://www.bellarinehistory.org)
• Barwon Heads Association. (https://www.barwonheadsassociation.com/new-site/heritage/)
Noel Emselle arrived in Ocean Grove with his family in 1952, aged 12. He was involved in the
local scouting movement in Barwon Heads and became Cub Leader when the Ocean Grove
chapter was formed. He worked as Deputy Postmaster to Gil McKeown when Ocean Grove
had only around 100 houses and 300 residents.
Noel recounts the early history of the Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club after it was
reformed in 1953. As one of the few local residents who could swim, he began teaching the
local children, effectively starting the Nippers. He was involved in establishing the Westpac
Helicopter Rescue Service in 1980 and was a crew member for ten years. Noel also provides
a graphic description of the 1952 flood of the Barwon River and its impact on Barwon Heads.