Sixty-five kilometres west along the Hamilton Highway from Geelong, the small town of Cressy is one of Victoria’s older rural towns. It grew round a coach stop on what is now the junction of roads linking Melbourne and Geelong with Port Fairy and Portland.
Cressy is the anglicised version of the name of the French town of Crecy, home of migrants Frederick and Rosine Duvernay who opened the Frenchman’s Inn in 1840.
The original pub has long gone, but an inn of the same name preserves the line of Victoria's oldest, continuous hotel licence. A bluestone church built in 1862 provides another link to Cressy’s past.
The chain of lakes stretching across the volcanic plain that separates Cressy from Colac in the south includes Corangamite, Victoria’s largest saltwater lake.
Cressy lies about 30km to the east of Lismore on a section of the highway known traditionally as the Wooltrack because of the stream of wool-laden bullock wagons that once plied the trail from the big sheep stations to the west to Geelong.