Killarney is a rural village on the Princes Highway in western Victoria, about midway between Warrnambool and Port Fairy. It lies on land nourished by the volcanic soils of the Tower Hill caldera and the Tower Hill lake is about 4 km to the north-east.
Settlement occurred at an early date: the Plough Inn was opened in 1845-46, and an Argus newspaper item reported on a meeting held at the Inn to form a local agricultural society. Nothing much eventuated, but settlement (mainly by Irish farmers) was quite intense. The name Killarney presumably came from that source. Killarney was described in the 1903 Australian handbook:
Killarney became renowned for potato growing, onions and pig raising. The Plough Inn was later replaced by the Carleton hotel – although the two co-existed for several years – and the Carleton is today's Killarney hotel. Killarney's position on the Princes Highway has also enabled the creation and survival of a general store and an auto garage.
About 3 km southwards there is the Killarney beach, a camping ground and a recreation reserve. The beach is the western extremity of the search location of the Mahogany Ship, thought to be a sixteenth century Portuguese vessel.
Killarney's census populations have been:
|Killarney and environs||2006||793|
Pamela M. Marriott, A shamrock beneath the Southern Cross: an history of the Shire of Belfast, Warrnambool, 1988