Why the name? It is not known exactly when the limestone stacks became known as the Twelve Apostles… or why. Local folklore suggests that because they seem to exude such power and awe, visitors can only stand in awe of nature and its creation, and hence the name’s biblical origins.
Their original names: What we now call the Twelve Apostles were originally called The Sow and Piglets. The Sow was Mutton Bird Island, which stands at the mouth of Loch Ard Gorge, and her Piglets were the 12 Apostles. (Not an entirely flattering picture).
According to local historian Etty McKinnon, who’s lived all her life “so far” in the Port Campbell district, the name Twelve Apostles emerged sometime early in the 20th Century.
“I’d love to know how the name change came about,” she said. “On Governor La Trobe’s map dated 1846 they’re called the Sow and Piglets and these included a lot more than 12 stacks. There were also lots of smaller ones.” “I think the name the Twelve Apostles came about early in the 20th Century, before the building of the Great Ocean Road”. “Back then the main attraction for visitors was Loch Ard Gorge, but of course now it is the Twelve Apostles. It might have reflected the time when people were a bit more religious. There were other Biblical names around, too, like the Crown of Thorns and the Grotto.” Whether the names change in the future, the scenery will, so if you haven’t already done so, best to get yourself to the Port Campbell National Park to see the Twelve, or Thirteen Apostles, now!