The closure of Fonterra's Dennington factory was a massive blow for the whole town, the local community association president John Harris said on Thursday.
Mr Harris said he felt for the staff who were losing their jobs, many of whom lived in the Dennington community.
"Everybody that I've spoken to has just been in shock that it's happened," he said. "It's a massive blow for the community.
"It's been such an icon for Dennington.
"To lose 100 salaries out of the community has got to be devastating on the whole of the city of Warrnambool."
Mr Harris said he would like to see another company, such as Midfields, step in to keep the factory open in some capacity but wasn't sure if that was possible.
He said that given that the state government had chipped in money in a failed bid to help Sharp Airlines keep flying to the region, it would be nice if state and federal governments stepped in to help keep the Dennnington factory open.
Mr Harris said people were unsure what affect it would have on the suburb of Dennington itself which had grown since the opening of two housing estates in recent years.
Association member David Kelson said that in the past 20 years there had been 400 homes built, tripling the size of Dennington.
"It's the end of an era. It's very sad," Mr Kelson said.
Mr Harris said the factory sat on prime real estate along the river. "There's some land there that would be a valuable asset to Fonterra if they wanted to sub-divide or sell off," he said.
Mr Harris said that while turning the old factory and adjacent land into a housing estate could be a beneficial thing for Dennington by bringing in more residents, the loss of those wages would have a major impact on the wider community for a long time.
He said he was unsure if the Dennington Community Association would be able to continue meeting in the hall because it was actually owned by Fonterra.
Mr Harris said the Dennington community had lost its other icon, The Shamrock Hotel, in 2011 when it closed the doors on more than 140 years of history.
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