History & Heritage

Bass Coast is rich in historical significance. Bass Coast was adopted as the official name of the Shire when the local governments were amalgamated in 1994. The area takes its name from George Bass who sighted the area during an expedition to prove the existence of Bass Strait in 1796.

Traditional owners and early history

Bass Coast Shire Council respectfully acknowledges the past and present traditional owners of the land on which the Shire stands, the Bunurong people.

The first settlements in Bass Coast are central to the establishment of the state of Victoria. In 1826 Corinella was established as a permanent settlement, the second in the state. Victoria’s third permanent settlement was established on the Bass River shortly after the founding of Melbourne in 1835. In the early 1800s timber was the primary industry of the area. Timber was shipped to Melbourne and beyond from several ports along the coastline. Once the land was cleared, it was used for agriculture including dairying, beef farming and raising crops.

The first coal discovered in Victoria was at Cape Paterson. Coal mines were later established in Wonthaggi and Kilcunda, but ceased operation in the mid to late 1900s.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about our fascinating history visit a local heritage group. Their details are contained in our Community Directory or in the ARTS Brochure.

Do you have an old local photograph that you would like to find out about?

Contact your local heritage group listed in our Community Directory

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