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Bass Coast Shire

About the area

Name origin

Bass Coast Shire is named after the explorer George Bass, who sighted the area during an expedition to prove the existence of Bass Strait in 1796.

Location and boundaries

Bass Coast Shire is located in south-eastern Victoria, about 130 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. Bass Coast Shire is bounded by Western Port Bay in the north and west, Cardinia Shire in the north-east, South Gippsland Shire in the east, and Bass Strait in the south.

Included areas

Bass Coast Shire includes the townships and rural localities of Adams Estate, Almurta, Anderson, Archies Creek, Bass, Cape Paterson, Cape Woolamai, Churchill Island, Corinella, Coronet Bay, Cowes, Dalyston, Glen Alvie, Glen Forbes, Grantville, Harmers Haven, Inverloch (part), Jam Jerrup, Kernot, Kilcunda, Kongwak (part), Krowera (part), Lance Creek, Lang Lang (part), Loch (part), Newhaven, North Wonthaggi, Outtrim (part), Pioneer Bay, Pound Creek (part), Queensferry, Rhyll, Ryanston, San Remo, Silverleaves, Smiths Beach, South Dudley, St Clair, Summerlands, Sunderland Bay, Sunset Strip, Surf Beach, Tenby Point, The Gurdies, Ventnor, Wattle Bank, West Creek, Wimbledon Heights, Wonthaggi, Woodleigh and Woolamai.

Land use

Bass Coast Shire is a rural, residential and holiday area. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 860 square kilometres, including substantial coastal areas. The major towns are Wonthaggi, Cowes, Inverloch, San Remo and Grantville. The major industries of the Shire are tourism and agriculture, particularly cattle and sheep grazing.

Transport

Bass Coast Shire is served by the Bass Highway.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1826 when a military outpost was set up at a Corinella. However, permanent settlement did not occur until the late 1830s, with land used mainly for timber-getting, farming and grazing. Population was minimal until the 1860s when land was opened for selection, with growth particularly around Wonthaggi, largely due to coal mining. Growth took place from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, when many townships and villages were established. Significant development occurred from the post-war years, including growth on Phillip Island, spurred by the construction of the first bridge in the 1940s. Growth continued during the 1970s and the 1980s, with increases in both permanent and holiday homes. Expansion continued from the early 1990s, with the population of the Shire increasing from about 19,000 in 1991 to nearly 30,000 in 2011.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Bass Coast area were the Bunurong Aboriginal people.

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