History of Western Port & Region
The Bunurong (Boonerwrung) people are the indigenous people from the Western Port area. They have lived around Western Port for thousands of years, enjoying a range of shellfish, mutton birds and plant life.
The Bunurong people are one of five Aboriginal language groups, that make up the Kulin (Koolin) nation of peoples.
The Bunurong people have two creation totems, Bunjil the Eaglehawk and Waang the Crow.
Image: Lithograph of drawing by Louis de Sainson of the crew of the French corvette l'Astrolabe fishing in "Mangrove Creek"
(the Rhyll Inlet) during Dumont d'Urville's visit to Western Port in 1826. Image courtesy State Library of Victoria.
European Discovery & Settlement
The first recorded European to discover Western Port was George Bass on 5th January 1798, when he and his volunteer crew entered Western Port in their small whale boat that had set off from Sydney in December 1797 to explore land breaks between Tasmania and mainland Australia. The name “Western Port” being apt for the time, as it was the most westerly port from the fledgling colony at Sydney.
A lovely account of the early European discoveries is provided by John Barnard, a director of the Western Port Seagrass Partnership.