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Western Port

From Academic Kids

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Western_Port_from_French_Is.jpg
Western Port looking west from French Island to the Mornington Peninsula

Western Port (also known as Western Port Bay) is an inlet on the southern coast of Australia from Bass Strait and the Pacific Ocean, adjacent and to the east of Port Phillip on which is sited Melbourne, the capital city of the state of Victoria.

Contents

Recreation

Two large islands, French Island and Phillip Island dominate Western Port. The coastline, including that of the islands, is some 263 km.

Fishing, pleasure boating and yachting are some of the popular pastimes on the bay.

Phillip Island (approximately 100 km²)

  • Penguin Reserve - visited at dusk to watch the penguins return to their burrows in the sand dunes
  • Seal Rocks -viewed through binoculars
  • Koala Conservation Centre
  • Bird watching

French Island (approximately 170 km²)

  • Bushwalking or bird observing; bush orchid and fishing areas; horse riding, bike rides, and deep water fishing
  • Koala habitat
  • Camping

History and Development

The Bunurong Aboriginal people lived around Western Port living off shellfish, mutton birds and plantlife.

In 1797, George Bass sailed south from Sydney in a whaleboat along the unexplored coast south of Botany Bay. Bass could not get more than halfway through the strait now known as Bass Strait because of the rough seas. Western Port was discovered, so named because of its position relative to other known harbours on the coast.

In the early 19th century, the bay played a role in the struggle between Britain and France. Soldiers and convicts from Sydney were ordered to form a camp at Western Port to deter possible occupation by the French.

After the end of World War 2 the bay was considered for development as a port. Its flat shores north of Stony and Crib Points have become a centre for heavy industry.

Industry

Western Port has several industrial complexes, including a steel rolling mill and the major Royal Australian Navy training base, HMAS Cerberus.

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