Cape Paterson was named by Lieut. James Grant in 1801, honouring
explorer Lieut. Col. William Paterson, who was 2nd in Command of the
Botany Bay Settlement. Much later, when coal mining began at Wonthaggi,
the miners were quick to recognise the fishing and recreational
possibilities of the nearby coastline. Some of the miners built shacks
and boathouses on the foreshore, and supplemented their income by
catching fish and crayfish and selling them in town.
The mine closed in the late 1960’s but has remained a local
attraction, with underground mine tours held daily. Today Wonthaggi,
only 8km from Cape Paterson, has a large number of shops, supermarkets,
a cinema, golf club, bowling club and a number of pubs.