Corinella, on the eastern shore of Western Port Bay, serves as a
holiday destination with a focus on recreational fishing, and has a
pier and boat ramp and provides access to French Island via a privately
Where is it?: Corinella is located 114 km south-east of Melbourne via the M1 and the Bass Highway.
The town of Corinella likes to promote itself as Victoria’s best
kept secret, and a visit to this often ignored holiday destination
illustrates why they make that claim. Here you can take an early
morning stroll along serene seaside walking tracks that seem to go on
forever, or slip your boat into calm clean ocean fed waters and just
relax while you catch a snapper or a brace of whiting for breakfast
– all this just seconds from your front door.
Corinella enjoys a warmer average temperature due to being surrounded
on three sides by the waters of Western Port bay, the warmer water
temperature keeps the winters frosts away and keeps the climate in
Corinella milder than the ocean facing Phillip Island. The Corinella
Peninsula is blessed with panoramic picturesque views of the sea and
islands of the bay, and has ideal access to the bay for most types of
A blend of rural grazing and farming land surrounds the Corinella
Peninsula with a broad range of agricultural production, including
prestigious thoroughbred racing horse farms, beef and dairy cattle, red
deer farming, flower and herb growers, winery viticulture and many
more, all prospering in this ideal seaside climate.
Just to the east of the present town, a settlement was founded in 1826
from Sydney in response to a concern for possible French territorial
claims. In that year Dumont d’Urville in command of the corvette
Astrolabe examined Westernport, aroused suspicion during his scientific
voyage. Authorities in Sydney had also recently received reports from
explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell who mistakenly believed they
had reached Westernport in 1824 (when in fact they had arrived at Corio
Bay many kilometres to the west.
A contingent of soldiers and 21 convicts under the command of
Captain Wright was dispatched with William Hovell to assist. A small
military settlement called Fort Dumaresq was established near the
present-day site of Rhyll on the north coast of Phillip Island. Lack of
fresh water proved a problem and the outpost was moved to Corinella
then called Settlement Point.
Hovell’s subsequent report claiming Westernport was unsuitable
for agriculture, owing to poor soil and lack of fresh water, and the
absence of any Frenchmen, led to the abandonment of the settlements in
1828. The buildings were burnt to prevent use by escaped convicts. A
memorial cairn in Jamieson Street marks the site of the original
settlement and another monument at the end of Smythe Street
commemorates Paul Edmund de Strzelecki’s exploration in 1840.
The 1826-8 Corinella was subject to extensive archaeological
investigations in the late 1970s by the Victoria Archaeological Survey
led by Peter Coutts. Although equivocal in its conclusions about the
location and remains of the settlement, the dig established the
importance of the site to Victoria’s history and European