The first recorded landing in the area was by the Dutch Captain Jacobz of the Mauritius in 1618. Australian Captain Phillip Parker King later visited in 1818 and named the peninsula North West Cape, and also named Exmouth Gulf after a British Royal Naval Officer. In the subsequent years Pearl Luggers visited the area from Broome and during World War II the area became important for a military operation named ”Operation Potshot”. During the 1950’s the area was also known for fishing, pastoral leases and oil exploration. In 1967 Australia and the US established a communications base in the area and in the same year the town of Exmouth was gazetted as the supporting town to the base. The landing of the schooner ”Maud” in 1884 is the earliest recorded European activity in the Coral Bay area. This area is slightly north of the township of Coral Bay and is known as Maud’s Landing. In 1896 a town site reserve was gazetted but it wasn’t until 1915 that Maud’s Landing was officially proclaimed a town. Three kilometres to the south, an area known as Bill’s Bay was becoming very popular with locals and adventurous travellers. In 1968 formal settlement began with the establishment of a hotel, caravan park and service station. The hotel was named the Coral Bay Hotel in reference to the beautiful coral reef in the bay area. Subsequently the settlement became known as Coral Bay. Today the township survives solely on tourism.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The name Exmouth is taken from the Exmouth Gulf which was named by Captain Phillip P.King when surveying the northern coastline on the 18th February 1818, after Edward Pellew, First Viscount Exmouth (1758 -1833) distinguished himself in the Royal Navy from 1776, in the Battle of Lake Champlian, until 1816, with the bombardment of Algiers. During the Napoleonic Wars, he was Commander in Charge in India, the North Sea and the Mediterranean in turn.
Many of the streets in Exmouth are named in honour of Australian and British servicemen who took part in World War II. Streets are also named after early residents and navy or military operations or craft. This gesture recognises the importance of naval/military history to our region.
The above information was courtesy of the Exmouth Shire.