A view of the inlet from a walking track to the beach.
|Location||East Gippsland, Victoria|
|Primary inflows||Wingan River|
|Primary outflows||Tasman Sea of the South Pacific Ocean|
|Managing agency||Parks Victoria|
|Surface area||38 hectares (94 acres)|
Features and location
The inlet covers a surface area of 38 hectares (94 acres) and is fed by the Wingan River and provides outflow to the Tasman Sea of the South Pacific Ocean. It features a ranger-managed camping ground, about an hour's drive from the nearest town, Cann River, along a rough stretch of dirt road. The inlet and its surrounds are home to many species of marine life, such as crabs, Sydney rock oysters and other shellfish, as well as birds and small mammals. Paralysis ticks, Lace Monitors and snakes are common.
Wingan Inlet is of historical significance, as it is almost certainly the lagoon, 'one mile north of Rame Head,' where Dr George Bass reputedly became the first European to set foot on the Victorian shoreline on 20 January 1798, during his first expedition south of Sydney to establish the relationship of Tasmania to the Australian mainland, with the encouragement of John Hunter, the Governor of New South Wales.
Bass sailed aboard a small 28 feet (8.5 m) unnamed whaling boat and carefully examined the coastline south of Botany Bay en route to find a passage between Victoria and Tasmania but he struck severe weather and landed his craft. Wingan Inlet is 3–4 kilometres (1.9–2.5 mi) north of Rame Head, but it is the only significant geographical feature in the area that could be described as a landable lagoon. Otherwise the sheltered bay and beach area in front of Wingan Inlet, named Fly Cove by Bass, is the lagoon described.
The Bass party also lost its anchor at the location, but continued to navigate around Wilson's Promontory as far west as Western Port Bay. On the return trip, the party encountered marooned sailors along the Victorian coast from the wreck of the ship Sydney Cove south of Victoria at Preservation Island, Tasmania. Bass left provisions and firearms to assist the men, only able to take aboard one of them due to his vessel's limited capacity.
Bass then continued his return voyage, stopping again at the lagoon near Rame Head to search for the whale boat's anchor. However he was unsuccessful, and the anchor is yet to be recovered. Although Bass' first expedition was unsuccessful at discovering and navigating what is now Bass Strait, due to weather and failing equipment, upon his return to Sydney he conveyed his observation that the tidal change along those parts of the coastline was too rapid to be obstructed by a peninsula, which at that time was believed to join Tasmania to the mainland.
- "Wingan Inlet: 29617". Vicnames. Government of Victoria. 2 May 1966. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- "Map of Wingan Inlet, VIC". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- "Croajingolong National Park". Parks Victoria. Government of Victoria. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- McCabe, James Dabney (1878). Pictorial History of the World. Philadelphia PA. U.S.A.
- Short, Andrew D (1997). Beaches of the Victorian Coast and Port Phillip Bay. Sydney: University of Sydney Press.
- Cole, Harry; Cole, Valda; Hastings-Western Port Historical Society (1997). Mr Bass's Western Port : the Whaleboat Voyage. South Eastern Historical Association.