Cape Woolamai

Cape Woolamai is an urban area and a coastal State fauna reserve on the south-east of Phillip Island in Western Port Bay.

The end of the cape is a granite outcrop, joined to the island by substratum granite overlain by deep sands. In pre-settlement times most of the sandy soil supported coastal heath, tea tree and banksia. Dwarf vegetation covered the end of the cape. To the north there was grassy woodland, suited for grazing. John Cleeland settled there and built Woolamai House (1869), now a heritage listed building. By 1872 Cleeland owned all of Cape Woolamai.

It is thought that Woolamai is an Aboriginal expression describing the snapper (or schnapper) fish. The granite at the end of the cape, pinkish in colour, was quarried for building work in the 1890s and apparently until the 1930s.

In 1960 much of the sandy land was intensively subdivided for house lots: Woolamai Waters, 1199 lots and Woolamai Waters West, 731 lots. Some lots were subject to flooding; sullage and storm run off were not properly controlled and about two thirds of the houses were raised or ground level fibro cement buildings. Improved building quality has removed many of the problems of the 1970s.

South of the housing area the cape is a State fauna reserve, apart from a surf lifesaving coast on the west beach. Much of the west coastline has mutton bird rookeries and there are smaller rookery areas on the east side.

A development proposal for a two-story hotel, shops and backpackers’ lodge was refused a permit in 2007 for being out of character with the Cape Woolamai area.

Cape Woolamai’s census populations have been:

census date population
2006 1232
2011 1549