Batemans Bay is a town and a bay in the South Coast region of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Batemans Bay is administered by the Eurobodalla Shire council. The town is on the Princes Highway (Highway 1) about from Sydney, from Melbourne and from Canberra via the Kings Highway. At the 2006 census it had a population of 10,845. The Clyde River empties here into the Tasman Sea.
It is the closest seaside town to the city of Canberra, making Batemans Bay a popular holiday destination for residents of Australia's National Capital. Geologically, it is situated in the far southern reaches of the Sydney Basin. It is also a popular retiree haven, but has begun to attract young families seeking affordable housing and a relaxed seaside lifestyle. Other local industries include a sawmill, oyster farming, forestry, eco-tourism and retail services.
Captain Cook named the Bay on 22 April 1770 after Nathaniel Bateman. Nathaniel Bateman was Captain of Lord Colvill's ship HMS Northumberland (the 3rd ship of that name), at the time when Captain Cook was serving as her master from 1760-62.
Indigenous Australians in the area attacked the crew of the ship the Fly, a colonial vessel, in 1808 after it was driven into Bateman's Bay by bad weather.
In 1821 Lt Robert Johnston entered the bay and explored the lower reaches of the Clyde River on board the cutter Snapper. Snapper Island within the bay is named after Johnston's boat. Johnston returned with Alexander Berry and Hamilton Hume and they traced the river to its source.
When the district was surveyed in 1828, a deserted hut and stockyards were found. Cedar getters and land clearers were in the district in the 1820s. From the 1820s through to the 1840s, the area to the Moruya River was the southernmost official limit of location for the colony of New South Wales.
The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Co found the Clyde River to be navigable in 1854. Regular services by the company in the 1860s and 1870s contributed to growth of the district.
The village of Batemans Bay was surveyed in 1859. Oyster farming commenced in 1860. By 1870, there was a fleet of 40 oyster boats. A sawmill was erected in 1870. The port was proclaimed in 1885. A ferry service across the Clyde ran from 1891 until the bridge was opened in 1956.
In 1942 during World War II, a trawler was attacked by a Japanese submarine between Batemans Bay and Moruya.
The population of the town in 1881 was 266; 1183 in 1961; 4924 in 1981 and 16,000 in 2005.