Batemans Bay is a town 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 located adjacent to the Princes Highway (Highway 1) about from Sydney and from Melbourne. Canberra is located about to the west of Batemans Bay, via the Kings Highway.
It is the closest seaside town to 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. Batemans Bay 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 oyster farming, forestry, eco-tourism and retail services.
The traditional custodians of the land surrounding Batemans Bay are the Indigenous Australian Yuin people of the Walbunja clan. A number of sites in the region are considered culturally significant to the Aboriginal peoples.
On 22 April 1770, European explorer Captain James Cook first sighted and named the bay. Cook gave no reason for the name, which may commemorate either Nathaniel Bateman, the captain of HMS Northumberland when Cook was serving as her master from 1760–62, or John Bateman, 2nd Viscount Bateman, a former Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty in the 1750s.
A colonial vessel, Fly, was driven into Batemans Bay by bad weather during 1808. Local indigenous Australians attacked her crew; resulting in three fatalities from the Fly. 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 Batemans Bay has shown continued growth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics: