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Batemans Bay
New South Wales
Batemans Bay.jpg
Looking towards the former Batemans Bay Bridge from the banks of the Clyde River which flows into the bay.
Batemans Bay is located in New South Wales
Batemans Bay
Batemans Bay
Location in New South Wales
  • 11,294 (2016 census)
  • 16,485 (2018)
Established 1885
Postcode(s) 2536
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
LGA(s) Eurobodalla Shire
Region South Coast
County St Vincent
State electorate(s) Bega
Federal Division(s) Gilmore
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
21.8 °C
71 °F
10.0 °C
50 °F
916.8 mm
36.1 in
Localities around Batemans Bay:
Nelligen North Batemans Bay Surfside
Runnyford Batemans Bay Tasman Sea
Runnyford Mogo Batehaven

Batemans Bay is a town on the South Coast region of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Batemans Bay is administered by the Eurobodalla Shire council and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. The town is situated on land traditionally occupied by the Walbunja people from the Yuin nation, on the shores of an estuary formed where the Clyde River meets the southern Pacific Ocean.

Batemans Bay is located on the Princes Highway (Highway 1) about 280 kilometres (170 mi) from Sydney and 760 km (470 mi) from Melbourne. Canberra is located about 151 km (94 mi) to the west of Batemans Bay, via the Kings Highway. At the 2016 census, Batemans Bay had a population of 11,294. A larger urban area surrounding Batemans Bay also including Long Beach, Maloneys Beach and the coastal fringe extending south to Rosedale had a population of 16,485 at June 2018.

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.


Indigenous history

The traditional custodians of the land surrounding Batemans Bay are the Indigenous Australian Yuin people of the Walbunja clan. The traditional language spoken by the Walbunja people is Dhurga. A number of sites in the region are considered culturally significant to the Aboriginal peoples.

European history

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 town is not thought to have taken any real form until 1841 and the arrival of the Innes family. Fleeing Ireland, the family came in search of the legendary indigenous potato, and after a failed attempt at running mashed potato barges to the burgeoning Sydney market, exploited the areas plentiful seafood to establish Australia’s 3rd fish and chip shop - one which stands to this day. 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 China 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.

In May 2016, an estimated 120,000 bats suddenly descended upon and swarmed the town, prompting the town to declare a state of emergency. Due to the fact that they were flying foxes, they had to be removed using non-lethal methods, including smoke, noise, lights and removing vegetation. The town received AUS$2.5 million in order to relocate the bats.


The population of Batemans Bay has shown continued growth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

  • 1881 was 266
  • 1961 was 1,183
  • 1981 was 4,924
  • 1996 was 9,568
  • 2006 was 10,845
  • 2011 was 11,334

A 2013 estimate put the population of the greater urban area at 17,500.


Being in the centre of Australia's Oyster Coast means that still to this day succulent Clyde River oysters can be purchased directly from the farmer. The main oyster farmers in this area are Pearly Oyster Bar, The Oyster Shed, and JJ's at the Marina. The coast surrounding Batemans Bay is protected under Marine Park Zoning, which bans all mining, dredging and trawling within 5 km of the coast.

Many historical buildings are located in Batemans Bay, sharing an insight into the areas colourful past. Batemans Bay Bridge, officially opened on the 21st of November 1956. Replacing the motorised punt which had operated from 1915 - 1954. Northcourt Arcade was erected in 1935 as a hospital, until the 1960s. During these years the community fought for a more updated structure and all patients were moved to the new location on Pacific Street in 1970.


Batemans Bay experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb). The climate of Batemans Bay is moderated by the sea, with warm summers and mild sunny winters. Nights can be cold in winter. Thunderstorms mostly occur between November and March, with rainfall maximums in summer. The town gets 87.3 clear days annually.

Climate data for Batemans Bay
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.6
Average high °C (°F) 25.8
Average low °C (°F) 15.6
Record low °C (°F) 6.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 82.3
Average precipitation days 11.8 11.6 10.3 8.4 7.8 8.3 6.8 6.4 8.7 10.2 12.3 11.4 114.0
Average relative humidity (%) 63 66 63 62 62 61 58 56 57 58 61 62 61


According to the 2016 census of Population, there were 11,294 people in the Batemans Bay urban centre.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 7.3% of the population.
  • 77.1% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 5.0% and New Zealand 1.5%.
  • 88.1% of people only spoke English at home.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 26.3%, Anglican 24.8% and Catholic 23.4%.

The median age in Batemans Bay is 53 years, compared with the Australian national average of 37 years. For people aged 60 years and above, Batemans Bay is well above the national average, and has twice as many people aged 70 years or over than the national average. Conversely, in all age demographic groups below 60 years, Batemans Bay is below national averages. This is most strongly presented in the categories for ages 19 to 35 years.

This skewed demographic is attributed to Batemans Bay's proximity to Canberra, from where it attracts a large number of retirees. In recent years, community concern has grown as hotels and resorts in the region have been purchased and converted to aged care and retirement living, creating a perceived threat to the town's primary industry – tourism. In addition, the aged demographic has been said to create a culture were the towns infrastructure is geared towards the aged, resulting in a net migration away from Batemans Bay of younger families exacerbating the imbalance. In 2015, research from Nielsen revealed older people were less likely to support rates funding towards youth focussed infrastructure.



Batemans Bay is located at the junction of the Princes Highway which runs down the south coast of New South Wales and the Kings Highway, which runs from Canberra to the coast.

Batemans Bay Bridge

Batemans Bay is the only place where coastal traffic can cross the Clyde River. From 1915 to 1954 a motorised punt allowed traffic to cross the river. The former Batemans Bay Bridge was officially opened in 1956 and became a much loved landmark of the town. It was a steel vertical lift truss bridge with a maximum height of 34 metres. In 2019 work began on a replacement concrete bridge with a clearance of 12 metres. Due to this replacement project, the former steel truss bridge has been disassembled and removed, with parts of the former bridge to be turned into a sculpture on the foreshore. The new concrete bridge formally opened on March 27, 2021, with a public event for the local population that morning.

Moruya Airport

Moruya Airport is located approximately 30 km south of the town; flights service the route between Sydney and Moruya.

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