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Cape Otway
Victoria
Cape Otway Lighthouse south west pano.jpg
Cape Otway coast
Cape Otway is located in Colac Otway Shire
Cape Otway
Cape Otway
Location in Colac Otway Shire
Population 15 (2016 census)
Location
LGA(s) Colac Otway Shire
State electorate(s) Polwarth
Federal Division(s) Corangamite
Localities around Cape Otway:
Glenaire Aire Valley Apollo Bay
Hordern Vale Cape Otway Apollo Bay
Southern Ocean Southern Ocean Bass Strait

Cape Otway is a cape and a bounded locality of the Colac Otway Shire in southern Victoria, Australia on the Great Ocean Road; much of the area is enclosed in the Great Otway National Park.

History

Cape Otway was originally inhabited by the Gadubanud people; evidence of their campsites is contained in the middens throughout the region. The cape was discovered by Europeans when Lieutenant James Grant made the first west-to-east passage through Bass Strait in the Lady Nelson in December 1800. Grant named it Cape Albany Otway after Captain William Albany Otway. This was later shortened to Cape Otway.

Cape Otway Lighthouse was built on the point of the cape in 1848. The lighthouse is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

A telegraph office opened in 1859. The post office opened on 1 September 1880 and closed in 1972.

Eight ships were wrecked along the coast of Cape Otway: The Marie (1851), Sacramento (1853), Schomberg (1855), Loch Ard (1878), Joseph H. Scammell (May 1891), Fiji (September 1891), and the Casino in 1932. The first American vessel sunk during World War II, the MS City of Rayville, was also sunk off the cape by a German mine. Following this, the Americans built a radar bunker on the cape in 1942; it is now open to the public.

Commercial fisheries

The hostile seas, where the Southern Ocean meets with Bass Strait, that surround Cape Otway are home to some of the world's most prized marine species, including crayfish and abalone. On calm days, as many as 20 abalone dive boats commonly operate along the shoreline beneath the lighthouse. Commercial crayfishers use baited pots or traps throughout the reef system, with white floats on the surface marking their locations.

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