What is significant? Refuge Cove, located on the eastern side of Wilsons Promontory, south of Sealers Cove, was discovered by Captain Thomas Wishart in 1837 and originally named Lady Bay. Bay whaling operated at Refuge Cove in the late 1830s and a shore whaling station was established in 1841, continuing as a boiling down works until 1845. From 1859 to 1863 granite quarrying took place on the eastern side of the bay and a temporary wharf and worker's residences were established. Natural resource exploitation also included timber getting (1828-1858) and commercial fishing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Between 1941 and 1946, during the Second World War, the site was used by the military as a commando training centre and outstation.
The landscape of the cove has featured in paintings by artists including Nicholas Chevalier (1865) and Samuel Calvert (1872). The area around the bay was gazetted in 1905 as part of Wilsons Promontory National Park and the site is currently used for recreational purposes as part of the National Park.
Archaeological remains include the deposits relating to the whaling, granite quarry and remnants of a wharf and a jetty.
Why is it significant? Refuge Cove is of aesthetic, archaeological and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
How is it significant? Refuge Cove is of aesthetic significance, being an inspirational landscape for nineteenth century artists.
Refuge cove is archaeologically significant for its potential to contain evidence relating to the whaling industry and other nineteenth century activities including quarrying and timber getting.
Refuge Cove is historically important for its association with the exploitation of natural resources and their contribution to the early settlement and development of Victoria. Refuge Cove has important historical associations with the military for its use as an infantry training centre during the Second World War.