What's in a Name?
While wintering at Capetown in 1800 Lieutenant James Grant received Admiralty Orders to attempt the west to east passage through the recently discovered Bass Strait.
He named the southernmost point of the Strait’s coastline Cape Albany Otway. Grant had named the cape for Vice-Admiral William Albany Otway who began his distinguished seafaring career at the age of nine. Captain Otway was appointed Commander of the Thames in 1809.
As Grant sailed the Lady Nelson along the coast he noted in his diary: “I never saw a finer country, the valleys appeared to have plenty of fresh water meandering through them……The land here is truly picturesque and beautiful resembling very much that amount Mount Edgecumbe near Plymouth, which faces the Sound. It is moderately high but not mountainous.”
As a result of Grant’s success the Strait was regarded as the main approach to the colony of New South Wales from the early 1800s.
This route shaved off nearly 1200km, or up to a week, from the journey south around Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) en route to Port Jackson (Sydney).