The Henty family first settled Cape Bridgewater shortly after settling in Portland 1834. Cape Bridgewater at the time was one of the Henty’s six stations in the district. But the pastures were not good and small profits and small production led the Henty’s to move its Bridgewater operation further north. The first non-Henty settlers were James Kennedy and James Kittson who arrived in the area in 1842.
The Bridgewater area was surveyed in 1849 and 1850 and opened up for pastoral leases in 1850. Major enterprises were grain, cattle and dairying. The gold rushes depleted the labour force, but on the other hand provided a major market for the goods produced in the Bridgewater area. By 1860 approx 38 families lived and worked in the area, over the next 40 years farmers faced many difficulties.
In early 1900’s sale yards were established and Bridgewater continued to grow. The 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s saw the population decrease and the saleyards close. However, Bridgewater beach was growing in popularity and in the 1970’s & 80’s saw many holiday houses erected. Hobby farmers also moved into the area.
Today Cape Bridgewater is possibly the most pristine place in Australia and unlike other places along the Great ocean road it continues to hold its overwhelming charm.