The bay was sighted by Lieut James Cook aboard HMS Endeavour on 25 April 1770 and he named the southern headland Cape St George.
In August 1791 the bay was entered and named by Lieutenant Richard Bowen aboard the convict transport ship Atlantic of the Third Fleet in honour of Admiral John Jervis, under whom he had served. John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent (1735-1823) Commander-in-chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet from 1796 to 1799.
The Explorer George Bass entered Jervis Bay on 10 December 1797, and he named Bowen Island, which today is a complete sanctuary for the protection of the ground nesting sea birds and in particular the 14,000 fairy penguins who make the island their home.
Jervis Bay is not pronounced “Jarvis” – back in 1928 the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Sir Littleton Groom), has received a letter from Mr. Jervis Manton, which reads as follows:
“There seems to be a growing inclination in Australia to mispronounce the name Jervis Bay. May I please assure you that the correct pronunciation of this word is Jervis and not Jarvis. Sir Thomas Jervis was a relative of my grandmother, and godfather to my father who, throughout his lifetime, was always called Jervis. If you will do what you can to maintain the correct pronunciation of Jervis I shall be glad.”
On the left hand side of Bowen Island at the entrance to Jervis Bay you will see the northern headland which is called Beecroft Peninsular, situated on top of the Beecroft Peninsular is Jervis Bay’s lighthouse which is called Point Perpendicular. Together they are some of the tallest cliffs along the east coast of Australia standing almost 100 metres above sea level. Imagine that, the length of a football field high!!!
Jervis Bay became a Marine Park in 1998 it has 4 types of Sanctuary Zones which now protect the habitats of more than a 1000 different species which all share and rely on the the unique eco-systems within this rare and precious environment of Jervis Bay on the South Coast NSW.