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Point Cook

Point Cook is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 22 km south-west of the CBD.

Details

  • Area:44.992 km2
  • Elevation:7 m
  • Population:49,929
  • Local Government Area:Wyndham City Council

Description

Point Cook is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 22 km south-west of the CBD. It is the home of RAAF Base Point Cook, the birthplace of the Royal Australian Air Force, and is the current home of the RAAF Museum. Point Cook is also home to many playgrounds. The wetlands of the Point Cook Coastal Park form part of the Cheetham and Altona Important Bird Area.The population of Point Cook has been growing rapidly since 2001 when the population was 1,737. As of the 2016 Census, Point Cook's population was 49,929, and has risen to 60,105 in 2018. # History ## Early settlers Point Cook was originally spelled Point Cooke, and named in 1836. Almost all references dropped the "e"; however, in the early 2000s the point itself was officially renamed "Point Cooke". Point Cook was named after John M. Cooke, mate of His Majesty's vessel Rattlesnake. Commanded by Captain Hobson, the ship charted part of the Port Phillip bay in 1836. William Drayton Taylor leased the land around Point Cook promontory in 1849. The following year in 1850 Taylor transferred his licence to Alexander Irvine. By March 1852, a six-room weatherboard cottage had been erected. In 1853 the pastoralist Thomas Chirnside added the farmlands of Point Cook to his holdings. He built the famous Point Cook Homestead of twenty-five rooms in 1857. Initially Point Cook was an important segment of the expanding pastoral empire established by Thomas and his brother Andrew. As their extensive land holdings were developed substantial homesteads were later constructed at Werribee Park, Carranballac, Mount Williams and Curnong. Due to the Chirnside brothers' deep interest in hunting, deer and foxes were introduced to Point Cook in the 1850s. As early as 1859 members of the Melbourne Hunt Club and the Geelong & District Hunt Club were invited to hunt at Point Cook. In the early 1860s Thomas Chirnside imported valuable horses for the breeding at Point Cook. The property was said to have three racetracks. The Chirnsides became one of Victoria's prominent pastoral families, entertaining the colonial gentry and organising sporting functions for their guests at Point Cook. In 1873 the Chirnside brothers began construction of the elaborate mansion at Werribee Park. By 1877 the Werribee Park Mansion had been completed and it largely displaced the Point Cook Homestead as their families' focus. ## Early 20th century In 1912 the Federal Government purchased a large section of Point Cook with a vision to establish the Australian Flying Corps (AFC). Due to the success of the AFC in the First World War, the AFC was renamed the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and this led to the eventual renaming of the AFC base at Point Cook to RAAF Base Point Cook. Point Cook remained the RAAF's only base until 1925 when RAAF Base Richmond and the nearby RAAF Base Laverton were built. Point Cook is considered the birthplace and the spiritual home of the RAAF. Today the RAAF Base Point Cook is the home of the RAAF College including Officers Training School (OTS) and the RAAF Museum. In 1920 the Chirnside family sold the remainder of the Point Cook property to Sydney Dalrymple. This ended nearly 70 years of the Chirnside family's ownership of Point Cook. Four years later in 1924 Dalrymple sold the northern part of the Point Cook land to Cheetham Salt Pty Ltd for salt recovery lagoons. Point Cook Post Office opened in 1926, was renamed Point Cook R.A.A.F. Post Office in 1940, and closed in 1993. A new Point Cook office opened in 2005 subsequent to suburban development in the area.Cheetham Salt established a series of ponds in the 1920s where sea water was fed into the shallow ponds and allowed to evaporate. Dried salt was then harvested from the floor of the lagoons. This operation continued until the early 1990s, when the site was purchased by the Victorian Government. The more environmentally important bayside part of the original saltworks now comprises Cheetham Wetlands which make up the migratory bird habitat and conservation area that is there today. The higher, western section is being developed privately by various housing estates, such as Sanctuary Lakes that are there today. In 1948 Point Cook hosted the Australian Grand Prix, which was held at the Point Cook RAAF Base. The race was won by Frank Pratt driving a BMW 328. ## Today In 1996, Point Cook was basically a rural community, with the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Base. Point Cook's population in 1996 was approximately 580, of whom 552 lived on the RAAF base. By 2001, Point Cook's population had increased to 1,737, and by August 2006 the population of Point Cook was 14,162 as per the 2006 Australian Census. Today Point Cook is one of the major growth regions in Melbourne's western suburbs. At the 2011 Census, Point Cook recorded a population of 32,413 and it was originally estimated in 2006 that the population would be 41,474 by 2016. The 2016 Census revealed that the actual population in June 2016 was much higher at 49,929.During the 2016 Census, it was found there were 13,593 families living in Point Cook, with an average of 1.1 child per family. 50.1% of Point Cook's population were males, 49.9% being females. In Point Cook, 48.4% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were India 9.1%, China 6.4%, New Zealand 4.0%, United Kingdom 3.2% and Philippines 2.1%. 51.1% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 8.4%, Hindi 4.4%, Cantonese 2.3%, Indonesian 1.6% and Punjabi 1.6%. The most common responses for religion in Point Cook were No Religion 27.7%, Catholic 23.7% and Hinduism 10.0%. # Weather # Things to do Tourist attractions in Point Cook include: Point Cook Homestead Point Cook Coastal Park Point Cook RAAF MuseumTourist attractions neighbouring Point Cook include: Werribee Open Range Zoo Werribee Park Mansion

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