Tin Can Bay history

Tin can bay history

Tin Can Bay history

This town doesn’t have a rich history but there are several significant events that we need to know about Tin Can Bay History. Originally the town was named Wallu but in 1937 the name was changed to Tin Can Bay. The name came from the Aboriginal word “tuncan” that refers to the dugongs the mammals that live in the water found around the town, but there is also a second meaning “tuncan” a word that refers to “vine with large leaves”.

The town started expanding in population by the time of 1922 there were several houses and holiday homes around the area. In 1933 the population of the town was 72 people and that lead to a school opening in February 1934. In the same year, Tin Can Bay had its name changed from Wallu, And at the time it started to become a cheap holiday destination.

The population rose to just 241 in the year of 1954. That lead to the first fish market in Tin Can Bay and this attracted the, trawling industry in the year of 1957 and shortly after that year Tin Can Bay became a fishing village. All of that leads to the locals building sealed access roads, opening the first Hotel in this area and installing electricity for the town (village at the time).

There was also the opening of the brand new larger fish market in 1971. At this time the population again started to rise to just above 500 people. The year of 1985 was also an important time for the town, You can learn more about Tin Can Bay History from the Tin Can Bay library was opened in 1985.

Tin Can Bay Population

Today’s population of Tin Can Bay taken from the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census is just 2242 people. 50,9% population is male and 49,1% female. According to statistics, there are 604 families. The population of this town steadily increasing during the years. as we can see from the following.

First Census measure year 1933 population 72.
The year 1954 population of 241
The year 1966 population of 513
The year 1981 population of 883
The year 1991 population of 1355
The year 2001 population of 1988
The year 2006 population of 2095
The year 2011 population of 1994.

As we can see the population of Tin Can Bay is rising slowly as the Tin Can Bay History shows, making it a nice quiet small town.

How to get to Tin Can Bay

You can get to Tin Can Bay by car or by bus. The most common routes are from Brisbane to Tin Can Bay. You can travel to the town by car, it’s just a 2 1/2 hour drive with lots of scenery to look at, the distance is around 218 kilometres (135 miles). The bus ride takes a lot longer between 5 to 6 hours from Brisbane to Tin Can Bay. The bus operates only once per day. The bus fare is from $40 to $85 dollars.

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Hotels and restaurants

Due to lots of new tourist coming to the area, many new hotels and restaurants have opened in the area. The most popular hotel is “Tin Can Buy tourist park”. This hotel offers you various types of accommodation such as wooden cabins and sites for RV. The hotel is pet-friendly and also offers wheelchair accessibility accommodation. You’re also able to book one of the many activities that are popular in the town such as sand safari, surfing, Fraser Island tours, boat hire, fishing trips, bird watching, skydive and many other activities.

The other hotels to choose from are “Dolphin Waters Tin Can Bay“, ” Tin Can Bay’s Sleepy Lagoon Motel“, “Marina Vila’s Tin Can Bay“, Or nearby “Rainbow Beach Holiday Park“. The most popular restaurants are ” Tin Can Bay Marina Bar & Grill Restaurant”, “Tin Can Bay Yacht Club”, ” Snack, Snack”, “Alistans at The Bay”, “Tin Can Bay Country Club”, “Tin Can Pizza” there are also a few good restaurants on Rainbow Beach such as ” Fish and Chips”, ” Ocean Breeze Seafoods”, “Arcobaleno on the Beach”.

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You also can camp at Tin Can Bay, Beside “Tin Can Buy tourist park” you can also camp at the “Kingfisher Caravan Camp“.

As we can see there are a lot of options that can satisfy everyone’s needs and desires, and it’s also a very affordable town to stay at.

Things to do in Tin Can Bay

Barnacles Dolphin Centre

This is one of the most popular attractions in the town. If you visit here you have an opportunity to see and feed the Humpback Dolphin, The centre open’s at 7 am and the feeding is between 7 am and 8 am. The entry fee is $5 dollars per person, plus $5 for a fish to feed the Dolphins. Dolphin feeding sessions happen just once per day.

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To feed the Dolphins you need to follow the rules set out at the Barnicle Dolphin centre, The centre takes very good care of dolphins that come to the feeding session.

You can only feed the Dolphins with fish that you buy at the centre, One important rule is to switch off your flash on your camera, while you are taking pictures of the dolphins, to avoid any injuries to the dolphin’s eyes. It’s also best to have your phone in silent mode. Make sure you have clothes on that you don’t mind, getting wet while you’re feeding the dolphins as you will be standing in the water up to knee-deep. This activity is very popular with families kids just love it.

Dolphin Ferry Cruises

Besides Barnacles Dolphin Center this is the second most popular way to see a Humpback Dolphin. You will spend about 2 hours cruising through the Mandurah wharf watching dolphins. The tours most commonly start at the sunset so you can enjoy the sunset as well. The staff and captain are very friendly and can provide you with a lot of information. You can also have a drink and food while you are on the boat.

You may get to experience Dolphins playing under the boat, as well to see other animals such as dugongs. This is very popular among families who experienced this have all highly recommended it.

Fraser Island Tour

Fraser Island is located very close to Tin Can Bay If you come to visit why not take your time and go see Fraser Island as well. Fraser Island is listed as a World Heritage site with its long beaches and rain forests. This Island is the biggest sand island in the world, It’s also a very unique place to visit with plenty of sights you will never see elsewhere.

The Island is around 123 km long, with the most amazing and beautiful landscapes featuring amazing sand dunes, beautiful rain forests and more than 100 freshwater lakes located on the Island.

The Island is only accessible by boat, you can book a tour from Rainbow Beach, you also have the chance to see whales in the waters near Fraser Island if you visit from July to November.

Rainbow beach

Rainbow beach is located right next to Tin Can Bay, and you easily drive to it and spend the day on the surf beach. You can book a lesson and learn how to surf on the beach. Rainbow beach got its name from its beautiful coloured sand with as many colours as a rainbow. There are up to 72 different coloured areas of sand on this beach. It has some of the most amazing sand dunes as well. You can find Cooloola National Park close by where you can go bird watching,  or photographic tour, many visitors just sit and enjoy amazing flora and fauna that can be found in this park.

Boat Hire

You can hire a boat at “Tin Can Bay Boat Hire”. The water around the Tin Can is well protected from the ocean. So you can enjoy the peaceful waters of Tin Can Inlet and Snapper Creek. There are many activities you can do when hiring a boat. You can go fishing, bird watching, sailing, sightseeing. There is also an option to rent a houseboat or yacht. “Tin Can Bay Yacht Club” is the place where you can hang out with other like-minded people and enjoy its great restaurant food.

Sport activities

Tin Can Bay Country club with an 18 hole golf course. If you’re in the mood for food after golfing the day away, You will find great food, cold beer and company here. The county club has golf practise facilities as well. The club is family-friendly a playroom with a lot of games for kids. There are two bowls clubs and tennis courts as well. You can also find an outdoor swimming pool for those that don’t like the beach. For more things to do why not check out our things to do page here.

Tin Can Bay Seafood festival

This festival is held in September every year. Many local families come to hang out and have fun. The festival is located on Tin Can Bay foreshore. Adults can enjoy a huge range of local beers, the kids can visit the animal farm, camel rides, skate park, playgrounds. Live music and dancers are included, So if you find yourself in Tin Can Bay in September you must visit the festival to enjoy great food and drink.


The environmental walkway is a good way to spend your time in Tin Can Bay. You have the option to go on an environmental walk that is 9,5 kilometres long. The walk is along the foreshore of Snapper Creek and Tin Can Inlet. You can also watch the local birds and enjoy the rich flora and fauna of this region,

Shops in Tin Can Bay

There are not many shops in this town but you can find everything you need. There is “Dolphin Shopping Center”. You can buy meat at “Tin Can Bay Family Butcher”, fruits and vegetables at the “Fruit and Veggie Mart”. There are several supermarkets and grocery shops available “IGA supermarket”, You can buy souvenirs at “Jilly’s Handmade & Gifts”. The pharmacy named “Cooloola Pharmacy” is available as well as “Tin Can Bay news agency”.

Overall when it comes to visiting this town it definitely deserves spending some time here. There are many hotels that you the visitor can choose to stay at, plenty of restaurants to enjoy eating great food, and many activities to do. If you love nature, water, animals and fauna this is the right place for you.

There is a lot of great Tin Can Bay History here, and many reasons to see why every year the population of this town goes up and why there are more and more visitors.


The website is run by myself Daniel Clarke, I’m lucky enough to have been living in Hervey Bay, for 29 years so I’m classed as a local I have seen many changes over this time. I have been running websites since early 2000 and also have a tech business in Hervey Bay.

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