Point Cook is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 25 km south-west from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Wyndham. At the 2006 Census, Point Cook had a population of 14,162.
Point Cook is the home of RAAF Base Williams, Point Cook, the birthplace of the Royal Australian Air Force, and is the current home of the RAAF Museum. The wetlands of the Point Cook Coastal Park form part of the Cheetham and Altona
HISTORY - Early settlers
Point Cook was originally spelt 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 Williams. 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 Williams base at 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 the 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.
In 1996, Point Cook was basically a rural community, with the RAAF Williams 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 1737, 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.
It is predicted that the population of Point Cook will increase to 29,263 by 2011 & 41,474 by 2016. When taking into account the Melbourne 2030 Plan's current urban growth boundary, it is believed that Point Cook's population will peak at approximately 60,000 by the late 2020s.
Areas of Point Cook are currently taking part in Telstra's FTTP (Fibre-to-the-premise) broadband network. Up to 1500 Point Cook homes now have access to some of the fastest residential internet services in the World. This means that upon connection these Point Cook homes will have access to a download capacity of up to 100 Mbit/s. This will involve replacement of the copper with fibre line to the home. This delivers ultra high speed fibre-optic services, including internet, digital free-to-air TV, FOXTEL from Telstra and multiple HomeLine services all from one cable with no need for rooftop antennas or dishes.
Schools in the Suburb of Point Cook:
1.Carranballac Prep - Year 9 College - Jamieson Way Campus
2.Carranballac Prep - Year 9 College - Boardwalk Campus
3.Point Cook College P-9 (Formerly Point Cook Primary School)
4.Point Cook West Catholic Primary School - (Stella Maris Catholic Primary School)
5.Point Cook Catholic Primary School - (Lumen Christi School)
6.Seabrook Primary School
7.Point Cook Senior Secondary College Year 10 - Year 12
8.Emmanuel College: Notre Dame Campus at Point Cook (Co-educational Catholic Secondary School Year 7-12)
9.Point Cook North Primary School Prep - Year 9
The RAAF base contains a museum for visitors; most of what is left are prohibited and restricted areas. The RAAF Williams Base contains a horizon tank (a diving tank, not an armoured fighting vehicle), one of only three in the world. It was used in the television series Moby Dick and Noah's Ark.
The new Point Cook Town Centre has been constructed on the corner of Dunnings Road and Boardwalk Boulevard, with the development including a main street retail and commercial town centre, up to 135 specialty shops, as well as Coles, Aldi , Target, Harris Scarfe, Dick Smith Electronics, Growers Fresh, Pharmacy Select and Reject-Shop outlets. There is also a food court which seats over 400 people. Stage 1 had a grand opening on August 21, 2008 with Stage 2 opening at the end of November 2009. In 2010 Victoria's largest Dan Murphys store and Vast Furniture store opened. Apart from this Sanctuary Lakes shopping centre is now undergoing a major revamp with Kmart and Aldi coming to the centre and additional 30 retailers. 400 new carparks and food court will also be added to Sanctuary Lakes shopping centre.
Separate to this, in the neighbouring suburb is the Williams Landing development. Williams Landing will be developed into a Transit-oriented development, major activity centre and employment node. Williams Landing will be built on land that was, up until the 1980s the airfield & runway of the RAAF Base Laverton, which is situated on the northern edge of Point Cook. Williams landing will be next to the planned and approved future Williams Landing railway station), just across Princes Freeway and for residents of Point Cook will be accessed via Palmers Road. Construction of Williams Landing is due to commence in early 2008 and is due to be completed by 2025.
Directly south west of Point Cook will be the new development of Wyndham Harbour Marina. Wyndham Harbour marina, a $440 million project, will be the only waterfront development of its kind - just 25 minutes drive from Melbourne's Central Business District and right next to Point Cook. The new marina at Wyndam Harbour will have 1000 wet berths from 10-35 metres including 6 super yacht berths. There will also be a 300 berth dry stack. In addition there will be a new beach built on the Point Cook side of the Marina along with 12 hectares of public recreational space & wetlands. The development will also incorporate water/marina front restaurants & cafes. This development is now under construction since June 2011.
Point Cook is located to the south of the Princes Freeway, and is served by the Point Cook Road and Forsyth Road exits. A Palmers Road offramp opened in March 2008, as an alternate route onto the freeway from Point Cook Road. (Palmers Road is now open as of 27 May 2008.)
The nearest railway stations are at Laverton and Aircraft on the Werribee line. Williams Landing railway station on the Werribee line is proposed to start construction in 2010, on the corner of Palmers Road and the Princes Freeway.
The following bus routes also service the area:
413 Laverton - Werribee Plaza via Seabrook Estate, Point Cook, Hoppers Crossing (every day). Operated by Westrans.
416 Aircraft - Hoppers Crossing via Seabrook Estate, Point Cook (every day). Operated by Westrans.
1.Point Cook Football Club (PCFC)
2.Point Cook Cricket club (PCCC)
3.Point Cook Jets Soccer Club (PCJSC
Golfers play at the course of the Sanctuary Lakes Club on Point Cook Road.
Tourist attractions in Point Cook include:.
1.Point Cook Homestead
2.Point Cook Coastal Park
3.Point Cook RAAF Museum
Tourist attractions neighbouring Point Cook include:.
1.Werribee Open Range Zoo - African safari world
2.Werribee Park Mansion
1.Anthony Callea - Anthony Callea spent his teenage and early adult years sleeping with his parents in Point Cook.
2.Archie Thompson - Socceroo and marquee striker for Melbourne Victory Football Club.
(Information courtesy of Wikipedia and related references)