Newhaven is a rural and holiday township on the eastern end of Phillip Island in Western Port Bay, 85 km in a direct line south-east of Melbourne.
It is the entry point to Phillip Island, since the building of a bridge across the Eastern Passage from San Remo in 1940.
Before the bridge, Newhaven was the most remote part of the island for travellers to and from Melbourne, and rapid tidal movements through the Eastern Passage could make crossings hazardous. Most travellers came by boat from the Mornington Peninsula to Cowes.
Newhaven was described in 1903 in the Australian handbook:
Newhaven was one of four villages on Phillip Island, situated in a farming and fishing community. It was also known as Woody Point. A school was opened in 1890, and in 1914 the Newhaven Boys’ Home was opened. Newhaven’s remoteness recommended it as a place for delinquent youth. A second and similar institution, the Seaside Garden Home, was opened in 1921. In 1928 the Anglican Mission for St James and St John built a handsome two storeyed St Pauls Training Home which absorbed both the other institutions by 1937. By then, there were four small guesthouses in Newhaven, some boat building and a punt across the Eastern Passage (1928).
Despite the opening of the bridge in 1940, Newhaven was bypassed by travellers intent on the Penguin Parade, Cowes or holiday home subdivisions elsewhere on Phillip Island. Substantial housing growth did not occur until the 1970s. In 1973 the Mission closed St Pauls Home for Boys, which provided an opportunity for local residents to establish a private secondary school, Newhaven College (1980) on the property. It became a non-denominational P-12 school.
Newhaven adjoins Cape Woolamai and their combined population quadrupled during 1986-96. The marina, jetty and beach south-west of the bridge are holiday attractions. Newhaven also has a supermarket, public hall, a primary school (123 pupils, 2014), a caravan park, a recreation reserve and a yacht club. To the west is the Newhaven Swamp which is a fauna reserve.
In 2013 Newhaven was nominated as one of the areas determined by the Bass Coast Shire Council as susceptible to flooding by storm surges, wind, wave and tides over the next 80 years.
Census populations have been:
Newhaven & CapeWoolamai
Jean Edgecombe, Phillip Island and Western Port, the author, 1989