The township of Sandy Point, nestled among sand dunes on Waratah Bay, Gippsland is about 25 km south of Foster and about 180 km south-east of Melbourne. East of the township a huge sandspit runs to the narrow mouth of Shallow Inlet, and the broad shallow tidal inlet extends north to the town.
Middens and stone tools found in the sand dunes indicate that Aborigines visited the coast near the inlet, collecting food in season. Sandy Point pastoral run was taken up in the 1850s. After a succession of owners, it was split into several large farms for selection in 1898. The swampy ti-tree flats at the head of the inlet were cleared and drained, and a sea wall built to protect flood prone areas. After pasture improvement, sheep and beef cattle were grazed. A school was established in 1919 to serve the farming families but closed by 1927.
The inlet was fished commercially from the early 1900s. Amateur anglers camped around the inlet, at first using tracks through private properties. The construction of a road in 1938 allowed an increase in camping, but there were still no facilities.
In the 1950s a property of 160 acres on the western side of Shallow Inlet was subdivided. Soon roads were formed and holiday houses built. There was much building activity in the 1980s and by 2005 there were 632 houses. Numbers of rural residential lots have also been sold in the vicinity of Sandy Point. In 1990 there were 170 permanent residents but peak summer holiday periods brought 3500 people to the town.
The village has a supermarket, caravan park and some holiday flats. The area is popular for fishing, boating, swimming and sailboarding. Sailboarding championships have been held on the inlet, said to be some of the best water in Australia. Professional fishing in the inlet was phased out.
The inlet was declared a marine and coastal park in 1986. The beaches and marshes provide an ideal habitat for many migratory wading birds and other shore birds. A small colony of koalas lives in woodland north of Sandy Point township.
Sandy Point’s census populations have been:
At the 2011 census, the median age of residents was 54 years and on census night 10.6% of the houses were occupied.
Vi Pilkington, South of Dividing Creek: a history of Sandy Point, c1977