Spring Bay was an early whaling port, and settlers arrived by 1830, with land grants given to Captains Vicary and MacLaine near Triabunna, and Walpole at Orford. Soldiers were stationed at Triabunna, to protect them. Access was from the sea until a road was constructed in the 1840s and the Prosser River was bridged in 1869. Two quarries shipped their freestone direct to Melbourne. In 1903 Jones and Co set up a large apple orchard and the town of Triabunna grew.
The orchard ceased after the Second World War, but fishing then developed, and since 1973 the woodchipping mill has given employment. Other industries have been boat building; processing fish and fishmeal, and alginates from seaweed; and growing oysters. In the 1990s Orford developed as a holiday destination.
Judie Hastie and Joyce Dunbabin