The Tathra area was first settled by European colonists around 1820, outside the Nineteen Counties, the limits of legal settlement at the time. Around 1860 local businessmen funded construction of a wharf (turpentine pilings in solid rock) on Tathra Head and regular shipping commenced. The wharf is the last remaining coastal steamer wharf in NSW and is now a popular fishing and diving spot, with cafes and restaurants open in the summer.