Prior to European settlement, the area was home to the Wardandi people. Early explorers found them to be timid and settlers found them excellent trackers, and many of them found employment on farms. The first sighting of the coast was by Captain A.P. Jonk in the VOC Emeloort, who sighted land at 33°12'S (most likely opposite the estuary from Australind) on 24 February 1658 while looking for the Vergulde Draeck but did not land. A few months later, the Elburg under Capt. J.P. Peereboom landed at what is now Bunbury and met three Aboriginals, returning to Batavia on 16 July 1658. In 1802–03, Nicolas Baudin visited the coast and explored the estuary and nearby rivers, and named Point Casuarina in Bunbury after one of his ships, and the Leschenault Inlet after onboard botanist Jean Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour.