The town was established in 1964 to support the nearby United States Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt. Beginning in the late 1970s, the town began hosting U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to Learmonth Solar Observatory, a defence science facility jointly operated with Australia's Ionospheric Prediction Service.
Code-named Potshot, the spartan base was also developed as an advanced base and rest camp for submariners using the tender USS Pelias. An airfield (now RAAF Learmonth) was constructed to provide fighter defense for the base. Z Special Unit used Potshot as a staging base for Operation Jaywick in September 1943.
Exmouth is one of the few areas in Australia that can boast the "Range to Reef" experience. The Cape Range National Park which has some spectacular gorges is an area of 506 square kilometres and its main area is focused on the west coast of the Cape which provides a large variety of camp sites on the coastal fringe of the Park.
On 22 March 1999, Tropical Cyclone Vance reached category 5 status as it made landfall near Exmouth. This resulted in the highest ever wind gust reported on the Australian mainland of 267 km/h at Learmonth, only 35 km to the south.
Vance caused significant flooding and property damage but there were no deaths.
See article: Exmouth Gulf
Sacrificed: A Navy Crew Left to Die in Cruel Wartime Seas; as the Wreck of HMS Exmouth Is Found, the Horror of Her Sinking Is Recalled
Jun 28, 2001; Byline: GRAHAM GRANT AFTER a sudden explosion, HMS Exmouth plunged to the seabed. Many of her crew died instantly, others...