The town is named after George Bass who explored and named Western Port bay in 1798 in a small whaling boat and sailed some distance up the Bass river. A memorial to George Bass stands in the George Bass Park.
Located near the town is Wildlife Wonderland, which features the Giant Earthworm Museum. This building allows tourists to crawl through a magnified replica of a worm burrow and a simulated worm’s stomach. Displays and educative material on the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, which can grow up to 3 metres in length, and other natural history of Gippsland are also featured.