To clear up a common misconception: a cape shank is not the correct name of the knot used by small children pretending to be Superman. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the area in question’s name was an early name for the geological formation now called Pulpit Rock, from an old idiom (and archaic spelling) of the word ‘shank’, meaning a protuberance. The Cape part of the name derives from Martin Alexander Cape, an early explorer of Victoria who traversed almost its entire coastline in 1801, a year before Matthew Flinders’ circumnavigation of the continent (although after Flinders’ proof that Tasmania was separate from the mainland).
Cape was a notorious egotist who rubbed many of those he met the wrong way, and his comparative absence from the history books is a reflection of this: people who disliked him conspired to attribute his acheivements (few though they were) to others, and to delay or outright prevent the publication of his notes and maps.
His final crew, aboard the HMS Thamyris, were probably those who disliked him most, and it was they who persuaded him to take the dangerous overland journey from the mouth of the Murray, travelling north in search of the inland sea that eventually led to Cape’s death near the Timminy Caves outside of Dingo. However, on their way back to Port Jackson, they were stricken by the guilt of their actions, which they attempted to expiate by naming Cape Schanck after him. Several of them later drank themselves to death in Sydney after their participation in the Rum Rebellion.
Suburbs near Cape Schanck: