It was named by Captain Cook when he passed on 25 May 1770, since he found it to be located on the Tropic of Capricorn (which was located at 23°28′15″ in 1770). The modern surveyed location of its endpoint is just slightly south of the present tropic.
Cape Capricorn has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- North eastern tip of Curtis Island: Cape Capricorn Light
A lighthouse was first established on the Cape in 1875. The current lighthouse, dating from 1964, is the third built on the site. The lighthouse, like most along the Queensland coast, is automated.
- "Cape Capricorn (entry 6160)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- "Cape Capricorn Lightstation (entry 601723)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Cape Capricorn". Lighthouses of Queensland. Lighthouses of Australia Inc.