Pelican Waterhole was the original name of the settlement of Winton, and the original settlement was situated about one and a half kilometres from Winton. It consisted mostly of a tent city with only a few buildings. After being flooded out in 1876, the settlement was moved to its current location, to avoid flooding, and renamed to Winton. There are still remnants of the previous settlement at the site.
Legend has it that Winton was renamed by the Postmaster of the time, Robert Allen, who found the name Pelican Waterhole too cumbersome to write on postage stamps. He called the settlement after the suburb in Bournemouth, England, in which he was born.