Rockland was settled by European settlers, led by Timothy Hatherly, as a northeastern region of neighboring Abington in 1673. The town separated and incorporated as Rockland on March 9, 1874. It is named for the town’s rocky nature, which was better suited for mills and industry than for farming. During King Philip’s War, the town was the site of an encampment during his raids on the town of Scituate.
During the twentieth century, the town was the site of a portion of the landing strips of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station. The airstrip closed in 1996 as a part of the fourth round of closures under the Base Realignment and Closure Act.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 10.1 square miles , of which, 10.0 square miles of it is land and 0.1 square miles of it (0.79%) is water. Rockland ranks 307th out of 351 communities in the Commonwealth. Rockland is bordered by Weymouth to the northwest, Hingham to the northeast, Norwell to the northeast, Hanover to the east, Hanson to the south, Whitman to the southwest, and Abington to the west. Rockland is eight miles northeast of Brockton, and twenty-two miles south of Boston.
Rockland, as its name suggests, is dominated by rocky lands. There are several ponds throughout the town, including Accord Pond at the junction with Hingham and Norwell, and Studleys Pond (known to local residents as Reeds Pond) just south of Rockland Center, can be seen along Market Street. There are several brooks throughout town, one of which is sourced at the Abington-Rockland Reservoir near the northeast corner of town. Beech Hill lies at the south of town, and Wyman Fields lies to the north of it. There are several parks throughout the town, as well as a small town forest just south of the Naval Air Station.
A short stretch (2/3 of a mile long) of Massachusetts Route 3 crosses the northeast corner of town, granting access to Route 228, which terminates just south of the highway. Route 123 and Route 139 pass from west to east just south of the center of town, running coextensively for roughly 2/3 of a mile.
A spur of the Old Colony Line formerly ran through the town; that line is now abandoned. The Old colony line does, however, pass through neighboring Weymouth, Abington and Whitman, as part of the Kingston-Route 3 line of the MBTA’s commuter rail. There are stops in South Weymouth (alongside the Naval Air Station) and Abington (just south of Route 123), not far from the town line. There is no commercial air service in town; nearby national and international flights are available at Logan International Airport in Boston, or T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island.