Rathmines was first settled by Europeans at around 1840. It was named after the town of Rathmines in Ireland. Orchards, vineyards and cattle were the early industries. The first school opened in 1941. A RAAF base operated in Rathmines from 1939 to 1963. The artist Sir William Dobell was at one time responsible for the camouflage of the base.
Rathmines is home to many sporting teams, most notably who play out of Rathmines Oval.
Rathmines is home to Lake Macquarie's first disc golf course, located in park lands at Styles Point.
Rathmines has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "State Suburbs: Rathmines". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- "Rathmines Park, former RAAF Seaplane Base". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01740. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- History of Rathmines (Lake Macquarie City Library)
- Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club
- Rathmines Community Website & Forum