Important port city on the western Victorian coast
Portland, located on the western shore of Portland Bay, is a scenic holiday destination and deep sea port which lies between Adelaide and Port Phillip. It is the major exporting centre for the produce of south-western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia - principally wool and grain. It has a robust economy which is driven primarily by an aluminium smelter, the fertiliser industry, wool stores, and the fishing industry which focuses on crayfish, lobsters, shark, abalone and deep-sea trawling. Portland's primary attractions include an extensive collection of historic buildings, beaches which are family friendly and Portland Bay which is ideal for boating, fishing, sailboarding and surfing.
Portland is located on Portland Bay 358 km west of Melbourne via Geelong and 75 km east, by road, from the South Australian border. It is 45 metres above sea level.^ TOP
Origin of Name
In December, 1800 Lieutenant James Grant sailed by the bay on the Lady Nelson and named it after the British Home Secretary, William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Walk in the Footsteps of Mary MacKillop
There is a very detailed brochure - Walk in the Footsteps of Mary MacKillop - which can be downloaded at https://www.glenelg.vic.gov.au/Files/WalkintheFootstepsofMaryMacKillop-A3Version.pdf. It covers places of interest relating to Mary MacKillop as well as a number of buildings which were well established in the town between 1862-1866 when MacKillop lived in the area.
Some Background - Why Mary MacKillop was in Portland
In 1862 Mary MacKillop, who was 19 at the time, arrived in Portland to take up the job of governess to the children of Mrs Cameron Duncan, a relative of the MacKillop family. In October 1863 she was employed as a teacher at the local Common School. She remained there for two years during which time she rented Bay View House in Bentinct Street. Her family came to live with her. In 1864 she established the Bay View House Seminary for Young Ladies while continuing to teach at the Common School. In January 1866 MacKillop, and her sister Lexie, returned to Penola to establish the Sisters of Saint Joseph and a school for poor children with the help of her mentor, Father Julian Tenison Woods.
There is a self-guided tour, mostly around Bentinct Street and Percy Street, which includes 24 places of interest which were part of Mary MacKillop’s life in Portland. The most important are the All Saints Catholic Church (1857-62). Mary MacKillop worshipped here from 1862 to the start of 1866 and acted as the sacristan. The Christian Community College (199 Bentinct Street) which has been built around, and completely incorporates, a 6-room stone-and-iron house built for Stephen Henty in 1851. Mary MacKillop rented that house (then known as 'Bay View') from 1863 to 1866 and reunited her scattered family. She established her first school on this property. When Father Woods visited the MacKillops he stayed in the stables and these remain. There is also good information at http://www.visitmarymackillop.com.au/building-on-a-dream-portland.html.
Walk Portland's Pride
There is an excellent, downloadable and interesting walk around Portland with a brochure titled Walk Portland's Pride. It can be downloaded at https://www.glenelg.vic.gov.au/Files/WalkPortlandsPride-A3.pdf. It starts at the Visitor Centre, moves around the foreshore including the Historic Precinct, the Court House, the Botanic Gardens and goes right around Fawthrop Lagoon before heading back past the Powerhouse Museum, the Round House and back along Bentinck Street to the Visitor Centre.
Of particular interest are:
1. The Portland Maritime Discovery Centre
The Portland Maritime Discovery (it includes the local Visitors' Centre) is located on the foreshore of Portland off Lee Breakwater Road. It has displays which highlight the rich local maritime history which includes whaling, navigation, rescue, shipwrecks, marine life, marine exploration and diving equipment, technical maritime instruments, the local fishing industry and the story of European immigration and settlement. Of particular importance are the 1858 wooden lifeboat which is one of the oldest in Australia; the skeleton of a 14 metre sperm whale; and the story of the wreck of the Admella. It is open 9.00 am - 5.00 pm daily, tel: (03) 5523 2671 or 1800 035 567.
4. History House
Located at 75 Cliff Street, History House uses the former Town Hall as a museum dedicated to local history. It looks at the history of the region from the indigenous inhabitants to the arrival of Europeans and subsequent establishment of a settlement in Portland Bay. It covers the achievements of the Henty Brothers; Portland Bay as the site of an influx of assisted immigrants to Australia in the 1850's; the centenary celebrations of 1934 and the various volunteer militia groups of the mid to late 19th century. It is located in the old bluestone Town Hall which was built in 1863 and is open from 10.00 am to midday and 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm daily, tel: (03) 5522 2266. Check out https://www.glenelg.vic.gov.au/History_House_Portlands_Social_History_Museum for more details.
6. Almond Tree Triangle and Immigration Depot Memorial
Located on the corner of Cliff Street and Glenelg Street, this is a bronze plaque which marks the site where an Immigration Depot was built in 1853. The Immigration Depot was built in an attempt to persuade immigrants from Britain to stop and settle in the Victorian western district. There is a fascinating article about the immigrants at http://glenelglibraries.vic.gov.au/historictreasures/stories/assisted-immigration in which Anne Grant, the President of the Portland Family History Group, explains that "Between 1851 and 1857 a total of 11,395 people made the journey from Great Britain across the perilous seas to the shores of Portland Bay under the assisted immigration scheme ... the assisted immigration scheme saw a total of 38 ships arrive in the bay over six years ... "On the immigrants' arrival, after all the official immigration business was finished, a red flag would go up at the immigration depot signifying there was labour for hire," Anne says. "Locals would go down to the depot with their labour 'shopping list' and find the right person for the job they had on offer. Establishing a new colony was very people-intensive – anyone with a degree of literacy or trade skills could usually get work and there was a lot of opportunity for people who wanted to make a new life for themselves and their families."
7. Botanic Gardens
Located at the eastern end of Glenelg Street are the Botanic Gardens. The gardens curator, William Allitt, began work on the Gardens in 1857 with the assistance of Ferdinand von Mueller who was the curator of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. The land was prepared with the help of 80 Chinese prisoners from Portland Gaol. There are croquet lawns, historical trees and particularly impressive floral displays which include 300 varieties of roses, 130 varieties of dahlias and rare species including Cordyline Australis, Wigandia Caracasana and Rhus Viminalis. The grounds contain an attractive two-storey bluestone caretaker's cottage built in 1858 for William Allit who had worked at Kew Gardens in London, tel: (03) 5523 3959 or check out https://www.iamportland.com.au/attractions/cottage-in-the-gardens.
11. & 12. Fawthrop Lagoon
Captain James Fawthrop, born in Plymouth, became Portland's first harbour master in 1853. He lived and worked in Portland until he retired to Windsor Cottage (demolished in 1969) in 1868. Fawthrop Lagoon, named after him and located off Glenelg Street, is a natural wetland close to the centre of Portland. It offers 5 km of easy walking tracks (it is 2.2 km to walk around the lagoon - it takes around 30-40 minutes) and bird watching opportunities. Over 150 species of bird have been recorded. There is a birdhide and it is common to see Black Swans, Pacific Black Ducks, Royal Spoonbills, Pelicans and White Ibis. If you are lucky (because they are rarer) you might also see Red-Kneed Dotterels, Red Tailed Black Cockatoos and Black-Fronted Dotterels. The lagoon's vegetation includes Manna Gum, Swamp Gum, Cherry Ballart, Wooly Tea-Tree, Austral Bracken, Chaffy saw-edge, Coast saw-sedge, Sea Rush and Austral Sea-blite. These are important salt marsh species. For more information and a downloadable map, check out https://swarh2.com.au/assets/A/1240/2022b2efc7812d83e243b5d76b7a3b96/Portland%20Fawthrop%20Lagoon%20Walk.pdf.
17. Steam Packet Inn
The Steam Packet Inn is located at 33 Bentinck St. It is recognised as one of the oldest structures in Portland having been built in 1841-1842 on land purchased in the town's first allotment sales (in 1840) and with timber brought across from Van Diemen's Land. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database which explains that "The building comprises a timber frame covered with hand-split, bead edge weatherboards. It is an example of balloon-frame construction, in which studs extend from the ground to the ceiling of the second storey. This method, first introduced in the United States in 1833, was so-named on account of the lightness of its frame, which made it a cheap and easy to construct. The Dutch gable or jerkin head gable roof was originally clad in hardwood timber shingles; these were later covered with iron, but the roof has since been re-clad in timber shingles. There are two chimneys: one serving double fireplaces on two floors (though one appears to have been closed off), and the other serving the rear kitchen and the corresponding room on the first floor. At the attic level there are three dormer windows on both the east and west slopes of the roof. The building comprises six main rooms on the ground floor, with a central passageway, and five main rooms on the first floor, which is accessed by a timber stairway. There were formerly two 2-bedroom cottages and a number of outbuildings on the site. In 1857, the hotel was described as offering '6 parlours and 11 bedrooms besides bar, bar parlour and bedroom. Large kitchen and servants rooms, wash house, outhouses, etc, stabling for 19 horses and 3 sheds for gigs'.
The interior of the building is lined with timber boards, and originally these were lined in wallpaper over hessian. Accumulations of wallpaper, dating from the 1850s, survive in the upstairs attic rooms. There are pressed-metal ceilings to the main ground floor rooms. Timber lining to some of the ceilings uses the British closed-board (or overlapping) method. In several rooms the floors are covered in linoleum laid during various different periods. The original front verandah has been replaced in the same style." For more detailed information check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/936.
Other Historic Places of Interest
Located at 89 Wellington Road, this two storey stucco-rendered bluestone house was constructed in 1864 for Major Alexander Davidson. The house is designed in a style similar to Gothic style villa architecture with the symmetrically conceived facades ornamented with picturesque bay windows and window label mouldings. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database. Check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/113277.
Portland World War II Memorial Lookout
The World War II Memorial Lookout Tower in Wade Street offers 360° panoramic views of Portland and the surrounding district. Standing 25 metres it was built as a water tower in the 1930s. In 1996 it was converted into a lookout and museum with displays relating to Portland's involvement in World War II. It is open daily from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm, tel: (03) 5523 3938 or check out http://www.visitportland.com.au/portland-world-war-11-memorial-lookout.
Burswood House and Gardens
Located at 15 Cape Nelson Road, Burswood is a single-storey bluestone Regency-style mansion built in 1853 for pioneer settler Edward Henty who brought the framework, 18,000 hardwood shingles and 2500 bricks from Tasmania. There is an extensive entry in the Victorian Heritage Database which notes: "Burswood is the most important early mansion house in western Victoria, being an exceptional Australian regency design by distinguished colonial architect James Barrow ... colonial pioneer Edward Henty lived in his mansion for 17 years in a semi-regal state."
The Database makes particular mention of the garden as being of statewide cultural significance "As a fine example of a marine villa, erected for a pioneering pastoral family in a period when the Western District's economic dominance was only just beginning to be challenged by gold discoveries; the architecture and siting of Burswood incorporated many of these attributes of the marine villa, the ornamental glazed verandah being especially redolent of the English prototype; - For the retention of a fine and intact early garden, amongst the earliest surviving domestic gardens in Victoria; major attributes include the drive, carriage loop, separate garden compartments, works such as early fencing and gates, the intact plan form and overall design, major trees and shrubberies, the distinction between cultivated garden and rural paddocks, and the unchanged relationship between house and garden." For more details check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/68064.
Portland Powerhouse Motor and Car Museum
Located at 23 Glenelg Street, the Powerhouse Motor and Car Museum is home to a collection of veteran, vintage and classic cars and motorcycles, a Penny Farthing bicycle, a 1920s Melbourne cable tram, stationary engines, antique signs, petrol pumps, tools, model cars, tractors, garage equipment and other memorabilia. It is open seven days from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, tel: (03) 5523 5795. Check out http://www.visitportland.com.au/powerhouse-car-nuseum for more information.
Located on Victoria Parade and pointed directly at the grain silos, the Portland Battery was built in 1889 during a period when there was a fear of a Russian invasion. The battery comprises a magazine, upper chamber, a parapet wall, and three gun emplacements. There was a major restoration in 1984. There are three cannons - an 80 pounder rifled muzzle-loading gun which was always at the battery and 32 and 68 pounder smooth bore guns on wooden carriages which were brought to the battery at a later date. Check out https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/23736.
Other Attractions in the Area
Port of Portland
There are three large shiploaders located at the port. (i) A grain and woodchip ship loader on KS Anderson wharf is capable of loading 1,200 tonnes per hour for grain and 900 tonnes per hour for woodchips. A mobile woodchip ship loader on No. 6 berth is capable of loading woodchips at 900 tonnes per hour. (ii) A mobile shiploader located on berth No. 5 is capable of loading mineral sands at 1,500 tonnes per hour. (iii) A vacuum ship unloader and conveyor system at the Smelter berth transports alumina, petroleum coke and aluminium fluoride products 5 km to the Portland Aluminium Smelter. Pipelines are located at KS Anderson No. 2 berth for transfer of sulphuric acid and liquid pitch to nearby storage tanks."
Point Danger Coastal Reserve and the Gannet Colony
Located to the south of Madeira Packet Road is the Point Danger Coastal Reserve. It lies beyond the aluminium smelter. There is a viewing area which overlooks Lawrence Rocks where it is estimated there is a colony of over 6,000 gannets. This is the largest nesting site of the Australasian gannet in the Southern Hemisphere. There is an excellent and detailed discussion of the gannet colony on pages 11-12 of the Biology Society of South Australia newsletter. See http://biologysocietysa.com/files/Newsletters/Issue37.pdf. It explains: "Point Danger is Australia's only mainland colony of Australasian Gannets and is located approximately 6 kilometres outside the township of Portland in western Victoria. It is unusual in the fact that the breeding of Australasian Gannets is normally restricted to rocky offshore islands. The gannets bred for centuries on Lawrence Rocks, located 2 kilometres south- southeast of the mainland. In October 1996, due to overcrowding, some of the colony relocated to Point Danger. When the pioneering gannets left the crowded Lawrence Rocks for nearby Point Danger, they became vulnerable to the mainland threats of humans and introduced predators, mainly feral cats and foxes. In the first year of mainland living, the birds failed to nest successfully and produced no offspring because of disturbance. Today the colony is protected through programs implemented jointly by the Victoria state government's environmental authority, the local community, and the Alcoa's Portland Aluminium smelter. To protect the colony from humans and predatory animals an electrified fence was erected, but the most unusual thing is that Italian Maremma dogs were employed to guard the colony from exotic predators."
Cape Nelson State Park
Cape Nelson State Park (243 ha) is located 10 km south of the centre of Portland . It features dramatic rugged cliffs; a species of eucalyptus known as soap mallee (eucalyptus diversifolia) which is found nowhere else in Victoria; several other rare plant species including Drooping Velvet Bush, Coast Ground-berry, Mountain daisy and Bog sedge; diverse birdlife and the impressive Cape Nelson historic lighthouse. There is an excellent map and Park Note at https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/725540/Cape-Nelson-State-Park-Visitor-Guide.pdf.
Of particular interest are:
* Sea Cliff Nature Walk - 3 km, a 90 minute circuit - The loop track focuses on the area's natural history, leading west through scrubland, open countryside and along the cliff-line which offers panoramic views. Binoculars are recommended.
* Cape Nelson Lighthouse and Walk - There is an easy 6 km, 120 minute loop around the coast to the lighthouse. Alternatively, it is possible to drive to the end of Cape Nelson Road where the lighthouse stands over the entrance to Bass Strait. The top of the tower is 123 metres above the sea and offers fine views.
The lighthouse was completed in 1884 with local stone, some of which was quarried and carted 21 km to the site. In 1934 it was upgraded to generator electricity and in 1987 it was connected to mains electricity. The lighthouse is 10 metres from its base and there are two lighthouse keepers' residences which are available for rental. Tours of the lighthouse occur at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm daily For more details check https://lighthouses.org.au/vic/cape-nelson-lighthouse. Bookings for tours and accommodation can be had at https://www.capenelsonlighthouse.com.au.
Mt Richmond National Park
Located 25 km north-west of Portland, the Mt Richmond National Park (1733 ha) is created around an extinct volcano. formed of porous rock covered with a layer of sand blown inland from Discovery Bay. It was named after Richmond Henty, Stephen Henty's oldest son and one of the first white children born in the area.
The park is noted for its Blackwood Wattles, its spring wildflowers and abundant wildlife including koalas, echidnae, wallabies, Long-nosed potoroos, Eastern grey kangaroos, copperhead and tiger snakes, Emus, Crimson Rosellas, Ganggang Cockatoos, Currawongs, honeyeaters, thornbills, wattlebirds, Silvereyes, robins, finches and treecreepers. Among the less common bird species are the Southern Emu-wren, Beautiful Firetail, King Quail and Rufous Bristlebird. There are over 450 plant species, including 50 varieties of orchid. Correas, heaths, wattles and Bush Peas provide spectacular colours in spring. Trees in the park include Brown Stringybark, Manna Gum, Shiny-leaf Peppermint, Swamp Gum and Swamp Paperbark. A number of pleasant walking tracks - there are four main ones - lead though heathland and forest.
* Benwerring Nature Walk - one hour - introduces visitors to the fauna and flora of the park
* Noels Walk - one hour - passes through forests of stringybark and Swamp Gum.
* West Walk - one hour - has excellent ocean views
* Ocean View Walk - one hour - views across to Discovery Bay and Cape Bridgewater.
A sealed road leads to a lookout tower on top of Mt Richmond which offers panoramic views of Discovery Bay, Cape Bridgewater and Portland. Visitors can enjoy picnicking (there are wood barbecues), birdwatching, walking and wildflowers. There is a useful Park Note, which includes a map and can be downloaded at https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/315610/Park-note-Mount-Ricmond-National-Park.pdf.
The Great South West Walk
The Great South West Walk, established in 1981, is a 250 km circular walking track which starts and finishes at Portland. Constructed by community groups it initially heads north through farmland, veering westwards through native forests and the Lower Glenelg National Park, following the southern bank of the Glenelg River to its mouth near Nelson, then returning eastwards along the coastline through Discovery Bay National Park. It then reaches Descartes Bay and passes around Cape Bridgewater, past The Springs, the Petrified Forest, the seal colony, Bridgwater Bay, Cape Nelson, Point Danger and back to Portland. Sections are accessible by car to allow shorter day or weekend walks. There is a hugely useful website. Check out http://www.greatsouthwestwalk.com.
Narrawong is located 16 km north-east of Portland via the Princes Highway. It is a small town with a holiday park and a pleasant beach. Heading north on Boyers Road takes visitors to Saw Pit Picnic Area in Narrawong State Forest. There is a replica of the old sawpit and a number of walks and tracks through the forest which are both bushwalks and mountain bike tracks. There is a walk - Whalers Lookout Walking Track - which leads to Whaler's Point where the local Aborigines watched for whales. They lit fires to alert whalers who then made the kill and gave some of the whale meat to the Aborigines.
Cobboboonee National Park and Jackass Fern Gully Walk
Located 44 km north of Portland via the Portland-Nelson Road, is Cobboboonee National Park. The park is a combination of lowland forests, heathlands and wetlands and has a number of interesting walking trails, two horse trails and six camp sites. Of particular interest is the Jackass Fern Gully Campground which is located at the headwaters of the Fitzroy River. In the early days of European settlement it was used as a crossing site and a watering place for bullock teams hauling logs from the forest. The site got its name from the distinctive Soft Tree Ferns which grow in the moist valley beside the Fitzroy River. Other ferns include fishbone ferns and maidenhair ferns. The ferns are protected and shaded by Blackwood Wattles and Hazel Pomadreeis which grow in the area. There is an interesting Jackass Fern Gully Walk which starts at the Jackass Picnic Ground and is an easy to medium grade walk of 6 km which takes 90-120 minutes. The track heads up the hill to Mt. Van Dyke, joins the Great South West Walk before crossing the Fitzroy River Bridge, and follows the track back towards the river and onto the T&W Road. There is a detailed map and information about the National Park at https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/314536/Park-note-Cobbobonee-National-Park.pdf.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the Portland district was occupied by the Kerrup-Tjmara people of the Gundidjmara language group.
* As early as 1798 Matthew Flinders reported the rich seal colonies on the Furneaux Islands in Bass Strait. This led to a sealing industry on the southern coast.
* In December 1800 Lieutenant James Grant passed the bay and named it after the Duke of Portland.
* In 1802 the French navigator Nicolas Baudin sailed along the coast.
* From 1819 the bay at Portland was used by whalers and sealers.
* In 1828 and 1829 William Dutton visited the bay on two sealing expeditions.
* By 1829 Dutton had built a hut and was using it for his sealing expeditions.
* In March 1833 Dutton, acting for a Captain Griffiths of Launceston, established a whaling factory on the bay for the extraction and shipping of whale oil and whale bone.
This industry employed seasonal whalers, factory hands, shipwrights, sailmakers, coopers, blacksmiths, bricklayers and other artisans. Buildings were erected and Dutton grew potatoes and other vegetables. The fishery resulted in the establishment of Portland Bay as a port.
* In 1833 Edward Henty stopped at Portland Bay to pick up whale oil for the family company in Launceston. He made a favourable report of the immediate environs to his father Thomas Henty who decided the land at Portland Bay was suitable for the establishment of a branch of the family firm.
* Sometime in 1833-1834 a massacre of local Aborigines, known as the Convincing Ground Massacre, occurred in the district. Problems were created when a beached whale was claimed by both the Gundidjmara and the sealers who laid claim to the carcass.
* Edward Henty arrived with stock and servants to manage the operation in November 1834.
* In December 1834 Edward Henty was joined by his brother Frank who brought with him the first merino sheep in Victoria. Apart from grazing they also engaged in whaling, sealing and cropping.
* In November 1835 the Henty family began shearing the first sheep in Victoria. They also planted Victoria's first grape vines.
* Surveyor and explorer Thomas Mitchell visited Portland Bay in August 1836. He was amazed to find the settlement in existence. Mitchell noted 200 people living around Portland.
* Inspired by Mitchell's reports of good land to the north of Portland, the Henty family moved inland in 1837. The port became the point of export for their produce.
* There were at least seven whaling establishments at Portland Bay by 1838.
* By 1838 40 boats were whaling in the bay.
* In 1839 the local Police Magistrate, Foster Fyans, estimated the population at 290.
* A total of 5,000 tons of oil and 5,000 hundredweight of whalebone were exported from Portland between 1833 and 1843.
* Only twelve whales were killed in the bay between 1851 and 1868.
* A survey of the town was carried out from November 1839
* Land sales started in 1840, despite the objections of the Henty family.
* After 1840 a police magistrate was appointed. Around this time six hotels and four churches were built.
* The Portland Mercury (Victoria's second-oldest newspaper) was established in 1842.
* By 1842 there were tracks from Portland to Hamilton and Coleraine. That year saw Anglican and Presbyterian schools open in the town.
* A Wesleyan chapel was opened in 1842. That year saw the opening of the Steam Packet Hotel.
* An immigration depot was opened in 1843. The Henty pier was built that same year.
* The first local Court House was opened in 1844.
* In 1846 the town got its first trading bank. That year saw the first jetty built. It was about 150 metres long.
* The first savings bank was opened in 1847.
* A Customs House was opened in 1849.
* Shipping activity was further intensified by the goldrushes of the 1850s and 1860s.
* Portland was proclaimed a borough in 1855.
* A National School opened in 1856.
* The Station Pier was built in 1857.
* A new pier was built in 1859.
* In 1861 the population reached 2,804.
* The railway from Ballarat opened in 1862.
* The settlement was declared a borough in 1863.
* Mary MacKillop arrived at Portland in 1862 to act as governess to the daughters of Mrs Duncan Cameron. She became sacristan at All Saints Catholic Church.
* In 1863 McKillop obtained her first formal teaching position at a local common school (now All Saints Primary School).
* In 1864 McKillop set up a seminary for 'young ladies', teaching school subjects, as well as drawing, singing and music.
* Mary McKillop left Portland in January 1866 to return to Penola in South Australia.
* By the end of the 1860s Portland had become a thriving commercial centre.
* A meat-preserving works opened in 1869.
* In 1873 a fish-preserving company and a wool-selling operation were established.
* Work on a breakwater was started but it was abandoned in 1873.
* The railway from Hamilton arrived in 1877. That same year a rail link to Heywood opened.
* Prisoners were employed to open up the creek to form an inland fishing basin. it was completed in 1891.
* A deep-water pier, the Ocean Pier, was constructed between 1898 and 1901.
* A butter factory was opened in 1902.
* Portland celebrated its centenary in 1934.
* Portland was declared a town in 1949. That same year a major harbour development program was organised.
* A harbour trust was established in 1950.
* Between 1953-1960 a major harbour was constructed. It became a commercial, all-weather port in 1960.
* A fish cannery was opened in 1962.
* The first successful wool auction was held in the town in 1963.
* The ALCOA aluminium smelter was started in 1979.
* In November, 1984 Victoria's 150th anniversary celebrations commenced at Portland.
* Portland won an award in 1984 for its innovative work in harnessing geothermal energy from the artesian basin. It is now a major source of energy to Portland's municipal buildings.
* The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Portland in 1985. It was declared a city that year.
* Full production at ALCOA occurred in 1988.
* In 1996 the port was purchased by two investment funds.
* In 1998 the Maritime History and Visitor Centre was opened.
* In 2007-2008 the Portland Wind Farm was opened.^ TOP
Portland Visitor Information Centre, Lee Breakwater Road, tel: 1800 035 567 or (03) 5522 2135, open 9.00 am - 5.00 pm daily.^ TOP