Home / Places To Go / Victoria / Great Ocean Road and West Coast / Discovery Coast / Portland

Portland

  • by

Portland is city of over 10,000 residents and a very large and busy deep water port and the only such port between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Originally a sealing station and then a whaling station, the city has over 100 historically significant buildings including the customs house, watch house, court house and the Steam Packet Inn.

PortlandCustomsOffice
By Mattinbgn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
The old customs house for the port was built of bluestone in 1849-50.  It is the only surviving customs house from the period when Victoria was a colony of New South Wales, and evidence of the importance of Portland as a busy port even at that time.
PortlandOldCourtHouse
The elegant bluestone Portland Court house was built in 1843-45 and with the one addition of a magistrates washroom, is true to its original design. The court house is the oldest surviving in the state and the oldest that is still being used.
PortlandBattery

The Portland Battery was built in 1889 to defend the port from a feared Russian invasion.  The site consists of a magazine, upper chamber, parapet wall and three gun placements. 

Portland cable tram
By The original uploader was Beachieon at English Wikipedia. (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [CC BY-SA 2.5 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Portland was, in fact, the first permanent settlement in Victoria, long before Melbourne was considered. Thirty two years after the French explorer Nicholas Bandin first entered the bay, apart from seal and whaling crews, the first settlement was established by the Henty family, who, after unsuccessful attempts to establish viable farms in South australia or Tasmania, finally settled in the area that is now Portland in 1834.

Then, with the gold rush, the port prospered as it became a main port of arrival for thousands of hopefuls heading for the goldfields.

The settlement has from its origins in the 19th century long relied on fishing and continues to maintain fishing fleets, including for lobster, crab and abalone, as well as, deep sea fishing.

The port today specialises in bulk commodities, including agricultural, forestry, mining products, aluminium and fertiliser