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A Seafaring History of Portland, Victoria Apr 18

The city of Portland is home to the only deep-water port between Melbourne and Adelaide. It is located on the far south-west coast of Victoria, midway between Port Fairy and the small town of Nelson, which is near the state border with South Australia. It is also the international gateway for the Green Triangle region.

The port handles bulk commodities in agricultural, forestry, mining, aluminium and fertiliser products. It also exports grain, woodchips, logs, aluminium ingots, livestock and timber products. Imports include alumina, liquid pitch, petroleum coke, sulphuric acid and fertiliser products.

Today, Portland is also known as Victoria’s second fishing port with professional fishing fleets and vessels. Locals and many of the tourists who stay at a Portland hotel also fish for King George whiting, snapper, kingfish, flathead, morwong and bluefin tuna.

Portland, Victoria

Naming the Port

The port’s history started in 1800 when Lieutenant James Grant sailed the Lady Nelson there. He named it Portland Bay in honour of His Grace, the Duke of Portland. By the early 1800s, whalers and dealers took anchorage shelter in Portland while working the strong waters of Bass Strait.

The First Settler

A British man called Edward Henty, who migrated to Western Australia with his family in 1829, arrived at Portland Bay in 1834 during his 34-day voyage of the Thistle. He became the first permanent settler in the Port Phillip district, which was later known as Victoria. His brother, Francis, later joined him to ferry additional stocks and supplies. Soon after, they established a landing place at Portland Bay, which eventually became the town of Portland. Whaling captain, William Dutton, was also a resident.

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