Portland Town Hall - 150 Years


On 21 September 1863 the foundation stone for the new Portland Town Hall was laid by William Learmonth, Chairman of the Municipality of Portland.

The day was a great occasion and Council declared it a public holiday. A procession from Market Square to Cliff Street was led by the town band. The band was followed by the Volunteer Rifle Corps, various orders of Masons, the Town Councillors, clergy, school children and local citizens. About 1,000 people joined the festivities.

Built at a cost of £617 3d, the new town hall officially opened on Queen Victoria’s birthday, 24 May 1864, but to much less fanfare, with only about 50 people attending the official opening.

An exhibition coming up at Portland Arts Centre commemorates the 150th anniversary years of laying the foundation stone for Portland’s town hall.

A highlight of the exhibition is the original 1862-63 drawings from a Council initiated competition to design the new town hall by two of the three entrants - engineer John Barrows, and winner of the competition, surveyor and architect Alexander Ross. This is possibly the first public showing of these drawings in 150 years.

Also included in the exhibition are photographs showing the changing face of the town hall over time; the trowel used to lay the foundation stone; and portraits of Portland’s past mayors dating from the earliest days of local government in the 1850s to the mid 20th century.

Portland Town Hall housed the administration for the Borough, and later, Town of Portland until 1970.

Now known as “History House”, the former town hall is home to the Portland Family History Group and a social history display from Council’s Cultural Collection.

The exhibition will be officially opened by Glenelg Shire Mayor, Councillor Karen Stephens at 5.30 pm on Tuesday. September 17, 2013. Everyone is welcome to attend. The exhibition continues until 11 October 2013.



15 September 2013


11 October 2013


Cliff Street Portland Victoria 3305


Cliff Street, Portland, Western, VIC, Australia

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Glenelg Shire Cultural Collection

Last updated: 04/09/2013


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Interesting l wonder if my great great great grandfather was there. He was the grandson of Wunget Bourn Bourn or King Billy of Yiyar He was at the 150 when the Borough became a town and was in the local paper announced as the king of the coast.
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