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Port Fairy Historical Society Port Fairy, 3284

The society was formed in 1963 as a centre for local research into the early history of the town and it's pioneer families. From modest beginnings, the organisation has grown to a membership of more than 120, with a much wider range of interests.

In 1992 the society was able to negotiate the lease of the historic Courthouse building in Gipps Street, Port Fairy, which was renamed The History Centre.

The Courthouse is one of over fifty buildings in Port Fairy classified by the National Trust as essential to the heritage of Australia and which must be preserved. It was built in 1859, with the portico added in 1869, and a further three rooms at the rear in 1874, to make the building as it is today. At the time of construction, it was the only Courthouse in the Western District of Victoria, and housed sittings of the Supreme Court and County Courts as well as General Sessions. It remained in use until 1988, when its last function, as a Licensing Court, was transferred to Warrnambool.

Much of the work of the society involves the development of the Courthouse as a museum and archives, and includes participation in the Museum Accreditation Program with which we have been accredited since 1998. The main courtroom houses a display of the original court furniture, with figures in costume. Five other rooms contain both permanent and temporary exhibitions on themes such as the early pioneers of the district, the whaling era in Port Fairy, local shipping and wrecks along the coast.

Contact Information

location
30 Gipps Street Port Fairy 3284 (map)
phone
+61 0355682263
Contact

Opening Hours

2pm to 5pm Wednesday and Saturday. Sunday 10.30am to 12.30pm winter hours 2 pm to 4 pm Saturdays only (July, August) Between September 9 2018 and September 21 2018 The Museum will be closed to put up a major exhibition From 22nd of September to 7th October the Museum will be open from 10Am To 12noon and reopen from 2pm to 5pm everyday. We will then resume our usual hours as above after these dates

Entry Fee

$5 adult 13 - 18 years $1 Small children free accompanied by adult

Location

30 Gipps Street Port Fairy 3284

View on Google Maps

Port Fairy and District Local History is our focus from earliest records to present day Documents, photographs, objects, books

Significance

Very early settlement of Victoria, provided one of the first members of the Victorian parliament, one of a very few settlements based on Special Surveys

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1196 items

Photograph - SS Casino Memorial Pt Fairy

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

This Memorial was set up in memory of the nine people who drowned when the S.S.Casino sank in Apollo Bay in 1932.The cement plinth carries a bronze plaque with the names of the nine people who drowned on one side, the propeller, the wreck bell used to alert the lifeboat crew that there was an incident in the bay and for many years a large barometer that was consulted by the local fishermen before setting out to sea. A memorial Service is held each year on July the 10th at 11 am the time that the sinking took place. The Casino was about to celebrate her 50th year of plying the southwest trade route.

Lamp

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

red painted iron stand. Floral printed front three quarter inch burner clear glass chimney

Gravy Boat

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Medium sized gravy boat with small blue/green flowers and scrolls

Photograph - Braim House

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

coloured photograph

Historical information

Braim House was built as a school by Doctor Braim now a private home

Saucepan

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Saucepan with recessed lid

Historical information

Black 4 quarts saucepan with recessed lid and long fluted handle

Inscriptions & Markings

4 quarts-raised lettering on the pot

Photograph - Boodcarra

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photograph

Photograph - Seven prints from T.O'Shannesy's Album(Swan Island)

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white Photograph

Historical information

Seven prints from T.O'Shannesy's Album(Swan Island)

Mixer, Horlick's

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Cylindrical glass container with pouring lip with measurements in ounces and grams, metal plunger with finger loop at to with perforated base

Historical information

Kept for it's curiosity

Inscriptions & Markings

'Horlicks Mixer' embossed on glass

Cape

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Cape with black velvet vest, 30cm fine black lace stand up collar bell sleeves of grograin, satin chevron pattern, 20cm beaded fringe, beaded butterfly motifs, lined in satin

Photograph - Seacombe House

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white Photograph

Historical information

Seacombe House Formerly named The Stag Cnr Sackville and Cox Streets Port Fairy John Sanders (Saunders) first came to Port FAiry in charge of the "Sally Ann" owned by the Henty family of Portland. He left the sea behind in 1844 and established the "Sally Ann Inn" named for his old ship, on the site of the present day Star of the West hotel. After selling the Sally Ann Inn to John Taylor he acquired the land on the South west corner of Sackville Street and erected a detached cottage facing Sackville Street for which he obtained a licence to sell alcohol and named the premises The Stag Inn. He died in 1850 and his wife leased the Inn to John Mason. By 1852 a large two story rendered bluestone building had been constructed on the corner site. The second un rendered section was probably added in 1854. Abijah John Brown became licencee in 1855 and made the Stag the centre of entertainment for the district, with many balls, dinners and concerts taking place there. It boasted "a billiard room and a twenty stall stables and coach house". By 1861 Abijah Brown had left The Stag and Lennox Trew was now owner and licencee. It came up for sale in 1869 but failed to sell. After Trew's death in 1886 it was sold to a syndicate and opened as a boarding school. It later became a Coffee Palace and Accomodation house named Seacombe House, and in the 1950's a motel was built on the old stable site. It is still a Hotel Motel and a restaurant which has revived the old name of "The Stag".

Brushes,Hair

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Pair of wooden backed bristle hairbrushes in pigskin leather case

Historical information

used by Mr J. Crowe Grocer and business man established Yambuk 1904 and later Port Fairy

Inscriptions & Markings

"Real Ebony" Metal shield inscribed "J.C"

Photograph - St Johns Anglican Church with ivy growing over exterior

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

black and white photograph

Historical information

St Johns Anglican Church with ivy growing over exterior

Bank St from Corner of Sackville Street looking South East

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

This is a rare photograph of Bank Street as there are none of the buildings shown in this photograph left standing.

Stool

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Tall,pine stool with four legs and oval flat seat.

Historical information

LAW CLERK'S STOOL FROM SOLICTOR'S OFFICE (J.W.POWLING)

White net collar

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

White net detachable collar with embroidery

Historical information

Part of a collection of clothing which belonged to F.W. Fry

Photograph - South Beach postcard showing play equipment 1918 or 1919

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photograph

Personal items - Notebook

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Small notebook with embossed metal cover with metal pencil attached.Decoration: Front cover five cherubs in raised frame. Back cover: stylised poppy seed heads and leaves. Ring attached possibly for chatelaine

Significance

Held in significance because of the design and owners. Owners being the Powling Family

Inscriptions & Markings

Some childish drawings on paper inside

Collar, Ladies

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black net collar- embroidered with jet beads and black sequins

Historical information

not recorded

Photograph - Sackville Street

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph after treatment by conservator

Photograph - King George Square

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black & white panoramic photograph

Historical information

King George Square at wharf Port Fairy

Inscriptions & Markings

Town & River Moyne Port Fairy

Black & white photograph - Pt Fairy Girl Guides and Brownies 1948

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Photograph - "The Park", Port Fairy

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photograph

Photograph - St John's Church of England Interior

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

St John's Church of England

Photograph - St John's Church North west cnr

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

St John's Church North west corner complete with tower

Hat, Ladies (7)

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

7 hat trims made of feathers and cloth

Historical information

Possibly from the business of M.Robinson

Certificates,3

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

3 certificates for A.G.Kearney: A. Albert George Kearney, United Grand Lodge (Masons) last of 3 dates 1923. B. A.G.Kearney, Unioted Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons 1928 C. A.G.Kearney, Grand Lodge of Victoria G.L.E. (Buffaloes) 1946

Historical information

Certificates giving recognition to A.G.Kearney for his work with the Societies mentioned thereon. Mr Albert or ("Alby" as he was known) Kearney was a part owner of Kearney, Watts and Son, William Street, Port Fairy, they were builders and ran a n extensive hardware and timber business.

Photograph - South Beach Port Fairy

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Colour photograph South Beach Port Fairy, Looking West

Inscriptions & Markings

South Beach Port Fairy

Gloves

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black leather

Historical information

Worn by Mrs Florence Constance Kelly

Photograph

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

the Chapman Brothers with a copy of their birth certificate, the first white twins born in Port Fairy. framed in a deep wooden frame

Inscriptions & Markings

Extract of birth entry dated 1917 twins born in 1845. Handwritten note-- "The brothers Chapman Alexander and Thomas the first white twins born at Port Fairy 19th April 1845

Flute

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

wood and brass flute

Photograph

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photograph of footballer John Coleman in frame

Historical information

Put together by Mr Frank Pevitt

Inscriptions & Markings

Typed description of John Coleman's connection to Port Fairy. Attended Port Fairy State School to 1937 family lived 88 Gipps Street Port Fairy and his father was the manager of the butter factory nearby

Photograph - The Crags, near Port Fairy

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photograph

Photograph - The beach pavilion South Beach - showing horses and buggies.

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photograph

2 pairs gloves

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

1. female orange brown wrist length brown & beige hand embroidered cuffs. 2. female grey drawn thread work on large scalloped cuffs

Historical information

From Mrs Robinson's shop

Inscriptions & Markings

1. Kosmo (on studs) On sewn in card: 6 D?N 5/11. Stamped: artsilk and cotton/ made in Germany 2. on card:6 1/2 a/c Stamp: as1.

Photograph - H.M.S. Archer, Cutter

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

H.M.S. Archer, Cutter

Bag, Ladies

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black satin embroidered drawstring bag with lace embellishments

Historical information

not recorded

Cape, evening

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Gold velvet evening cape with ruched collar and pleated basque handpainted dragon, flora outlined in gold thread with silk lining

Historical information

not recorded

Photograph - Edward Manley Mayor 1920, 1921, 1928

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and White portrait photograph

Historical information

Edward Manley Mayor of Port Fairy 1920, 1921,1928

Photograph - McLaren, J. Cement Works

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black & white photograph

Canine Tag

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Irregular eight sided brass tag with Australian coat of arms.

Inscriptions & Markings

On face - 1 July 1950 30 June 1951 Regn Dog On Reverse - Regd No 64 Dist No. 48

Photograph - Carriages Pt Fairy Rlwy Stn C1970

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Coloured photograph

Photograph - The Crags

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photographs

Photograph - Boarding School Bay

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

Boarding School bay located on the South Side of Port Fairy. The name is obscure as of origin

Petticoat

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

White lawn undergarment handsewn with lace trim around armholes.

Historical information

not recorded

Photograph - East Beach, Port Fairy - Looking East

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Photograph

Inscriptions & Markings

East Beach, Port Fairy

Photograph - Leura

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Sepia Photograph

Historical information

Leura homestead owned by Dick and Mary Fry. They appear on the verandah in this photo

Object - Comb, Coiffure (2)

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

1. Honey coloured comb for holding hair in place 2. Tortoiseshell mantilla comb

Dress, ladies

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

A short cream taffeta frock for evening/cocktail wear

Historical information

not recorded

Photograph - SS Casino

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

black and white panarama

Historical information

The steamer S.S.CASINO was much loved by the whole Port Fairy community- with the possible exception of some of the fishermen whose boats she ran down! Transport of the large quantities of wool, potatoes, onions, grain, sheep, cattle and other produce grown on the rich lands of the Western District Belfast was served by a plethora of shipping, both sail and steam, but only one of the steamers then in the regular trade (S.S. DAWN) would ever be able to get up the river and reap the cost savings of loading against a wharf. It was not unusual for four steamers to be anchored in the bay at once and for seven or eight different steamers to call during a week. A number of inter-colonial steamers also called to pick up produce for delivery to Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Production in the Western District was increasing and virtually all of that production had to go through one of the western ports in order to reach markets. By 1882 a meeting 15ft. March, 1882, in the office of auctioneer, J.B. HoIden in Cox Street took action and it was unanimously resolved - that the Belfast & Koroit Steamship Company be formed with a capital of £20,000 in 10,000 shares of £2 each". A number of steamers were offered by letter to the fledgling company, including the new and almost sister ships, CASINO and HELEN NICHOLL. The CASINO was on her delivery voyage from England was due to arrive in Warrnambool to load potatoes for Sydney and, initially, arrangements were made for her to call into Port Fairy for inspection by the BKNS Co directors. She eventually proceeded direct to Warrnambool and the Directors inspected her there. Without hesitation they purchased her even though they had to raise a large bank loan to do so. The CASINO arrived in Port Fairy on Saturday, 29th. July, 1882, steaming triumphantly up the Moyne River, and was greeted by crowds, many of whom had driven in from the surrounding countryside, which gave her “loud ringing English cheers". By 1884 the CASINO could not carry all the cargoes available to her and in December of that year the company purchased the new steamer BELLINGER to provide additional capacity. She helped to open up the intermediate ports of Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell, but the BELLINGER was not really suitable for the trade and she was sold in 1887, leaving the CASINO to operate alone -as she was to do for almost all of the next 45 years. The opening of the railway in 1890 decreased the cargo available to the steamers and the economic depression of the early 1890's worsened the situation. The weak soon began to fall by the wayside and when the Portland & Belfast SN Co. decided to go into liquidation in April 1895, the Belfast & Koroit Company bought the Portland Company's steamer DAWN on advantageous terms, a substantial part of the payment being in BKSN Co shares. The BKNS Co and the Howard Smith Line came into direct head to head competition and nearly forced the BKNS Co out of existence. Cargo dropped to such an extent that in 1899, they reached agreement that only one ship would run and that the ship which ran would pay a weekly amount to the competitor to stay out of the trade. This controlled service ceased in1909, and competition intensified when Howard Smith placed the newly built, larger steamer EUMERALLA on the run. The BKNS Co survived this competition and even prospered during it partly by extending on a more regular basis, the CASINO'S voyages to South Australian ports Port Macdonnell, Kingston, Beachport, Robe and, on occasions Adelaide. There were setbacks when, on 20 October 1924, CASINO went ashore at the Kennett River, near Apollo Bay, and again, in February l929, when she struck a submerged object at Warrnambool and had to be beached. The railways placed great competitive pressure on the small steamship company and this pressure was intensified when the Great Depression slashed the market for Western District produce, BKNS Co struggled on, paying dividends in most years, and the company planned a big celebration for the CASINO'S fiftieth anniversary in the trade on 29th July, 1932. Disaster struck soon after 9 o'clock on the morning of Sunday I0 July, 1932 when the CASINO was lost at Apollo Bay together with the lives of 10 crew members.

Photograph - South Beach 1903

Port Fairy Historical Society , Port Fairy

Wide view of coastline at South Beach

Significance

Represents coastline at South Beach in 1903