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Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives 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 we have now decided to rename the building “Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives to better describe our activities.

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
Port Fairy Historical Society P.O. Box 152 Port Fairy VIC 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 4pm everyday. We will then resume our usual hours as above after these dates

Entry Fee

$5 adult 12 - 18 years $1 Under 12 free

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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1227 items

1227 items

Photograph - Great Britain Maiden Voyage

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black & white photograph

Historical information

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company's transatlantic service between Bristol and New York she was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic, which she did in 1845, in the time of 14 days. When launched in 1843, Great Britain was by far the largest vessel afloat. However, her protracted construction and high cost had left her owners in a difficult financial position, and they were forced out of business in 1846 having spent all their funds re-floating the ship after she was run aground at Dundrum Bay after a navigational error. In 1852, Great Britain made her first voyage to Melbourne, Australia, carrying 630 emigrants. She excited great interest there, with 4,000 people paying a shilling each to inspect her. She operated on the England–Australia route for almost 30 years, interrupted only by two relatively brief sojourns as a troopship during the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny. Gradually, she earned a reputation as the most reliable of the emigrant ships to Australia and carried the first English cricket team to tour Australia in 1861

Photograph - SS Casino Memorial & Cannons Pt Fairy

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

SS Casino Memorial here the photograph shows the barometer which is now missing & the two large cannons which have occupied positions at the Gardens oval and now reside in the fort on Battery hill.

Painting - 1William Street

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Framed oil painting of 1 William Street Portrait Fairy signed by Jean Wilson

Inscriptions & Markings

To the Port Fairy History Group from Phillip Richie, past owner of 1 William Street.37cm Artist: Jean Wilson

Back of Port Fairy Hospital looking south

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Sepia photograph

Historical information

The land for this building was granted to the Benevolent Society by James Atkinson in 1850. Tenders were being called for a new "Benevolent Asylum" in 1855, the foundation stone having been laid and by 1856 the first part of the Hospital was completed. This photograph shows the completion of early extensions and how the Hospital has expanded

Photograph - Market Inn

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black and white Photograph

Historical information

Market Inn William Street Port Fairy. William and Emma Osmond with two small children arrived in Belfast in 1852 as assisted migrants assigned to R.H.Woodward. Two years later William was rated for a two room stone house in William Street. By 1868 William was in business as a butcher and was the holder of a Beer and Colonial wine licence for his home which now numbers eight rooms. The licence having been granted he opened the Volunteer Arms there which he operated for two years whilst he had built, the two storied stone building next door to take advantage of the fact that a livestock sale yards was operating on the opposite side of William Street hence the name Market Inn. William died in 1876 and his sons continued to run the hotel until 1916 when the building was sold and the licence transferred to Harold Revell a retired farmer. The licence was revoked in 1918 and the building became a private dwelling.

Photograph - SS Gerard

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black & white photograph

Photograph - Rock with carved name W Steele 1888

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

Rock with carved name W Steele 1888

Inscriptions & Markings

Rock inscribed W Steele 1888

Photograph - Pathway in Gardens, Port Fairy

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Photograph

Gloves

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black leather

Historical information

Worn by Mrs Florence Constance Kelly

First Aid Vial

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Doctor's sealed glass vial containing catgut thread and surgical needle suspended in a sterile liquid. Thread is wrapped around a card labelled "Sterilised Surgical Ligature Thread No 0"

Inscriptions & Markings

Surgical Catgut Licence No 43 Batch No April 1939

Belt

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Scout leather belt with metal circular emblem, fleur de lis insignia, rectangular metal loop with clip attached for scouting accessory. There is a metal buckle to adjust width.

Photograph - Aringa Homestead - Blacksmith shop

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Photograph

Bell, Hand

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Small Brass Bell

Historical information

Presented to P.F. Auxilliary for 50 years service

Inscriptions & Markings

Presented to Port Fairy RVIB Auxilliary 50th Anniversary

Photograph - Riverside, 1910 (E.W. Youl)

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Photograph

Jacket, doll's

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black shot taffetta coat. doll's size lined with cotton. Scallop edge decoration

Lamp

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Port Lamp - SS Casino Metal Casing - Red Glass - Kerosene Fuelled

Historical information

Port light from the s.s.Casino - authenticated by sale at Apollo bay - John McDonald purchased 2 lamps the green lamp was later broken and discarded. He planned to use them on his fishing boat "Inverness".

E P Guyett 1964-1967

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

E P Guyett Appointed Mayor of Port Fairy 1964-1967

Photograph - Queens Jubilee Celebration 1887

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Sepia Photograph

Inscriptions & Markings

"Queens Jubilee Celebration 21.6.1887 Yambuck"

Photograph - S.S.Casino 1910

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

S.s.Casino 1910. 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 - Bathing Boxes

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

Bathing boxes at South Beach. Very popular beach in early days because there were few waves within the reef.

Bag, Ladies

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black satin embroidered drawstring bag with lace embellishments

Historical information

not recorded

Photograph - Beach Avenue - Port Fairy

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Photograph

sash

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

sash for cycling royal blue, gold lettering, metallic fringe, won by H. Eales

Inscriptions & Markings

Port Fairy Cycling Club/ Championship 1941/won by/H.Eales

Muffin Irons

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

set of 11 (eleven) cast iron muffin holders

Historical information

not recorded

Inscriptions & Markings

9-4.2.0.3

Bib

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Blue wool, with blue and white logo attached with shoulder straps and a half zipper to attach to a swimming costume. Shoulder straps cross at back joined with the band.

Historical information

Used by a member of the Port Fairy Life Saving Club during competitions

Inscriptions & Markings

PORT FAIRY (Inside lifebouy LSC)

Dress

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Apricot Sleeveless cocktail dress with coffee lace overlay. 3 tier skirt. (lining of skirt had been removed before donation): Cocktail dress in apricot and coffee lace

Historical information

Worn by Mrs Hazel Evans resident of Port Fairy. Lived in Regent Street.

Photograph,Framed

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Photograph in frame: Photograph of Mrs William Rutledge in original frame of etched glass with mirrored finish brass stand

Historical information

Mrs William Rutledge, nee Eliza Kirk, Died 31st August 1888 Country property - "Farnham" Town house- "Emoh" Cox Street Port Fairy

Photograph - Royal Australian Naval Reservist 1915

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Black and white photograph

Historical information

Royal Australian Naval Reservist 1915, possibly including local men.

Photograph - Southern Beach scene - Circa 1930 (area adjacent to car park and toilets)

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Photograph

stone grinding

Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

2 grinding stones. The larger stone is flatter and worn on both sides. The top grinding stone is rounder and worn on one side top fit into hand easily