Culture Victoria

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Port Fairy Historical Society

30 Gipps Street Port Fairy Phone: 0355682263 Visit Website

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.

Our Collection

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

Subcollections
Captain Robertson

Collection of Uniform pieces from a simple sailor in the Boer War to a Captain of The s.s. Casino. A dress sword, documents and photographs of family and home

Relevant to the story of the s.s.Casino, the Volunteers of Port Fairy, times of affluence in our town

Stan Evans

Files relating to fishing and the Port Fairy Harbour and Rabbit factory also pertaining to "Fins, Sails and Scales" a book written by Stan. Some photographs of ships

History of the early working of the harbour and the fishermen who earned their living there

Les Robertson

Photographs, various files on various subjects Les was an enthusiastic historian of the area

Preservation of our early history

Guyett

Items such as invoices and books from Guyett and Sons business in Port Fairy

related to early history of Port Fairy and the start of Guyett and Sons Funeral Directors now in Warrnambool

John Ryan

Files compiled on the early history of Port Fairy and the Shire of Belfast. The collection consists of 7 large folders, a large volume of film and magnetic tapes.

Many significant items including early photographs and speeches from various sources

Pam Marriott

Documents relating to her book "Time Gentlemen Please" and draft copy. Other items relating to her time as owner of the Merrijig

Organisation Location