History House in Portland is the place to go to search for your ancestors who lived or arrived in the harbour town. Located in the former Portland Town Hall, History House offers research facilities and a small museum.
The museum has many reminders of Portland’s early history, in particular, the Henty family.
It is not easy taking a photo of a long plough in a narrow room with a fairly ordinary camera, but I had to give it a go as this in the one and only Henty plough. While it is famous for it being the first plough used in Victoria, its journey since those early days is interesting.
Maybe this picture does the plough more justice than my own.
This article from the Portland Guardian of 18 November 1935 described what happened to the plough after it left the Henty’s possession
Hugh Lennon, who had the plough on display at his factory in Spotswood, was the manufacturer of the Lennon plough. This was the plough of choice for ggg grandfather James Harman in local ploughing matches. It was also the plough of choice for the Kelly gang when making armour. The plough eventually returned to Portland in 1970.
The is a model of the house occupied by Joseph Henry Porter and his wife, Sarah Herbertson, in Gawler Street, Portland. Joseph constructed the model and Sarah furnished it. I like the detail, even down to pickets missing off the fence. Both Joseph and Sarah are part of the Western District Families Pioneer Obituary Index. Joseph’s obituary mentioned his fine craftmanship.
While this isn’t the best photo, I had to share it. It depicts the meeting of Major Thomas Mitchell and the Henty brothers, a significant time in the history of the Western District. You can read more about this chance meeting in the post “Major Mitchell Reaches Portland Bay”.
Mary McKillop spent some time in Portland and an exhibit commemorates this, complete with the spires from the original Roman Catholic church in Portland.
The Portland Rocket Shed is next to History House. The shed was built in 1886 by George Sedgewick who was the gg grandfather of Ann, a follower of this blog. Fully restored, the shed has a display inside which includes a rocket launcher used to fire ropes to boats in distress.
For more photos, better than my own, check out ABC South West Victoria’s report on History House’s renovation in 2010 http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/02/17/2822431.htm. There was also a report at the time of Mary MacKillop’s canonization http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/10/12/3035824.htm