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 November 18, 1935 describes 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 of 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 next photo is of a model of the house lived in by Joseph Henry Porter and his wife, Sarah Herbertson, in Gawler Street, Portland. Joseph constructed the house and Sarah furnished it. I like the detail, even down to pickets missing off the fence.
The obituary of Joseph Porter was in the June Passing of the Pioneers. It mentioned he was known for his fine craftsmanship.
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. My post “Ghosts of Yesteryear” tells the story of this chance meeting.
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