Destination, Portland

Event Details

Destination, Portland

Time: May 1, 2011 at 9am to July 31, 2011 at 5pm
Location: Portland Maritime Discovery Centre
Street: Lee Breakwater Road
City/Town: Portland Victoria
Phone: 03 5522 2319
Event Type: exhibition
Organized By: Trevor Smith
Latest Activity: Apr 26, 2011

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Event Description

Visitors to Portland in the coming months will experience the delights of summers past in a new exhibition at Portland’s Maritime Discovery Centre.

“Destination, Portland” looks at Portland’s history as a holiday destination: how people travelled to Portland, where they stayed, and what they did while they were in the region.

As early as 1880, Portland was promoted by the Borough Council as a resort for tourists, with the town described in a promotional booklet as “the watering place of the west”. The area became more accessible to travellers with opening of the rail line between Melbourne and Portland in the late 1870s. Steamers from Melbourne and Adelaide were making regular visits to Portland with passengers and freight, and the town’s new public baths became a feature of all promotional material.

The temperate climate, varied accommodation options, natural and built environments, and the recognised relaxation and health benefits of sea bathing were promoted to the holiday-maker seeking escape from hustle-bustle of the city, or the heat of the inland towns.

The hotels and guest houses offered fine amenities, many with views overlooking the bay, and just a few minutes walk from the new baths. By the 20th century camping gained popularity with the camping grounds filling to capacity over the summer months. Some Portlanders rented out their backyard bungalow, and occasionally rooms in their houses, to visiting families escaping the inland heat.

The exhibition takes you on a nostalgic journey, triggering memories of some of the past events and features from Portland’s foreshore: the public baths and bathing boxes, Daisy O’Brien’s carnival, the annual regatta, and surf life saving activities.

Material for the exhibition has been sourced from the Portland Family History Group, Portland Historical Society, local private collections, and the Shire’s Cultural Collection.

Portland’s Maritime Discovery Centre is located on the Lee Breakwater Road, and is open 9 am to 5 pm daily (closed Christmas Day). “Destination Portland” continues until July 31, 2011.

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