Port Albert is one of Victoria’s oldest seaports, established in 1841 by explorer Angus McMillan. From this time, Port Albert became the major supply port for pioneers until completion of the railway in 1878 which connected Melbourne to Sale.
Many migrants from Europe, America and China berthed from Port Albert on their way to the goldfields. As a result, the town’s collection of historical buildings boast Georgian and Victorian style heritage, with a number of the old buildings lovingly restored. Some have a National Trust classification or are on the Historic Buildings Register.
St John’s Anglican Church, Port Albert
A number of buildings worth visiting include – the “Rocket Shed” built in 1876 to house Life Saving Equipment and now functions as an information centre for visitors; the Port Albert Hotel, licensed since 1842; The General Store and the Bond Store both established in 1856; the Bank of Victoria building buit in 1862 and now houses the Gippsland Regional Museum, located on the corner of Wharf Street and Bay Street. This award winning museum is fully accredited under the Museums Australia (Victoria) accreditation program and contains exhibitions and memorabilia on the maritime and local history of Port Albert and Gippsland.
A number of historic buildings are now private residences and these include the old Port Albert Post Office (1864), the Derwent Hotel (1859), the Bar of the Ship Inn (1856) and the Old Bakery (1859) which has been faithfully restored by artist Warren Curry, a leading landscape and marine artist and who now runs this as a part time Gallery (open weekends).
The Alberton Cemetery is also a place not to be missed being one of the oldest cemeteries in the State of Victoria. It certainly gives an insight into the hardships experienced by our pioneering ancestors. The cemetery covers 32 acres overall, with the original part being near the banks of the Albert river and called the “Old Ground”. The cemetery is still in use today.
Close to Port Albert is Tarraville, an historic settlement that saw an explosion of it’s population in the 1850’s when the goldrush was on and many prospector’s were travelling to Walhalla and Omeo. It was the largest town of Gippsland and boasted a number of businesses and 5 hotels. Unfortunately little of this town remains today. There are however, a number of historic homesteads still standing as well as the Church of Christ. It was built in 1856 and is currently the oldest Church in Gippsland today. Services are still conducted here on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 2pm.