Port Fairy is a coastal town in south-western Victoria, Australia.
- Area:113.024 km2
- Elevation:9 m
- Local Government Area:Moyne Shire Council
Port Fairy is a coastal town in south-western Victoria, Australia. It lies on the Princes Highway in the Shire of Moyne, 28 kilometres (17 mi) west of Warrnambool and 290 kilometres (180 mi) west of Melbourne, at the point where the Moyne River enters the Great Australian Bight.
Prior to British colonisation in the 19th century, the Port Fairy area, then known as Pyipkil or Ummut, was inhabited by the Pyipkil gunditj clan, also known as the Yarrer gunditj. They spoke the Peek Whurrong language. The region's ecology consisted of dense Banksia-dominated bushland and large swamps. The Pyipkil gunditj constructed stone and timber fishing-weirs called yereroc across creeks to catch fish and eels. They also cut canals called vam to drain swamps and made woven eel-pots called arabine to trap eels. The Eastern Maar people are now considered the traditional owners of the Port Fairy area.
In the early 19th centurywhalers and seal hunters used the coast in this region. The crew of the sealing cutter The Fairy (Captain James Wishart) reportedly gave the bay its current name in 1828. Whatever its origins, the name "Port Fairy" had come into general use by 1835.John Griffiths established a whaling station in 1835, and a store opened in 1839. In 1843 James Atkinson, a Sydney solicitor, purchased land in the town byspecial survey. He drained the swamps, subdivided and leased the land, and built a harbour on the Moyne River. He named the town "Belfast" after his hometown in Ireland.
In the 1840s significant conflict between pastoral squatters andaboriginals occurred. 1842 saw 27squatters from the Port Fairy neighbourhood signing a letter toCharles Latrobe, the Superintendent of the Port Phillip District, reporting many "outrages" committed by the "natives" and requesting the government provide security. These clashes, later known as the Eumeralla Wars, formed part of the battle over land use and resources between traditional owners and Europeans across the Victoria's western district.The post office opened either in 1837 or on 1 July 1843 as "Port Fairy", but was renamed "Belfast" on 1 January 1854 before reverting to the original name on 20 July 1887.
Agriculture developed in the region, and Belfast became an important transport hub.
By 1857 the town had a population of 2,190. In 1887 the town was renamed "Port Fairy" as a result of an Act of Parliament.A railway extended to the town in 1890, but closed in 1977. It has been converted into the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail.
The Port Fairy Magistrates' Court closed on 1 January 1990.
# Things to do