Portland is a city in Victoria, Australia, and is the oldest European settlement in the state.
- Area:32.5 km2
- Elevation:1 m
- Local Government Area:Glenelg Shire Council
Portlandis a city in Victoria, Australia, and is the oldest European settlement in the state. It is also the main urban centre in the Shire of Glenelg and is located on Portland Bay. In June 2018 the estimated population was 10,900, having decreased slowly at an average annual rate of -0.03% year-on-year over the preceding five years.
## Early history
The Gunditjmara, an Aboriginal Australian people, are the traditional owners of much of south-west Victoria, including what is now Portland, having lived there for thousands of years. They are today renowned for their early aquaculture development at nearby Lake Condah. Physical remains such as the weirs and fish traps are to be found in the Budj Bim heritage areas. The Gunditjmara were a settled people, living in small circular weather-proof stone huts about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) high, grouped as villages, often around eel traps and aquaculture ponds. On just one hectare of Allambie Farm, archaeologists have discovered the remains of 160 house sites.
### 19th century European settlement
Portland was named in 1800 by the British navigator James Grant, who sailed in the Lady Nelson along the Victorian coast. "I also distinguished the Bay by the name of Portland Bay, in honour of His Grace the Duke of Portland", wrote Grant. The bay, the only deep sea port between Adelaide and Melbourne, offers a sheltered anchorage against the often wild weather of Bass Strait.By the early 19th century, whalers and sealers were working the treacherous waters of Bass Strait, and Portland Bay provided good shelter and fresh water, which enabled them to establish the first white settlement in the area. Whaling captain William Dutton is known to have been resident in the Portland Bay area when the Henty clan arrived, and is said to have provided seed potatoes for the Henty garden.In 1834, the year before Melbourne was founded, Edward Henty and his family, who had migrated from England to Western Australia in 1829, and then moved to Van Diemen's Land, ferried some of their stock across the Strait in search of the fine grazing land of the Western District. After a voyage of 34 days, the Thistle arrived at Portland Bay on 19 November 1834. [Henty was only 24 years old, and, early in December, cultivated the land using a plough he had made himself. He was the first white man to turn a sod in Victoria. The next voyage of the Thistle brought his brother Francis, with additional stock and supplies, and in a short time houses were erected and fences put up.In his diary entry for 3 December 1834, Henty wrote
Arrived at 6p.m., made the boat fast in the middle of the river, and started three days' walk in the bush accompanied by H Camfield, Wm Dutton, five men, one black woman and 14 dogs, each man with a gun and sufficient quantity of damper to last for the voyage.
In the 5 December entry Henty wrote
On descending the hill we saw a native. He immediately ran on seeing us. He was busily employed pulling the gums from the wattle trees.
Henty sowed the first Victorian wheat crop on clifftop land, known today as "The Ploughed Field".The Hentys were "discovered" in Portland by the explorer Thomas Mitchell in 1836. The squatter settlement was illegal since, at that time, the British Colonial Office policy was to contain colonial settlements in Australia within geographic limits.It had been still considering how to deal with the rights to the land of Aboriginal Victorians. The Hentys also farmed in areas known as "Australia Felix", around Casterton.
By 1838, land auctions had been authorised from Sydney, and Charles Tyers surveyed the Portland township in 1839. "It was government policy to encourage squatters to take possession of whatever land they chose". A Post Office was opened on 4 December 1841, the third to open in the Port Phillip District after Melbourne and Geelong.The Convincing Ground massacre occurred in Portland Bay in 1833 or 1834, following a dispute about a beached whale between whalers and the Kilcarer gundidj clan of the Gunditjmara people.During the 1840s the Eumeralla Wars between Europeans and Gunditjmara took place in the area between Portland and Port Fairy.
At Wesleyan Mission meeting in 1841, Rev. Benjamin Hurst (missionary to Aboriginal people at Port Phillip) noted that in the Portland bay area "it was usual for some to go out in parties on the Sabbath with guns, for the ostensible purpose of kangarooing, but, in reality to hunt and kill these miserable beings".Around 1842 a Presbyterian church and school were founded by the Rev. Alexander Laurie (c. 1817–1854), who later ran the Portland Herald. His widow Janet Laurie (Black) and two sons founded The Border Watch in nearby Mount Gambier.From the time of European settlement, the region around Melbourne was known as the Port Phillip District, and this gained some administrative status prior to separation from New South Wales and the declaration as the Colony of Victoria in 1851.
## 1985: Proclamation as a city
Portland was proclaimed a city on Monday 28 October 1985, in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
Portland has a warm-summer mediterranean climate that is transitional with the oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Csb/Cfb). Its summers are moderated by its shoreline position, whereas the rainy winters have moderate lows.
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