Port Albert is a delightful village with a number of old buildings
from the previous century lovingly restored, many of which have a
National Trust classification or are on the Historic Buildings Register.
Location: 225 km east of Melbourne, 14 km south of Yarram
Things to See and Do:
The Port is promoted as a fishermen’s paradise as the protected
inland waters provide fine catches. The bays and coves of eastern
Wilsons Promontory are accessible from Port Albert.
A walk around town taking in Government Walk and Stockyard Point passes
a timber shed built in 1876 to house the Life Saving Equipment; the
Bond Store (1856) and Warehouse; the Port Albert Hotel (licensed since
1844, it has the distinction of being the oldest licensed hotel in
Victoria); the old Port Albert Post Office (1864); the Derwent Hotel
(1859); the Bar of the Ship Inn (1856); the general Store (1856); the
Old Bakery (1859); Tarraville Church (the oldest church in Gippsland);
Cobb & Co, booking office; the office of Gippslands first
newspaper, “The Guardian”; Bank of Victoria (1861) and the
beautifully restored Gowrie House (1855).
Brief history: The years 1849-50 saw 49,000 tonnes of cargo landed at
Port Albert while some millions of ounces of gold were shipped out,
mostly from Walhalla but some from Omeo and other Gippsland goldfields.
Progress was swift, buildings went up, land selected and towns laid
out. Port Albert had its heyday in the 1850s and 1860s, and then
steamships started to operate from ports around the Gippsland Lakes. By
1865 it was possible to travel from Sale to Melbourne by Royal Mail
coach in only three days; by 1879 the railway had reached Sale and
within ten years had extended to Bairnsdale.
Maritime Museum: Housed in the former Bank of Victoria building (1862),
its collection contains a wealth of information on the maritime and
local history of Port Albert and Gippsland. Port Albert was once the
Port of Entry for the Gippsland Goldfields and the old bank vault
houses a display on Gippsland Gold Discovery.
There are also several giant anchors, the original Port Albert wharf
crane and the restored Citadel Island lighthouse. The original light
was located on the top of a spectacular granite island off Wilsons
promontory and was the first automatic acetylene light installed by the
Commonwealth Lighthouse Service.