Port Welshpool

A small community with a lovely country village atmosphere, Port Welshpool was once a fishing port. It now services the Bass Strait offshore oil rigs.

Location: 109 km south east of Melbourne.

Natural features: Snake Island; Little Snake Island; Lewis Channel; Slades Hill; Kays Hill; Entrance Point; Franklin Channel

Port Welshpool and District Maritime Museum consists of a house and various out buildings located on two town blocks in Port Welshpool. Its main focus is the early fishing industry in Corner Inlet. An extensive shell collection that dates from the 1800s is a feature.

Origin of name: it is believed the town was named after Patrick Welsh, who settled in the district and became a land-holder in the Alberton area. He had plans to make the port a major transportation centre for the produce of Gippsland. However, the journalist John Stanley James, claimed in 1886 that the name came from a village on the border of Wales and Shropshire. The town was gazetted as Welshpool in 1851.

Brief history: the location was originally a loading point for the shipment of cattle and timber to Tasmania and New Zealand. For this purpose, a 270 metre jetty was constructed in 1859 but burned down soon afterwards but was quickly replaced. The town was gazetted as Welshpool in 1851, and was only officially renamed in 1952. Chinese communities established themselves around the inlet as curers of fish. In 1889, a steam sawmill was built at Hedley by Mr Maison, who transported his railway sleepers, jetty piles and fish baskets to the port by bullock train, until a tramline was laid. Maison also supplied stone blocks for paving the streets of Paris.

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