The main shopping precinct
|Population||2,599 (2006 census)|
|Elevation||6 m (20 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Moyne|
|State electorate(s)||South-West Coast|
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 Southern Ocean.
John Griffiths established a whaling station in 1835 and a store was opened in 1839. In 1843, James Atkinson, a Sydney solicitor, purchased land in the town by special 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 Northern Ireland. The Post Office opened on 1 July 1843 (the post office actually opened in 1837 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 the mid-to-late 19th century, Belfast was one of Australia's largest ports, catering to the whaling industry. In 1887 the town was renamed Port Fairy as a result of an Act of Parliament.
At the 2006 census, Port Fairy had a population of 2,599. Its main industries are tourism and fishing, and it is the home port for one of Victoria's largest fishing fleets. A pharmaceutical factory owned by GlaxoSmithKline is located on the outskirts of the town.
Port Fairy has a rich history and 50 buildings are protected by the National Trust of Australia. Griffiths Island nearby holds a breeding colony of the Short-tailed Shearwater or Australian Muttonbird.
The Port Fairy Folk Festival is held during the Labour Day long weekend in March each year. The festival has run continuously since 1977. The other major celebration in the town is the Moyneyana festival, held over summer from Christmas Eve to 26 January.
Notable people from Port Fairy
- Denis Napthine, Premier of Victoria (2013–2014)
- T. J. Ryan, Premier of Queensland (1915–1919)
- John Coleman (Australian footballer)
- Brian Dunlop (Australian Painter)
The Stag Inn, currently the Seacombe House hotel, was built in 1847 by Captain John Sanders. The external appearance is little changed from the time of its opening
Moyne River, Port Fairy
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Port Fairy (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Butler, S., ed. (2009). "Port Fairy". Macquarie Dictionary (5th ed.). Sydney: Macquarie Dictionary Publishers Pty Ltd. 1952 pages. ISBN 978-18-7642-966-9.
- "Portland Bay Extracts", The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 March 1843: 4, retrieved 13 February 2011, quoting the Portland Mercury
- "Griffiths, John (1801 - 1881)". Australian Dictionary of Biography 1. Canberra: Australian National University. 1966. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
- Sid Brown (March 1990), "Tracks Across the State", Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)): pages 71–76.
- John Davis, Port Fairy, retrieved 3 May 2014
- Golf Select, Port Fairy, retrieved 11 May 2009
- Full Point Footy, Port Fairy, retrieved 25 July 2008[dead link]
- "A rollicking good tale". Seacombe House website. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
Media related to Port Fairy, Victoria at Wikimedia Commons