Portsea, Victoria

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Portsea pier Victoria.jpg
Portsea Pier
Portsea is located in Melbourne
Coordinates 38°19′12″S 144°42′47″E / 38.32°S 144.713°E / -38.32; 144.713Coordinates: 38°19′12″S 144°42′47″E / 38.32°S 144.713°E / -38.32; 144.713
Population 446 (2011)[1]
 • Density 112/km2 (290/sq mi)
Established 1850s
Postcode(s) 3944
Area 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi)
Location 95 km (59 mi) from Melbourne CBD
LGA(s) Shire of Mornington Peninsula
State electorate(s) Nepean
Federal Division(s) Flinders
Suburbs around Portsea:
Point Nepean Port Phillip
Bass Strait Sorrento

Portsea is a resort town suburb of Melbourne, Australia, located across Port Phillip from the Melbourne CBD. Its local government area is the Shire of Mornington Peninsula. Portsea is a popular vacation spot, located near the end of the Mornington Peninsula, between the calm waters of Port Phillip and the wild surf of Bass Strait.

In 2005, Australian Tax Office data showed the 3944 postcode to be the nation's most affluent; outperforming other upper class Victorian suburbs, including the Melbourne suburbs of Toorak and Hawthorn, both known for upper-middle class and upper class dwellings ranging from $5 million to $25 million, with an average taxable income almost $10,000 higher than the Sydney suburbs of Darling Point or Point Piper.[2]


Portsea Post Office opened on 10 February 1877 and closed in 1987.[3]

OCS Portsea, an army establishment, was located just outside the town. The historic reserve became famous when Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt disappeared while swimming inside the facility at Cheviot Beach on 17 December 1967 and was officially presumed dead two days later, although a formal inquest into his death did not take place until 2005 when he saw someone from the water.

Portsea is named after Portsea Island which is an island incorporated by Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom. Portsmouth is where the first settlers to Australia set sail from.

Present day[edit]

Portsea is considered by many to be the hub of Melbourne's recreational scuba diving activities. No less than four scuba-related shops operate from its otherwise modest main street. Dive boats travel to sites both inside Port Phillip and outside Port Phillip Heads, also known as "The Rip".

The Portsea Pier is the home to the spectacular weedy sea dragon, as well as many other fish species, including numerous pufferfish. Boating traffic is frequent, and divers should be careful to avoid main boating routes. Portsea Back Beach is a big attraction in Portsea, due to its great surfing conditions and long stretch of sand. Portsea Surf Life Saving Club patrols the popular surf beach, as patrols are always needed during the summer period given the large waves and strong tides that are often present.

Corsair Rock, just at the entrance to Port Philip, is a well-known surf spot to locals and professional surfers. However, it is not advised to surf there unless you are an experienced surfer and, for safety, are accompanied by somebody in a boat nearby. It is considered a very dangerous location. The rip can run out as fast as 8-10 knots.

Golfers play at the revered Portsea Golf Club on Relph Avenue.[4]

According to the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, Portsea had 446 residents.[1] Prominent residents include trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, Kate Baillieu and Rupert Murdoch's grandson businessman David Calvert Jones, other well known residents are Eddie McGuire and Ron Walker.

Several properties in Portsea have broken the Victorian price record. This occurred as recently as last year.

The Australian Crawl song "Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama" was written about Portsea.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Portsea (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  2. ^ The Age (15 April 2005). "Income tide lifts Portsea". 
  3. ^ Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008 
  4. ^ Golf Select, Portsea, retrieved 11 May 2009 
  5. ^ The Age (25 May 2003). "Waiting for Reyne".