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Portarlington Mill
Portarlington Mill : National Trust Property


The Portarlington Flour Mill is on the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Register with a State Classification.

It is located in Turner Court off Sproat Street at Portarlington on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia.  Melways map reference 239 E2.

Visitors are most welcome.

First settlers in the Port Phillip District needed grain for the staples of life, and found the Bellarine Peninsula suitable for grain growing.  The first flour mill was built at Drysdale, but the difficulty of land transport made Portarlington's water access attractive, and its handsome stone, steam flour mill, was built in 1857.  It was a substantial sandstone building and equipment was steam powered.

The notice of the formation of the Portarlington Steam Flour Mill Company (Capital 7,500, Chairman John Henderson) appeared in the Geelong Advertiser 1st August 1856, the public being invited to purchase shares.  Andrew McWilliams, a Geelong municipal engineer, designed the building, which was built by T.H Widdicombe, a local identity, from stone quarried on site, and beams from a large stand of blue gum at Swan Bay, now extinct.   Within a year the completed mill was open for business, and a short jetty built to facilitate loading of the small traders which carried the flour to Melbourne and to Tasmania.  Later the jetty was extended into deep water and the bay steamers were able to call.

The life of the building as a mill was only seventeen years, as in the 1870's the wider Wimmera lands were opened for cultivation, and in 1874 the mill was closed and the machinery used for milling was sent to the Wimmera.  Tom Widdicombe the builder was the next occupant, using the mill as part of his brickworks.  Later it had other industrial uses - the processing of seaweed for upholstery and insulation, ink production, and then artificial fertiliser.  In the twentieth century the growth of Portarlington as a seaside resort brought conversion of the mill to residential use.  In 1962 the owner Mrs. Dye, was served with a Housing Commission notice to demolish the 105 year old building, condemned as unfit for habitation.

Portarlington Mill
Portarlington Mill c. 1880s
[Photo from the Portarlington Mill Photo Collection]

In due course this came to the notice of the National Trust, which conferred with the Shire of Bellarine with the aim of saving the building.  In 1970 the Shire purchased the building and gave it to the National Trust, which spent over $40,000 restoring it, opening it to the public in 1977.  Since then it has been managed by a committee of local volunteers, and fitted as a local folk museum.  Local residents have collected a number of artefacts and these are displayed on the three floors of the mill.  Archaeological digs around the mill have given evidence of the old boiler house at the rear, and also earlier aboriginal activity in this area.


The Mill is open to the public at the following times :-

September - May

Saturday & Sunday

12.00 to 4.00 pm

Closed 30 May to 12 September

(We are often open by 11.00 am - check first if you're making a special trip)

The Mill will be open at other times for special exhibitions and events, or by special appointment.


Admission Prices (include GST) :-
Adults $ 2.50
Children $ 1.00
Family $ 6.00
Concession $ 2.00
Double ticket with Bellarine Historical Society $ 3.50



Portarlington Mill, 5 Turner Court, Portarlington, Vic 3223
PO Box 74, Portarlington, Vic 3223

Phone (during opening hours) : (03)5259 2804

The Mill is run by a team of volunteers who can be contacted from time to time on one of the following phone numbers :- (03)5259 3202,  (03) 5259 3847  (03) 5257 3232.

Portarlington Mill
Portarlington Mill c. 1870
[Photo from the Portarlington Mill Photo Collection]



The following items can be purchased from the Mill.  Prices shown include GST, postage and handling (within Australia).  Cheques should be made payable to :-

Portarlington Mill
PO Box 74
Portarlington, Vic 3223

Fridge magnets with picture of Mill $ 4.00
Key Rings with picture of Mill $ 5.50
First Day issue cards $ 2.00
Pen & Ink prints of Mill (32 x 27 cm) $ 5.50


From time to time, the Mill presents special events and displays and is available for bookings for private functions.


National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
ABN 61 004 356 192



Created by : Susie Zada
2000 Susie Zada, Ocean Grove, Victoria, Australia, for the Portarlington Mill
Last revised : July 12, 2005