Portarlington Flour Mill is on the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Register with a
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.
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.
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.
Prices (include GST) :-
Mill, 5 Turner Court, Portarlington, Vic 3223
following items can be purchased from the Mill. Prices shown include
and handling (within Australia). Cheques should be made payable to :-
time to time, the Mill presents special events and displays and is available
for bookings for private functions.
National Trust of Australia
Created by : Susie Zada
© 2000 Susie Zada, Ocean Grove, Victoria, Australia, for the Portarlington Mill
Last revised : July 12, 2005