The Foundation Stone of the original Portland Town Hall was laid by William Learmonth om 21st September, 1863 following a design competition and subsequent public controversy over the permitted entry of architect John Barrow. The conservative classical design of municipal surveyor Alexander Ross was preferred and this axially planned design with central council chamber and side offices fronted by a fine axed pediment ed gable entablature of basalt and Tuscan Doric pilasters was completed by 24th May 1864.The old Town Hall ls one of a distinguished group of buildings in Portland and is an interesting example of conservative classical architecture of the first years of settlement of Western Victoria. The basalt structure was participial erected  of stone from the Portland stockade and has significant historical associations with local government administrations in the district. The Town Hall is the most important work of Alexander Ross, a surveyor architect whose career remains largely undocumented. The old Town Hall at Portland has been discreetly extender at the rear to provide additional meeting room accommodation. The premises are no longer used for local government administration but is now used as Portland History House by the Historical Society

Located in the historic 1863 bluestone former Portland Town Hall, history House is home to some of the fascinating objects from the Glenelg Shires Cultural Collection. Core displays in the museum include stories of sealers and whalers, the arrival of the Henty Brothers, the establishment of a town and trading port and the arrival of immigrant ships from Great Britain in the 1850’s

For anyone wanting information on family history, local history or general genealogical inquiries the volunteers from the Portland Family History Group at History House will gladly assist you with your research.

History House is open daily 10 am – noon and 1 pm – 4 pm

Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.