Local Tourism

Historic Port Fairy.


Port Fairy is thought to have been named by Captain James Wishart, after his cutter ‘The Fairy’.

The actual date that this took place is still greatly debated by local historians, however it is thought it may have been as early as 1810, but more likely it was some time between 1827-28.Captain Wishart was sailing up the Moyne river with two other seamen in search of fresh water when he named the unsettled area.In the early part of the nineteenth century the area became a hub for sealers and whalers. A whaling station was established but within four decades was forced to close when the supply of whales was exhausted.

A permanent settlement grew into a township and Port Fairy started to take shape. James Atkinson obtained the “Belfast” Special Survey from the Crown in 1843 and proceeded to lay out a town in that name. Although known as Belfast, the port retained it’s original name. Settlers were encouraged by rich soil and commercial opportunities in the rapidly expanding Western District.

By the mid eighteen hundreds more than two thousand lived in the municipality and Port Fairy was, for a time, one of the busiest ports in the colony; second only to Melbourne.An act of parliament in 1887 have the town back its name of Port Fairy.

To find out more about our wonderful history you can visit the Port Fairy Historical Society.