Historically, Port Albert, discovered by Angus McMillan in 1841 is the oldest settlement in Gippsland. The only access to Melbourne in those days being by sailing ship. Today, Port Albert, 220ks from Melbourne along the South Gippsland Highway is a popular tourism and fishing destination.
As you drive into town you are taken by the condition of the buildings in the town, many dating back to the original settlement. In those days the town rapidly became the port of entry for many thousands of migrants and their equipment destined for the Omeo and Walhalla goldfields which led to the settlement of the Latrobe Valley and the whole Gippsland region.
The Port Albert pub, open since 1841, is the oldest continually licensed hotel in Victoria, and has been the social hub of the town for over 150 years - if the walls could talk!
Other notable historic buildings in the town are the post office, built in 1864, the old general store and the old Bank of Victoria which was built in 1861 and operated as a bank until 1895.
Gold was first discovered in Gippsland in 1851 at Livingston Creek, but the main mining occurred in the 60’s and 70’s. The construction of the then new Bank of Victoria coincided with an increase in gold discoveries, in particular from Crooked River, Omeo and Boggy Creek and gold escorts came to the Port on a regular basis. On September 19th 1863 an escort lodged 2100 ounces (62.5 kg) of gold in the banks vault. Gold exports rose from 4300 ounces to 25,279 ounces in 1865, by which time 50% was coming from the Walhalla area.
Today the old Bank of Victoria is a Maritime Museum which houses a fascinating collection of maritime relics. Run by volunteers, the museum is open weekends during July, August and September or by appointment. Rest of the year 10.30am to 4pm 7 days a week. For further information call 03 5183 2520
The cemetery approx 2ks from the highway turnoff is fascinating and gives an insight into the tough times faced by the pioneers.
Nowadays, Port Albert is probably best known for the wide variety of fish which can be taken from the 220 sq kilometres of sheltered estuarine waterways and the bountiful blue water fishing grounds of Bass Strait.
The all weather all tides dual boat ramp easily caters for boats to 8 metres in length although it can be interesting trying to retrieve the bigger boats when the wind gets up.
Snapper to 15ks are common inside during the season, which runs from October to May and you do not need a big boat to get at them. The numerous channels are well marked and easily fished from a 4 metre boat. King George Whiting are also common in season, while Flathead are plentiful and big. Bream, trevally, salmon, gars, pike, shark and flounder are other fish common to the area.
Charter fishing boats are plentiful if you do have your own or you can try your luck from the jetties.
If you can't catch a fish yourself try either of the 2 fish 'n' chip shops, the flake's great!
Accommodation is plentiful with motel units at the pub, 2 caravan parks, holiday homes etc.