PORT Albert will celebrate 175 years since it was first explored by white settlers with a week of exciting events.
Beginning today with an official address and the opening of an art exhibition, activities will run until February 21.
A family fun day, with a performance by Cash Savage and the Last Drinks and The Badgers, as well as twilight sailing, will take place on Saturday, with a market and helicopter rides (bookings essential) to Sunday Island on Sunday.
On Saturday, February 20, a Celebrating Our Streets historic town walk will leave from the maritime museum at 2pm, following an old fashioned family picnic featuring pony rides, native animals and children’s activities.
Lynda Paterson’s book 175 Years — 1841-2016 will be launched at the museum at 3pm.
The final day, Sunday, February 21, will include a vintage car show at Rutter Park, a blessing of the fleet, an old fashioned picnic and a wooden boat regatta.
The art exhibition, which will be open all week, will feature 30 paintings by local artist Warren Curry depicting scenes from Port Albert’s history.
Port Albert Progress Association, which is running the events, has been fundraising for months, with help from Wellington Shire.
Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien congratulated the Port Albert Progress Association and the local community for the work they had done putting the celebration together.
He said the official opening of Warren Curry’s art exhibition tonight at the Port Albert Hall was sure to set the festival off to a great start.
“The Family Fun Day at Rutter Park on the Saturday will be a great chance for parents to enjoy some live music and soak up the atmosphere of the celebration while children participate in the activities and rides,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Sunday’s events will include the Port Albert Market from 8am and a Valentine’s Day reaffirmation at the St John’s Church.”
Mr O’Brien also encouraged people to visit to the Port Albert Maritime Museum.
“Having wandered through the displays at the Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum with a tour from committee president David Dickson, I discovered some facts about the early history of the port that I’d not heard before,” he said.
The town was the second to be established in Victoria after Portland, after survivors of a shipwreck produced favourable reports which attracted speculators.
Benefitting from the gold rush in the 1850s, the town became a major trade hub before railways were built.
The fishing industry then became central, but has since receded.
Port Albert is now an historic fishing village, with arguably the best fish and chips in Victoria.