Smythe Street, Portalington
The first sale of town plots in Portarlington took place on October 22nd 1851, mainly by squatters and Geelong business men who intended their purchases as investments, so it was some time before land was resold and settlement in the town actually began.
There was no great surrounding farm population to sustain a town; roads to Geelong were dubious and there was no pier for the transportation of goods. The opening of the local Flour Mill in 1857 and the destruction of the Bellarine (Drysdale) Flour Mill in 1861 no doubt helped in the town’s development.
A public jetty was built in 1859 and a variety of goods were shipped directly to Melbourne and the township became the focus of Geelong and Melbourne people seeking it as a “seaside resort”.
The earliest existing ‘register’, consisting of loose sheets from a once bound register, gives the first burial as 1878 although graves appear to have been sold as early as 1875. The earliest mention of the cemetery in the Government Gazette is 1879.
As many residents were engaged in fishing, there were several instances of drowning listed as the cause of death.