Port Fairy Historic Lifeboat Station

Original buildings (lifeboat house 1862 and rocket house 1886), house an exceptional collection of maritime rescue equipment from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection includes a restored sea-going lifeboat, which was built at the Williamstown marine yard in 1857.

Address: 
Griffiths Street, Port Fairy, VIC
Tel: 
0355682632
Hours: 
2-5pm Sun, in Jan, public holiday long weekends
Admission: 
Adults $2, Family $4, Concession $1, children 50c
Facilities: 
Guided tour brochure available, wheelchair access, original buildings
Collection: 
Approximately 150 items and 30 photographs. Collection relates to Port Fairy (Belfast) Lifeboat Station - a fine collection of 19th Century and early 20th Century maritime rescue equipment, including a restored and seaworthy 1857 lifeboat.
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Items

Instruction Tablets

Tally Boards

Tally Boards
Creator:
Board of Trade, England
Description:
Wooden tablets, containing written instructions to shipwreck survivors regarding rescue process and methods to enable survivors to fix rescue lines securely.
Date:
Hand Written C.1870, Printed Paper Tablets C.1900
Item Id Number:
VPFT 43,44

The hand painted rectangular tablets are inscribed in English and French; the later, oblong printed wrapper tablets are in English, German, French and Norwegian

Rocket Machine

Boxer Rocket Apparatus

Boxer Rocket Apparatus
Creator:
Colonel Boxer, designer, commissioned by Board of Trade, England
Description:
Tripod launched two-stage black powder rocket, to carry a light line from shore to wreck, range of about 600 metres
Date:
1900/1920
Item Id Number:
VPFT20

Complete equipment for rocket launching in collection, including rockets, carrying boxes, shafts, line boxes, fuses, washers and coxswain's purse.

Winch

Crabbing Winch

Crabbing Winch
Creator:
John Abbot & Co. Gateshead, England
Description:
Winch for recovering lifeboat from water, either vertically or via cable, originally one of two used to lift 4 ton vessel and crew directly from sea into Lifeboat House.
Date:
1886
Item Id Number:
VPFT 2

Crabbing winches were commonly used for towing and lifting heavy weights; equipped with two gear rings turned by hand cranks on each side of winch.

Station Buildings

Lifeboat House, Rocket House

Lifeboat House, Rocket House
Creator:
Architect - Public Works Department, Victoria., Contractors W&G White, J.Bolger respectively
Description:
Lifeboat house of timber panel within frame construction, semi-circular roof Rocket house of basalt, rectangular, gable roof, with double doors faced with metal.
Date:
1861-1886

Lifeboat House is the only surviving example of a nineteenth century lifeboat house in Australia - originally one of five in Victoria and only one with slipway boat launching. Rocket House one of three constructed to this pattern, but only one intact and in "original use".

Wooden Lifeboat

Port Fairy

Port Fairy
Creator:
Believed to be William White
Description:
Wooden lifeboat of innovative design. Self-righting, self-draining pulling and sailing lifeboat. 1857, RNLI design 10-oared 30 foot restored, of double diagonal construction, with dipping lugsail. Built at Williamstown, Victoria, incorporating Australian timber.
Date:
1857
Item Id Number:
VPTF1

Vessel delivered to Port Fairy 27/09/1857 and crewed by local volunteers (fishermen, government boatmen etc) until WWII. Subsequently used as a dredge hull (1956-1975). Reconstructed in 1995-1997 and used as a community "experience" boat crewed by volunteers, with approx. 20 voyages per year. Sister vessel to Portland lifeboat.