Portland is located approximately 24 km north west of Lithgow. The population in 2006 was 2,185.
Portland was the home of the first cement works in Australia, and has since become known as the town that built Sydney. The cement works and quarries (now closed) are a landmark feature and provide an industrial ‘edge’ to the town centre. Today the quarries have given way to water filled ‘lakes’, and the cement works buildings, workers cottages and numerous other heritage items such as the bottle kilns provide a reminder of the activities upon which the town was built.
Signs of a time gone by
Visitors to the town can see the recreated historic signage that include household names such as Goanna Salve, Bushell’s Tea, and Arnott’s Biscuits. The signs have been created by Ron Bidwell and a team of fellow sign writers. These beautiful and colourful murals have brightened up the town and become an attraction in their own right.
History of Portland
The area was first settled in 1824 when Robert Dulhunty was granted 2 000 acres near the area called Cullen Bullen, stretching across to where Portland stands today.
Limestone was first discovered in 1870 by Thomas Murray, who built the first limekiln to supply burnt limestone as lime to settlers in the surrounding district. In 1882 Murray sold his land and plant to the Cullen Bullen Lime and Cement Company who produced 30 tons of "Kangaroo" brand cement per week. It is believed that the two remaining bottle kilns were built during this period in 1883.
In March 1894 the area Limestone Flat, which was bounded by what is now Williwa, Wolgan, Villiers and Lime Streets, was granted the status of a village. In 1898 the village was renamed Portland and declared a town in 1906.
In 1882/3 the railway was extended from Wallerawang through Portland to Capertee, and this aided the growth of the district.
The first school was opened in 1884, and was named Cullen School and was located on the corner of what is now Long and Limestone streets.
The St Josephs’s Convent school was established in 1905, however the present Convent did not open until August 1923.
Portland reached its peak population in 1948 with 3 125 people.