Town by town snapshot: Portarlington
The size of Portarlington is about 24.8 square kilometres and has 12 parks covering nearly 5.4 per cent of total area.
The population of Portarlington in 2011 was 3,581 people and by the 2016 Census the population was 3,618 showing a population growth of 1.0 per cent in the area during that time.
Portarlington has become another one of The Bellarine’s favoured destinations, as such the population has swelled since the last Census with today’s resident population more likely to have pushed past the 4,000 mark with more than 300 vacant lots sold in that period.
One of the factors contributing to the town popularity is the daily ferry service which Port Phillip Ferries operate 365 days a year offering two separate daily services between both Docklands and Portarlington; and Docklands and Geelong.
Located on the north-east side of the Bellarine Peninsula, Portarlington’s naming is a little obscure. Possibly it was named after Portarlington in Ireland, a market town south-west of Dublin.
Surveyed town lots were first sold in Portarlington in 1851, about eight years after Anne Drysdale settled at nearby Drysdale on her pastoral run.
The Bellarine Peninsula was an early agricultural region for cereal crops, and later for hay, onions, peas and potatoes.
The condition of the roads to Geelong, and the placement of shire tolls on the roads, encouraged farmers to ship produce to Melbourne from the nearest port.
Portarlington’s first public jetty was opened in 1859, lengthened into deeper water in 1870 and rebuilt a few years later.
The small port was also a destination for the Bay steamer excursion traffic.
CoreLogic data indicates that the predominant age group in Portarlington is 60-69 years with households in Portarlington being primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1,400-$1,799 per month on mortgage repayments, and in general, people in Portarlington work in a professional occupation.
In 2011, 72.8 per cent of the homes in Portarlington were owner-occupied compared with 69.6 per cent in 2016.