A town with a rich


Prior to white settlement, the Portland region was occupied by the Wiradjuri people. The first European in the area was James Blackman who surveyed roads in the area in 1820 and today Blackman’s Flat and Blackman’s Crown bear the family name.

The town that built Sydney

Historic Mining Town

The town of Portland is of interest as an historic mining town, and also as the place of the first cement factory in Australia. Portland really got its start when Thomas Murray selected 61 hectares of land in 1863 and constructed his first lime kiln on what is now the corner of Lime and Villiers Streets. The railway came through Portland in 1882 and the first station opened in 1887 was called Cullen Siding until 1889. The Cullen Bullen Lime and Cement Company established operations in the village that year. During the early 1890s, the first cement-making kilns west of the Blue Mountains were built in Portland.

It’s where we got out name

Portland Cement

In 1894, the village was gazetted as Portland, the name derived from the cement-making process which was already well underway in the area.

The cement works opened in 1902 and Portland was declared a town in 1906. Many of the original buildings in Portland were built by the cement works company for employees and still stand. Well-known Australian brand names now adorn many of the historic shops and buildings, creating a strong link to “yesteryear” that is celebrated by the town.

the industry that built Portland

The cement works

From 1902 cement produced at the “Commonwealth Portland Cement Company” mill helped build up the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra. “Portland cement”, a phrase synonymous with high quality cement anywhere in the world, was milled using limestone from onsite quarries and shipped throughout Australia. The town of Portland grew up around the Cement Works and the company contributed greatly to the area, building facilities that were needed for employees. A bath house, casino, an ice skating rink, Olympic swimming pool, and living quarters were supplied to workers. The cement kilns even generated enough energy to power the homes around it.

The factories of Portland and the surrounding area required the transportation of limestone, coal, and other materials, and to this end, a number of private industrial railways and tramways were constructed.

Take in a movie at the

The Crystal Theatre

The Crystal Theatre was opened in 1927, after a fire in 1925 the current Crystal Theatre was built on the site. and to this day is still in use. The Theatre is still in use by the town to this day for notable events like the Portland Art Exhibition and other activities.

A sign of the times

Signs of yesteryear

In 2001, Ron Bidwell, a signwriter by trade, together with his fellow “Letterheads” recreated vintage signs dating from 1895 to 1945 on local shop walls. ‘Painting Portland’ was a project initiated by Ron Bidwell and completed during the Letterheads Wallnuts Weekend, in 2001. Thirty-four signwriters travelled to Portland to work with locals to restore and reproduce advertising used in the early part of the 20th century. Goanna Salve, Kinkara Tea, Bushell’s Tea, Mother’s Choice Flour, Uncle Toby’s Oats, Arnott’s Biscuits, Toohey’s Flag Ale, Solvol, Federal Safety Matches and Swagsman Blend Tea are a selection from the colourful Signs of Yesteryear. For the last 20 years the Portland Wallnuts continue to gather in Portland NSW on the last weekend in October every year, to celebrate the achievements of previous years and continue on the Tradition of Traditional Signwriting. In the last 20 years more than 200 signwriters from around the world have donated their time in painting more than 280 signs in Keeping the Signs of Yesteryear alive.

No trace left of the

Portland Station

A railway station was opened at Portland with the name “Cullen Siding” in 1887, being renamed to Portland in 1889, the station was relocated in 1911. Passenger rail services ceased when services to Mudgee railway station ceased in 1985. Rail services included the Mudgee Mail in the 1960s, and diesel multiple unit services between Lithgow and Mudgee in the 1970s until closing in 1985.

Portland station stood on a 100m island platform. On the down side were several sidings serving a pair of loading banks, a goods shed and the nearby cement works. By 1911 – 1912 a private line from the Ivanhoe Colliery near Pipers Flat joined onto the cement works siding. The station has been removed and little trace remains today. The station has been removed and little trace remains today.

The station has been removed and little trace remains today. This drawing by Local Portland artist Hans Liebhart, shows what the Portland Railway Station might of looked like in 1911.