150 years of Portarlington Football Netball Club

Every heart beats true for the read and the blue…

On the 1st of August 2024, our great club will be 150 years old. Time to take a trip through history and look at the milestones that got us where we are today. 

In the 1830’s and 40’s settlers began establishing a presence along the Bellarine Peninsula, where Portarlington was discovered. In 1851 the township was formed with a population of about 160 people. Close neighbours also established including Indented Heads and St Leonards. Although, future growth was assured with fast emerging local businesses with the very first being a steam-powered flour Mill which opened in 1857. The mill owners built a private jetty, shipping in grain from Geelong to return as flour and bran. This became the towns sole revenue. The mill is now a National Trust Property and open to visitors.

Fast forward to 1872, the Portarlington Cricket Club was established. Two years later in 1974, the Portarlington Football Club was established, being the first club on the Bellarine. 

The Beginning

Extracted from Tuesday 4th August 1874 – Geelong Advertiser

1874 — on Saturday, August 1st a meeting was held at the Bay View Hotel, Portarlington. The meeting was held for the purpose of establishing a football club. Mr H. Kelly was voted to the Chair. It was resolved that a club be established to be called “The Portarlington Football Club”. Mr R. Graham was elected as Hon. Sec; Mr H. Kelly President and Treasurer. 27 members were enrolled. Another meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug 5th for the purpose of enrolling new members. The Bayview Hotel – circa 1874

Through WW1 the club went into recession, then combining with Drysdale Football Club from 1936-1938, playing in the colours red and white. Portarlington Football Club then went back into recession during WW2, then reformed in 1945 as Portarlington Football and Cricket Club. Later, in 1972 the Cricket Club separated from the Football Club. Following that, our Netball Club was established and combined with the Football Club in 1989.

Our club joined the Bellarine Football Netball League in 1971 after playing within numerus different associations such as Geelong and District Football League, Polwarth Football League and Bellarine District League.

When our club was first established we were referred to as the Ports, later becoming the Bombers between 1944 and 1964. In 1964 when the club joined the Polwarth League, our colours clashed with Birregurra (being red and black at the time), we then changed our club colours to red and blue. Thereforebecoming known as the Portarlington Demons. 

Our club has worn the title of Portarlington Demons since that day…

60 years later we have reached our 150th Anniversary. The perfect scenario for a rebrand. As you may be aware, the club updated our emblem and removed the word “demons” in honour of this momentous occasion. The demon will always play a significant role in our history and culture, although we will now be recognised as the Portarlington Football Netball Club.

The Club’s main goals are to make sure that the surrounding communities are involved in offering top-notch football and netball sporting platforms in a welcoming environment that promotes enjoyment. The towns of St. Leonards, Indented Head, and Portarlington have supported all divisions of the club for almost 150 years through player involvement, membership, sponsorship, and community support.  We cherish our players, members, volunteers and community. Our club wouldn’t run if it wasn’t for all the incredible people we have involved. 

Lets dive a little deeper into our knew club logo and what it means to us. As abovementioned, we no longer have demons in the name, therefore our new emblem states our official name of Portarlington Football Netball Club. It promotes our beloved club colours of red and blue and also states our incredible year of establishment, 1874. Additionally, our emblem now includes intricate details of Native Australian artwork. For thousands of years, Portarlington was originally home to the Wathaurong People. The Wathaurong people’s traditional borders stretch from Werribee to Lorne along the Victorian coast. The Wathaurong People in the Portarlington area are believed to have subsisted on mussels, which is a factor the town is now well-known for! Portarlington Football Netball Club takes pride in all parts of our extensive history. Our new emblem is a way to embrace the many factors that have helped shape the club we are today. 

Heres to 150 years of the red and the blue, and many many many more to come.

-Jamison Camilleri

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