William DuttonPrint Page Print this page

William Dutton : 11-June-2011
William Dutton : 11-June-2011

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

An obelisk erected over the grave of William Dutton (1811-1878) who was the first to land and reside on the site of Portland.

William Dutton was a sealer, whaler, Portland pioneer, and one of Victoria’s original white settlers, who reputedly first lived seasonally in the south-west as a sealer in the late 1820s. Dutton worked off and on in Portland Bay as a sealer and whaler from 1828, building a hut for his convenience while at these industries. He made no attempt at permanent settlement, neither did he bring with him any stock or implements that would show he intended to occupy the land. Edward Henty arrived in 1834 and was the first permanent settler in Portland. 

PORTLAND. Monday. — Yesterday Portland celebrated its ninety-ninth birthday. A pilgrimage was made to Captain William' Dutton's grave at Narrawong by about 300 people from Portland and district. Addresses were given by Rev. Canon Coupe, and Messrs, W. J. Williamson, M.L.C., and E. E. Bond, M.L.A. . Mr. Noel E. Learmonth, secretary of the Historical Committee, said Captain Dutton was the first white settler to arrive here; he thought he was by no means the first whaler,  the waters on the coast having been worked in 1808, three years before Captain Dutton was born in Sydney. He built the first house, known as the Single Corner, near the Fishermen's Breakwater, and lived there when on periodical whaling visits. He afterwards established a whaling station at Double Corner, at the north end of the present town. He was married in 1843 to Mary Sagers, who on the death of her husband married again. He died at Narrawong in 1878, the same year as Mr. Edward Henty, who was a year older. The first burials in Narrawong Cemetery were the crew of the whaling boat who went to the rescue of the steamer Julia, which was wrecked in 1863. Mr. R. Boyer, whose father was a neighbor of Captain Dutton, deplored the Government's action in not erecting a headstone to the first white settler. About £15 is in hand for the erection of a memorial over the grave, which will be unveiled during the Centenary celebrations. 
The Age, (Melbourne), 21 November 1933. 

At a meeting of the Historical Committee on Monday, a simple but neat design was agreed on for a memorial to Capt. Dutton, which is to be erected over the grave in the Narrawong cemetery and unveiled during the Centenary week. The work will cost about £25, towards which the Centenary Celebrations Company has promised a certain amount while the Historical Committee also has some funds in hand. Subscriptions from any admirer of the intrepid old whaler will be received by Mr. Noel Learmonth or any member of the Committee.
Portland Guardian (Vic), 12 July 1934.


Address:Narrawong Cemetery Road, Cemetery, Narrawong, 3285
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.242089
Long: 141.700131
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:November-1934
Front Inscription

William Dutton,
Master Mariner.
Portland Bay 1828.
Died 1878

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au