30 April 2020
VIRTUAL FUN WITH HISTORY - WEEK 5by PORT FAIRY & REGION VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE
Welcome back to another week of Virtual Fun with History, and what a great addition to the series this is! So kick back and relax as we take you on a journey back to the beginning of Seacombe House in Port Fairy.
Captain John Sanders and his Sailing Ship, the Dusty Miller had run aground on the rocks off Griffiths Island in 1842. After damaging his ship, he decided to stay and explore the small but fast growing town of Port Fairy, filled with whalers and squatters.
It was 5 years later in 1847, that Sanders built a large structure that soon became well known as the “Stag Inn”.
The Stag Inn was a remarkable building for its time. It boasted a dining room, a commercial room, five parlours, twenty bedrooms, eight second-class bedrooms, a bar, billiard room, as well as private apartments and Stables for the wealthy squatters horses.
The Inn continued trading as one of the principal hotels in Port Fairy and accommodating for whalers and wealthy squatters until 1873.
After 1873 it became a school for boys and girls until about 1890, after which it appears to have become disused. It later became a boarding house, boarding school, and assembly room.
The Stagg Inn is currently used as a residential hotel and is known as “Seacombe House”.
Seacombe House's outward appearance is almost unchanged from the time that Captain Sanders proudly declared the building open! And some of the marvellous features of the original historical building are still able to be admired today. These include the twelve pane, double hung sashes, the two dormer windows, the angled corner and the hipped roof shapes.
The little stone buildings next door to the Inn, once used as the Bank of Australasia and the Old Shire offices in 1853, have also have been converted into cottages and form part of the historical Seacombe House complex.
Seacombe House is an important surviving example of early architecture in Victoria and is closely associated with the early history of settlement at Port Fairy. Therefore, both hotel and cottages are among the fifty buildings in Port Fairy that are classified by the National Trust.