What is significant?
The Portland Customs House was built in 1849-50 and is the oldest of its type in Victoria, and the only remaining customs house which survives from Victoria's pre-Separation period. The design of the Customs House at Portland is attributed to the Colonial Clerk of Works to the Port Phillip district Henry Ginn.
How is it significant?
The Portland Customs House is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Portland Customs House is the only surviving example of its stylistic type. It is important because of its association with the earliest phase of government administration in Victoria; the other stylistically similar customs houses were constructed at Melbourne and Geelong and have not survived. It is able to illustrate the importance of customs houses in the collection of tariff duties, one of the major sources of revenue for Victoria prior to the introduction of Federal income taxation in 1915. The design of the Customs House at Portland is important in its ability to reflect the operations of colonial and federal customs through the retention of the Long Room, offices and, below on the ground floor, the bond store and accommodation for the customs master. It is also a rare example of the Colonial Clerk of Works Henry Ginn' work. The Customs House also demonstrates the pre-eminence of Portland in the early days of the state's history, a pre-eminence soon superseded by Melbourne.