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MEDIA RELEASE - Historic artefact returns to shire

12 September 2018

After more than 130 years, a decorated cultural artefact linked to one of Portland’s heritage buildings has returned home to the Glenelg Shire.

The ceremonial trowel used to lay the foundation stone of the Portland Masonic Lodge (now the home of personal training studio Brenda’s Functional Fitness) in 1876 has been donated to the shire’s Cultural Collection.

Glenelg Shire cultural collection officer Trevor Smith said the patient wait was well worth the historical reward.

“After more than a century it is certainly exciting to officially welcome the ceremonial trowel back to Portland and to the Cultural Collection,” he said.

“The trowel, which marks a significant period of cultural and industrial development in Portland’s history, was originally presented to Portland bank manager Joseph Lee Archer. Archer eventually left Portland, taking the trowel with him.

“Since then the trowel has moved across the country with the Archer family, travelling through Victoria, Western Australia and eventually South Australia, where it has been in the possession of Archer’s grand grand-nephew Bob Archer in Goolwa.

“After all these years, Bob has kindly returned the trowel back its original home and donated it to the collection, allowing an important piece of Portland’s history to be safely kept and viewed for generations to come.”

The trowel will be included in future displays of the Cultural Collection at Portland’s History House.

The Glenelg Shire Cultural Collection is comprised of over 10,000 important cultural items including paintings, photographs and historic objects. Following a valuation undertaken earlier this year, the collection is currently worth more than $6.5 million.

For further information on the Cultural Collection, including current exhibitions, please visit

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