History of Tasmania and Victoria

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First, a Timeline of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)


1803: Risdon Cove (about 7 kms north of Hobart) was settled by a small group of 49 soldiers, sailors, settlers and convicts in September 1803 under command of Lieutenant John Bowen.

1804: Sullivan's Cove (Hobart) becomes the main penal colony in February 1804 under Lieutenant Governor David Collins. He was moving his colony of about 400 from Port Phillip (Melbourne) which he had settled the previous year, and he now rejected Risdon Cove due to its inadequate source of fresh water.
Church of England clergyman Robert Knopwood conducts its first divine service. The name Hobart Town was adopted by the settlement in June 1804, after Lord Hobart the Colonial Secretary.
Colonel William Paterson establishes a settlement in the north of the island at the mouth of the Tamar River, first at George Town in November 1804, then shifts to York Town on the western side of the river a few months later.

1805: First land grants.

1806: Colonel William Paterson begins transfer of York Town settlement 50kms south to the site of modern Launceston.

1807: The first Norfolk Island settlers, being relocated due to Norfolk Island's remoteness, arrive in Hobart in the Lady Nelson and resettle at New Norfolk, 20 miles north-west of Hobart in the Derwent Valley.

1810: First church, St David's, built. Colony's first flour mill built. Administration launches colony's first newspaper, the Derwent Star and Van Diemen's Land Intelligencer.

1815: First Van Diemen's Land wheat shipment to Sydney.

1816: Following the war with Napoleon and the European peace at Waterloo, first emigrant ship arrives with free settlers from England.

1817: Additional ships loaded with convicts now begin to arrive, about 2,000 yearly. New Government House occupied in Macquarie St, on site of present Town Hall, at lower Elizabeth St and Franklin Square.

1819: First proper hospital opens. 

1823: The Presbyterian Church's first official ministry in Australia now opens in Hobart. Also the first bank, Bank of Van Diemen's Land, now established.

1824: The inauguration of the Supreme Court, and the opening of Cascade Brewery.

1825: Van Diemen's Land becomes an independent colony, now with its own judiciary and legislative council.

1828: Martial Law declared against aborigines. Ends in 1832 with the rounding up of the last 230 who were sent to Flinders Island in the Bass Strait. Today, none of the full-bloods remain.

1831: Land Grants to free settlers ends, sales start.

1838: The first secular register of births, deaths and marriages in the British colonies established.

1840: Transportation from Britain to NSW ends, causing heavier influx of convicts to Tasmania.

1844: Norfolk Island, formerly administered by NSW, comes under Tasmanian control.

1849: Anti-transportation league formed after Launceston public meeting.

1853: Jubilee festival in Hobart celebrates end of convict transportation after arrival of last ship, the St Vincent.

1856: Name of Van Diemen's Land officially changed to Tasmania after grant of responsible self-government. New two-house Parliament opens after elections, William Champ becomes colony's first Premier.
Norfolk Island transferred from Tasmanian to NSW control.

1860: British troops sail from Hobart for Maori war in New Zealand.

1870: British troops leave permanently.

1874: First book publication of Marcus Clarke's For the Term of His Natural Life, set mainly in Tasmania.

1877: Port Arthur penal settlement closed.

Timeline of Melbourne, Victoria

Extract from https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Port_Phillip #British_settlement

1802: Named Port King after Governor King in Sydney.

1803: Governor King decided to place a convict settlement at Port King mainly to stake a claim to southern Australia ahead of the French. On 10 October 1803 a convoy of two ships led by Captain David Collins carrying 402 people (15 Government officials, 9 officers of marines, 2 drummers, 39 privates, 5 soldiers' wives and a child, and 307 convicts with 17 convicts' wives and 7 children) arrived at Port King. After some investigation it was decided to establish the settlement at a spot named Sullivan Bay, 100 kms to the south. But lack of fresh water, and good timber, meant this colony was abandoned on 27 January 1804, and resettled on land named Sullivan Cove in Van Diemen's Land, today Hobart.

1805: Governor King formally renamed Port King as Port Phillip, in honour of his predecessor Arthur Phillip.

1829: A sealer William Dutton built a hut on the shore of Portland Bay (360 kms west of Port Phillip) in 1829 where he resided until his death. In 1834 Edward Henty and his family landed in Portland Bay from Van Diemen's Land and began the first permanent European settlement on this north coast.

1835: John Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines and John Fawkner's arrival
First an intro, extracted from https://www.utas.edu.au
John Batman (1801–39) and John Pascoe Fawkner (1792–1869), long regarded as founders of Victoria, were both sons of convicts. Fawkner arrived in Sullivan Bay as a ten-year-old on the Calcutta in 1803, before the settlement was transferred to Hobart. His pioneering experiences included work as a timber-getter, builder, farmer, colonially-sentenced convict and baker, before he moved to Launceston, where he tried a variety of occupations, but was best known for his establishment and operation of the Cornwall Hotel and the Launceston Advertiser.

Batman, born in Parramatta in 1801, came to Tasmania in 1821. He acquired Kingston, a rural property near Ben Lomond in north-east Tasmania, large in acreage and poor agriculturally, and achieved local prominence by capturing bushranger Matthew Brady, by his conciliatory dealings with Aborigines, and as founder and agent for the Port Phillip Association which aimed to develop this area. In 1835 the rivals departed separately for Port Phillip, Batman in the Rebecca establishing first at Indented Head and signing the celebrated Treaty with eight Wurundjeri elders on 6 June.

For 600,000 acres of Melbourne, including most of the land now within the suburban area, John Batman paid 40 pairs of blankets, 42 tomahawks, 130 knives, 62 pairs scissors, 40 looking glasses, 250 handkerchiefs, 18 shirts, 4 flannel jackets, 4 suits of clothes and 150 lb. of flour, also the promise of an annual 'rent or tribute'.

This exchange of gifts that occurred (the Wurundjeri gave Batman fur cloaks, weapons and baskets), resembled the Tanderrum ceremony, whereby the presentation of some foliage to strangers signified that they had been granted access to and usage (but not ownership) of the host's land as well as protection and were expected to reciprocate by sharing their resources.

On 26 August 1835, Governor Bourke (in Sydney) issued a Proclamation which formally declared that Batman's Treaty was "void and of no effect as against the rights of the Crown" and declared any person on "vacant land of the Crown" without authorization from the Crown to be trespassing. The proclamation was approved by the Colonial Office on 10 October 1835. The official objection to the Treaty was that Batman had attempted to negotiate directly with an Aboriginal eldership which the British Government (at that time) did not recognise with having authoritative legal title over land in Australia. Secondly, Batman had purchased the lands for the Association, and not for the Crown.

Some historians continued to assume that the Treaty was a forgery, but the recollections of Wurundjeri leader William Barak (c. 1823-1903), who was present at the signing of the treaty as a boy, established that Batman, with the aid of his aborigine servants, did in fact participate in a signing ceremony.

Meanwhile, Fawkner acquired the Enterprise and after a couple of false starts left in September with stores for his new settlement on the Yarra.

1836: Their subsequent careers were in great contrast. Batman's wealth and health deteriorated dramatically in the four years preceding his death. Batman and his family settled in a house that he built in April 1836 at what became known as Batman's Hill at the western end of Collins Street. Batman's health quickly declined as venereal disease, first contracted back in 1833, disfigured and crippled him, and he became estranged from his wife, convict Elizabeth Callaghan. They had had seven daughters, and a son born in 1837, but they all went to live with friends and relatives, while his wife sailed to England in February 1839 for a year. In the last months of his life Batman was apparently cared for by his Aboriginal servants. On Batman's death on 6 May 1839, having died alone, his house was requisitioned by the government for administrative offices.

Click here for further details.

Fawkner resumed his career as a publican, newspaper proprietor (Melbourne Advertiser and Port Phillip Patriot) and landholder, and became involved with local then colonial government as a member of the Legislative Council. His reminiscences, while undoubtedly subjective — Batman and Fawkner were bitter rivals — give insights into two Australian states' histories. At his impressive funeral in 1869 he was mourned by hundreds as the founder of Melbourne.

1837: In February 1837, a senior Sydney surveyor, Robert Hoddle, accompanied Governor Bourke to this newly established settlement. Hoddle is noted for his significant role in laying out the design of the central business district, giving Melbourne's citizens a unique well-planned city with wide major streets and narrow secondary streets. His plan allowed for the impressive boulevards and many public parks that are a feature of Melbourne today.

Governor Bourke had mulled over choosing a newly opened Geelong settlement as the capital of the Port Phillip District, but he gave way to Fawkner and Batman's decided preference for their Yarra settlement. Earlier, various names had been suggested for this town, Batmania, Barebrass, Bearport, Dutergalla, Bareheep and most popularly and simply "the Settlement". The first official name proposed had been Glenelg, but now in March 1837 the town was named Melbourne by Governor Bourke after Lord Melbourne, Prime Minister at that time.

1839: In January 1839 Charles La Trobe (1801-1875) was appointed superintendent of the Port Phillip District. He arrived at Melbourne on 30 September with his wife and daughter, two servants and a prefabricated house.

La Trobe did not come to administer an established colony, for the Port Phillip District was simply a new and rapidly developing dependency of New South Wales. As superintendent all his decisions had to be approved by Governor Sir George Gipps, his senior in Sydney who controlled land sales, plans of public buildings and the appointment of officers. So all the revenue for Port Phillip administration also had to be allotted by the New South Wales government. Gipps and La Trobe however had excellent terms of friendship and mutual respect, the governor acting as guide and mentor to the superintendent, particularly in relationships with their mutual superiors at the Colonial Office.

1847: Melbourne was declared a city by letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847.

1851: The Port Phillip District became the separate Colony of Victoria in 1851, with Melbourne as its capital. Charles La Trobe was now promoted to Lieutenant Governor. Days later gold was discovered near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo.

Melbourne, which served as the major port and provided most services for the region, experienced rapid growth. Within months, the city's population had increased by nearly three-quarters, from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants.

1854: Charles La Trobe returned to England, and was replaced by Charles Hotham, who discovered a serious discrepancy in the colony's books of account, its "imprest" system of making large cash advances. The same year there was an armed rebellion by miners protesting new mining licensing laws (the "Eureka Stockade"). This was crushed by British troops, but some of the leaders of the rebellion subsequently became members of the Victoria Parliament when responsible self-government came in 1855. The same year, Charles Hotham passed away, and was replaced by Henry Barkly.

1855: With self government, the Melbourne Cricket Club secured possession of its now famous ground, the MCG. Members of the Melbourne Football Club codified Australian football in 1859, and Yarra rowing clubs and "regattas" came into prominence about the same time.

Burke and Wills expedition

1860: Setting out from Melbourne on 20th August with 19 men, led by Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, and using camels and wagons, the Burke and Wills expedition famously crossed Australia from south to north and back again. Sadly both Burke (and Wills) died at Cooper Creek, near the Queensland border, on the return journey. Click here to see the spot (nearly 30 - 35,000 people visit it each year). However, by something of a miracle John King who was with them survived to tell the story. Below is an extract of King's rescue account that he gave to the exploration / rescue team sent up from Melbourne.

At Cooper Creek, King said he had left Mr Burke after Burke died (about 30th June 1861) taking as part of his last request some of his few personal possessions, and he returned to where they had left Mr Wills a little while earlier with some food (as he had become too weak to walk) but he had also just died, with footprints showing natives had been there, and taken some of his clothes. He buried Mr Wills in sand, then followed those natives, shot some crows for food, and the natives looked after him fairly well until an exploration party was seen by the natives on 15th September. He had, after a little while though, become worried they were getting tired of him.

In King's words "I always told them that the white men would be here before two moons, and in the evening when they came with nardoo (a fern-related plant that can be roasted) and fish, they used to talk about the 'white-fellows' coming, at the same time pointing to the moon. I also told them they would receive many presents and they constantly asked me for tomahawks, called by them 'Bomay Ko'. From this time to when the relief party arrived they treated me with uniform kindness, and looked upon me as one of themselves. The day on which I was released, one of the tribe who had been fishing came and told me that the 'white fellows' were coming, and the whole of the tribe who were then in camp sallied out in every direction to meet the party, while the man who had brought me the news took me over the creek where I shortly saw the party coming down."

Click here to read of another man, Mr William Brahe's report. He had been left by Burke and Wills in charge of the original camp they had set up at Cooper Creek on 16 December 1860. He is sometimes seen as a "villain" of the piece, he had unfortunately after burying some food in a cache for them at a tree with the message "DIG, Apr21", abandoned the camp. But Brahe was not well, and Patton who was with him had become worse.

It was four months since the camp had been first set up, but it was also just nine hours before Burke Wills and King in fact returned from Cape York on 21st April, the same day, starving and in rags. Yes, ironic. Burke Wills and King had then left the camp, leaving a message in the cache that they were heading south west towards Adelaide, and reburied the cache. It was not dug up though until after King's rescue. And though Burke and Wills tried over the next two months, they couldn't get much further than about a two day journey from that camp.

Back in April, Brahe and Patton had made their way south, and apparently following the scent of horses, arrived at Bulloo Downs on 29th April to find the team there with all the equipment, under William Wright. He and Brahe returned to Cooper Creek, it wasn't far north, but they missed Burke and Wills who, as mentioned before, had tried to head south west. So Brae and Wright returned to Bulloo, then made their way back to Menindee (100 kms east of Broken Hill), Patton dying on the journey on 5th June.

Back in Melbourne. From August 1860 when they'd left, they'd sent dispatches and telegrams from various towns along the way as far as Menindee, and then Burke sent a final dispatch from Torowoto (in the far north-west just south of the Qld border) on 29th October. This dispatch announced that Burke had split the party at Menindee and was intending to form a depot at Cooper Creek. It also showed he had appointed Wright as third-in-command at Menindee, intending for him to follow him (Burke) to Cooper as soon as possible.

On 30th December Hodgkinson arrived back in Melbourne with news that Burke had not been heard of since leaving Torowoto, and Wright was still at Menindee. A special meeting of the Exploration Committee was called on New Years Eve and £400 was granted for Wright to buy horses and sheep so he could leave Menindee. Hodgkinson was sent back with the money and the Exploration Committee heard nothing further. By June 1861, letters to the press were calling for action.

On 26th June, Alfred William Howitt's exploration party left Melbourne, he and three other men. At the Durham Ox Inn near the Murray River, Howitt met William Brahe returning to Melbourne who told him that Burke had not been seen since leaving Cooper Creek the previous December. Howitt realised a bigger relief expedition was needed and he left his 3 men there while he returned to Melbourne with Brahe. The new party became 14 men, with Brahe as second-officer. They arrived at the Cooper on 3rd September, reached the Dig Tree on 13th September, but it appeared just as Brahe had left it on the 8th May so Howitt decided not to dig up the cache.

On the 15th September 1861, Edwin Welch, the relief party's surveyor, was riding along when he saw Aboriginals on the opposite bank of the creek. They were shouting and gesticulating wildly and Welch rode over towards them. They scattered in all directions, leaving one man behind, covered in scarecrow rags and a part of a hat.

Welch wrote :

Before I could pull up I passed it, and as I passed, it tottered, threw up its hands in an attitude of prayer, and fell on the sand. When I turned back the figure had partly risen. Hastily dismounting I was soon beside it excitedly asking,

'Who in the name of wonder are you ?'
'I am King, sir'

For a moment I did not grasp the thought that the object of our search was attained, King being one of the undistinguished members of the party.

'King', I replied.
'Yes' he said. 'The last man of the Exploring Expedition.'
'What, Burke's?'

'Yes' he said.
'Where is he - and Wills ?'
'Dead, both dead long ago' and he again fell to the ground.
Wow.

1861 Melbourne Cup

1861: On a different level, back in Melbourne on Thursday 7th November that year the Melbourne Cup was first run at Flemington Racecourse, growing in popularity to become Australia's premiere horse race, and the world's richest "two mile" handicap. In 1871, following the merging in 1864 of two rival racing clubs, the Victoria Turf Club and the Victoria Jockeys Club to form the Victoria Racing Club (which included a lease over the racecourse) – the Victorian Government entrusted the land ownership (352 acres or 1.4km2) to the VRC. In 1875, the date of the race changed to the first Tuesday in November.

In 1879 came the Caulfield Cup, on crown land in Melbourne obtained by the Victorian Amateur Turf Club based in Ballarat, though since 2001 known as the Melbourne Racing Club , then a third private club in 1883 at Moonie Valley, the home of the Cox Plate.

Click here for the Victorian Racing Club's 2017 annual report. Total revenue for its racing industry services over the year amounted to $169 million (with a significant part coming from catering, dining, hospitality and events), then with $41 million issued in prize money (and other returns) to owners.

Click here for the history of the Melbourne Cup's prize money pool, rising from £710 in 1861 to $1 million in 1985, and to $8 million in 2019.

Click here for the inspirational 2019 movie "Ride Like a Girl".

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