The First Settlement of Victoria

The first attempt to settle Victoria was made in 1803. On the 7th October of that year Lieutenant-Colonel Collins arrived from England with the intention of founding, in Port Phillip, a convict settlement similar to that which had been established at Sydney.

The expedition landed on the shores of Port Phillip, near Sorrento, and several explorations of the country were made, but in the course of a few months the attempt at colonisation was abandoned, as the place was believed to be unsuitable for settlement. For twenty years thereafter the District of Port Phillip continued to be neglected.

In 1824 Hume and Hovell undertook exploration of the territory to the south and west of the land then known to the settlers reaching, it is believed, the western arm of Port Phillip, not far from the present town of Geelong.

In 1826 another expedition, under Captain Wright, was sent from Sydney to form a settlement at Western Port, but returned by order of Governor Darling after one year's trial, although the reports of Hume and Hovell and of the officers of the military were favourable to a continuation of the occupation.

The first permanent settlement was made in 1834 at Portland Bay, by Edward Henty.

In May, 1835, John Batman arrived at Port Phillip from Launceston, Tasmania, and obtained from the aborigines tracts of land covering an area of 600 000 acres on the shores of Port Phillip and the banks of the Yarra, but these grants were afterwards disallowed by the Imperial Government.

In August of the same year another party, under the leadership of J. P. Fawkner, also from Launceston, arrived in the Yarra, and formed a settlement on the site now occupied by the city of Melbourne.

In 1836 Captain Lonsdale, who bore the title of Resident Magistrate of the District of Port Phillip, and was accompanied by a party of soldiers as well as the necessary civil servants, was dispatched from Sydney by Sir Richard Bourke, Governor of New South Wales, for the purpose of establishing regular Government.

In 1837 the Governor himself arrived from Sydney, and gave the name Melbourne to the new settlement.

Port Phillip was separated from the mother colony on the 1st July, 1851, and became an independent province under the name of Victoria.

The first representative Parliament was opened on the 21st November, 1856.

Victoria is both the second most populous State in Australia and the smallest on the Australian mainland. It is also the most densely populated State.

It's capital city, Melbourne, was the main city of the Victorian gold rush in the middle of the nineteenth century and soon outgrew even Sydney though this has since been reversed.

After Federation Melbourne served as the National Capital until the establishment of Canberra.