History of Melbourne 2018-05-17T15:47:44+10:00

Before you move to Melbourne and start looking for things to do, you may be interested to know a little about the history. Melbourne has a rich history that shows how this city was transformed from a young settlement into one of the most bustling and progressive financial and industrial centers in Australia.

Pre-Settlement

The land where the city is now located once belong to the Kulin people. This group of people were formed an allegiance of several different groups of Australians indigenous to the area. When Europeans began to settle in this area, the Kulin alliance had dwindled to fewer than 20,000 people.

This area was so important because it proved to be a vital source for both food and water. These groups learned to make a living fishing, as well as hunting and gathering the other rich food sources that were in the area.

Exploration By Europeans

In the late 1790s, George Bass traveled with six crew members in a whale boat. They were the first to enter into what would later be known as the Bass Strait. This is the passage between the mainland and Tasmania. He also sailed west into what is currently the Grippsland of Victoria. In the early 1800s, John Phillip also traveled to Australia, and he was soon followed by Matthew Flinders.

Several explorers traveled to Australia during the 1800s including:

•    Charles Grimes
•    Charles Robbins
•    James Fleming
•    David Collins
•    William Hovell
•    John Batman

Each of these explorers traveled to different parts of the continent, but discovered that the entire area was rich land for animal grazing and fertile land for growing crops. In fact, John Batman explored many areas of Australia, and he also explored the land that is now known as the northern part of Melbourne.

The Founding Of Melbourne

On June 6, 1835, John Batman, who was associated with the Tasmanian Business Syndicate, decided to sign a treaty with several elders of the Wurundjeri people. In this treated, he agreed to purchase 600,000 acres of land in surrounding Melbourne and 100,000 acres surrounding Geelong.

Batman then made plans to begin establishing a settlement around the Yarra. However, another explorer by the name of John Pascoe Fawkner had the same idea. The two explorers decided to parcel the land instead of fight for it.

The treaty that Batman signed was later annulled by the government of New South Wales in August of the same year. However, the government did provide the Association with compensation. Even though after the agreement was annulled the settlers were considered trespassers, the government allowed the town and the settlers to remain.

The First Settlement

Melbourne began life as a little collection of small tents along the Yarra’s banks. The settlers depended on the water for both drinking and bathing water. By the middle part of the 1850s, the river had become extremely polluted, and many settlers became sick with typhoid fever. Even though the town opened city baths in January of 1860, many settlers continued to swim in the river.

The city of Melbourne experienced rapid population growth due to the influx of new residents during the gold rush of during the 1850s, and continued to see expansion during the 1880s and 1890s.

Post-war Melbourne has seen an increase in prosperity and even though the city was hit with a financial crisis in 1989, the city has rebounded. Melbourne’s ever evolving history and resilience continues to attract people from all over to the area.

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