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History of Victoria

1770               Captain James Cook maps the east coast of Australia and claims the continent of New Holland for Britain

1788               Captain Arthur Philip, a retired naval officer re-employed by the British Government, establishes the first European settlement at a

site known as Port Jackson, later known as Sydney.

1801-03        Matthew Flinders circumnavigates Australia in the ‘Investigator’, accurately recording the dimentions and shape of the whole

continent of Australia.

1803              Governor King appoints Lieutenant John Bowen to establish a settlement on the Derwent River at Risdon Cove, Van Diemen’s

Land (Tasmania), and Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins to establish a settlement Hobart, Van Dieman’s Land.

1813               Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth cross the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s west.  This new path opens up inland New South Wales to

freed convicts and free settlers from Britain.

1824              A penal coloney (place for prisoners) is established near Redcliffe, Moreton Bay  (Later to become Queensland).  This only lasted a year, and the coloney was transferred to the swamps of Brisbane.

The Australian National Curriculum

The Year 5 curriculum provides a study of colonial Australia in the 1800s. Students look at the founding of British colonies and the development of a colony. They learn about what life was like for different groups of people in the colonial period. They examine significant events and people, political and economic developments, social structures, and settlement patterns.

How did an Australian colony develop over time and why?

 The Development and Growth of Victoria- the students are to understand that Victoria was named after Queen Victoria.  It used to be a part of New South Wales and it was called the Port Phillip District.  The first European explorers to come to Victoria were George Bass and Matthew Flinders in a whale boat,  ‘Tom Thumb’.  

Bass and Flinders mapped the coast line of the eastern Australian coast line and Tasmania.  They discovered that Tasmania was an island, something Cook was unable to do.   Whilst sailing along Bass Strait (named after George Bass) they came ashore at Corio near Geelong.  They named the big bay, Port Phillip Bay, in honour of Governor Arthur Phillip.

They reported that the grasslands of this new area would be ideal for farming and animal grazing.  The first European settlement in the area later known as Victoria was established in  1803.  Several hundred convicts, their guards and the families of soldiers set up a penal colony at Sullivan Bay under the leadership of David Collins.  The first free white settlers to come to Victoria were the Henty Brothers in 1834, and they settled in Portland, in South West Victoria.   Port Fairy, a neigbouring town, is one of the oldest settlements in Victoria.  It was once called Belfast and some thought that it would be the capital of the new colony.  

Melbourne was founded by John Falkner and John Batman in 1835.  This new colony belonged to New South Wales.  As the new colony grew, people petitioned the British Government and Queen Victoria for independence from New South Wales.  Independence was granted in 1851.  This was the same year that gold was found at Ballarat, and later at Bendigo, and news of the gold spread throughout the world, bringing thousands of people from foreign countries.   The vast wealth that was uncovered made Victoria a very rich new colony.  

The gold fields of Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine turned Melbourne into a centre of banking, commerce and money.  Melbourne was named in honour of the British primeminister of the time, Lord Viscount Melbourne.  Victoria was named in honour of Queen Victoria.  

Sullivans Bay Settlement


European Settlement of Victoria to 1851

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