August 30th is the anniversary of the first settlement to be established in the Port Phillip district, now known as Melbourne.
Much has been written on the history of this settlement, including a fabulous book called “Bearbrass – Imagining early Melbourne” by Robyn Annear first published in 2005. This book is a wonderful re-imagining of what Melbourne may have been like in the early settlement overlaid with how Melbourne is today.
Swanston St Bridge with the flag of Melbourne included as the Melbourne City Council Coat of Arms.
The Red Cross is a reference to the St George Cross, expropriated from mother England. The images relate to primary production and trade which was the foundation stone of Melbourne.
Much of Melbourne’s history focuses on two characters – John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner. Both these individuals came across from Van Diemen’s Land in search of grazing land. Both came to the settlement without official government sanction and indeed Batman signed the first transfer of land for the purchase of 240,000 hectares of grazing land from the representatives of the Kulin Nation – the first peoples of the area. This was subsequently over-ruled and was voided – stymying one of Melbourne’s great property swindles.
The reason August 30 is selected as the day is that that is the day that Fawkner’s party arrived and set up camp near the Old Custom’s House on the corner of William and Flinders Streets. This site on the river subsequently became the Turning Basin and was the hub of much of early Melbourne trade and activity. In turn it also became the site adjacent to Hoddle’s grid. Batman on the other hand, was located on “”Batman’s Hill” in the area now occupied by Docklands.
The “landing place” of Fawkner’s party on the Yarra. There’s a bit more ecological biodiversity on show here than what there is today. Nor are there any litter traps as plastic bags and bottles hadn’t been invented in 1835.
Fawkner’s party arrived on the Enterprize – a purpose built ship constructed for the purpose of bringing the party of 9 men and 1 lady, with sufficient provisions and tools to establish the settlement. Apart from the ship’s captain there was a focus on building talent (with a plasterer and carpenters) and a ploughman. There were also servants and domestic animals including a cat!
The woman on board, Mary Gilbert was six months pregnant and gave birth on 29 December 1935. There is a statue in her honour located at the Fitzroy Gardens.
The reason Fawkner himself wasn’t on board was because he was held up in Launceston by creditors due to some unpaid debts, probably relating to the construction of the Enterprize. He eventually arrived 16 October 1835 with his family who were passengers on the Enterprize’s second voyage.
Batman arrived in April 1836 with his wife and seven daughters. With the Melbourne population being dominated by males it would be a fair bet to say that those girls would have been a popular addition to the social set.
There was a census held in March 1841. Somehow I think that it may have run a bit smoother than the 2016 census. With the old fashioned approach of pen, paper and a bit of open communication between the census collector and the general public, it would have been a snip.
The results of that census showed that there were 769 houses with a population of 4,479. The number of tents were not recorded, however there would have been numerous temporary camps set up.
Batman’s Cottage on Batman’s Hill near the present day site of Southern Cross Station. As was the fashion of the time, the original simple dwelling was constructed and subsequent ground floor extensions added as resources permitted.
The good (or bad) news is that the population of Melbourne is now 4.44 million and climbing. It was recently voted the world’s most liveable city by the Economist Magazine for the sixth year in a row. Anyone who has to commute from the outer suburbs may question this accolade due to the increasing congestion and reduced open space per head of population that is a direct result of this success.
The ranking has been done on five main criteria – Stability, Healthcare, Culture and Environment, Education and Infrastructure. Melbourne scored an average of 97.5. Lucky there was no consideration of affordability.
But for now, the status is well deserved. So happy Melbourne Day, let’s keep the flag flying.
Melbourne skyline at night taken from the King St Bridge looking to the spot of the original settlement of Melbourne. The Banana Alley Vaults are the low rise structure on the bank of the Yarra.
“The quality of tradesmen Supa Group employ are very good. Our original home was built by a volume builder and doesn't compare to the workmanship displayed by Supa Groups tradesmen.”Steve and Anna of Pascoe Vale South
“The works commenced in November and as promised the second storey was at lock up well before Christmas.”John and Grazie of Box Hill North
“Our previous experience of builders has not been great, however we immediately experience a far more professional, friendly and reliable approach.”David and Kathryn of Wantirna
“A big Thank You for a smooth project throughout all its stages, which did not interfere with our busy household of seven.”Naso and Eva of Bulleen
“Thank you for working with us over the last year to make our dream of renovating our much loved home a reality.”Mark and Catherine of Hampton
“Wez and I were very touched by the kind thoughts and flowers we received for our family loss, we warmly thank you so very much...and this is Supa Group!!!”Wez and Pina of Rowville
“You get results that make you smile every time you come home and open the front door. You get a home that brings you joy.”Steve and Jenny of Watsonia
“The Design process was like no other we have experienced. We were excited from day one and we are still smiling from ear to ear.”Kleanthis and Emma of Oakleigh East
“Our building supervisor Braidon Marshall was absolutely fantastic. He was friendly, approachable and accessible when we had a few issues out of hours. We sprung a leak on one rather rainy night, and he came to the rescue after his birthday dinner no less!”Danny and Melissa of Coburg
“The pleasant demeanor, accommodation of questions and assistance through the process has provide us with a feeling of a priority client. ”Peter and Louise of Alphington
“What was really impressive was that the building works were completed in an incredible 6 weeks!!!!”Chris and Michelle of Camberwell
“I highly recommend anyone to consider Supa Group for an extension on their home. I am absolutely delighted we chose Supa Group to make our dreams come true!”Tony and Claire
“We are very happy in our new home and we would like to thank all the staff at supagroup.”Dale and Cristina, Port Melbourne
“Supa Group has done a great job capturing our vision with the original ideas and plans we had in mind and the result is better than we would have expected.”Con and Daniella, East Keilor
“From initial plans right through to the end Supagroup have been polite, professional and super efficient and well organised. Thanks to everyone at Supagroup for helping realise my dreams.”Claudia, West Footscray
“We have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group and we have already started in our Church community, neighbourhood and Tin's work place.”David and Tina, Gladstone Park
“We would not hesitate to recommend Supa Group to any family or friends who may consider a house extension.”George & Elizabeth, Maidstone
“The end result has exceeded my expectations. Not only is the end result stunning but also the manner in which it was achieved was exemplary. I would have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group to others considering extending their homes.. ”Jane, Blackburn
“...we were looking for a no fuss solution, which would require as little input from us as possible. We certainly found that with the Supa Group. We found you professional and timely right throughout the building phase.”Peter and Rose, Taylors Lakes
“My family and I would like to thank you for your excellent quality of work done on our second level extension. It's been an exciting six months watching our house turn into the home we were hoping for.”Tom and Vicky, Mill Park
“We have found the whole experience of a new extension something interesting and exciting and are delighted to recommend Supagroup to our friends and neighbours.”Tim and Kathy, Beaconsfield
“Every day we look around and are amazed at what has been achieved. ...our journey with Supa Group has been amazing to say the least. ”Damian and Anthea
“We would not hesitate in recommending Supa Group to others that are thinking of renovating or extending.”Maria and Vince