Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Returning to the Subject of Melbourne History

The City of Melbourne website has an overview of Melbourne's history. A few weeks ago, I got a little history from Lord Wiki. Now I'm going to give myself another dosage. I'll probably have to learn this stuff over and over before I remember much.

I think right now I'll just read through and see if anything is interesting.....

As we learned before, Melbourne was founded in 1835.  Mr. Hobble did his grid thing two years later in 1837.

The City of Melbourne site point out that, unlike Sydney, Melbourne wasn't started by official government folks. It was started by some brave frontier type people from Tasmania.

Let's look a bit more closely at these frontier men.

First we have Batman! That's John Batman. He left Tassie Land on 10 May 1835. But back then his home was called Van Diemen's Land. I was just curious about when the name changed, so I asked Lord Wiki. He said that happened in 1856.


Batman came on a ship named Rebecca. It was a 30-tonne schooner. I have no idea what that means. I'll try to find a picture so I can get an image in my brain.

I googled 30-tonne schooner, and got a Lord Wiki entry on the Rebecca. I guess it's one of the most famous 30-tonne schooners in history.

Now I'm looking at various-sized schooners on Google Images. They look like typical historical ships. I'm guessing the Endeavor was a Schooner.

Nope. I'm wrong.

It was a Barque.

All right. Enough of the ships.

On 29 May, Batman and his friends arrived at Port Philip Bay. They did some exploring and stuff. Then a few days later, on 6 June, they had a meeting with eight Aboriginal chiefs at Merri Creek. From the chiefs, Batman bought a lot of land.

Lord Wiki says that Merri Creek flows through the northern suburbs of Melbourne. I don't know how far north you have to go up to see it. Is it in the inner suburbs, or the not-so-close-to-the-city ones?

Well, I found a part of Merri Creek on Google Maps. It goes through the west side of Studley Park. That's about 20 minutes north of the CBD. I'm not sure if this is where Batman made his deal though.


It was in Northcote. And now I'm looking at Northcote on the map. There's a Merri Park which has a Merri Creek Preserve. Slightly east of that is Batman Park.

I need to zoom out to see where I'm at.

It's a bit north-west of the Studley Park.

After Batman met with the Aboriginal leaders, he and his friends took a ride on the Yarra River. They made their way up to the site of the future Custom House and Immigration Museum. Where's that?

It's on Flinders Street which is way south from Merri Creek. The City of Melbourne site says that Batman and his friends went UP the river. Is that a mistake? Or maybe after meeting with the Aboriginal leaders, Batman went south....and THEN went back up north again.

Batman liked this Flinders Street area. He told his friends to build a hut. Then he returned to Tasmania to deal with some business issues.

A few months later, towards the end of winter, the other guy came along. That was Fawkner. Although he actually didn't come along. He had planned to journey from Tasmania to the Port Phillip Bay. But things went wrong for him. Lord Wiki said he had problems with creditors...or something like that. But the City of Melbourne site says he had seasickness issues.

Who should I believe?

If I'm reading this right, Fawkner's friends wanted to settle in the same place that Batman's friends had settled. Uh oh.

The Fawkner people set up their little village. Then they went back to go fetch Fawkner. How did he manage to deal with his seasickness at this point? Did he use herbal remedies or something?

Anyway, so Melbourne is known for having two separate founders. The City of Melbourne site says they were rivals. Well, it seems they worked things out okay. I remember Lord Wiki mentioning that.

I'd kind of pick Batman as the founder though. He was there first. Although I guess then we should say the Aboriginal people are the founders. They were there REALLY first.

All right. Now we get a third guy in the mix. This is a governor from New South Wales called Bourke. I guess we get Bourke Street from him. That's the street that has some bookstores. I'm glad I'm remembering stuff here.

If I'm reading this right, Bourke came along and created another settlement. But this one was sanctioned by the government. It was a bit more official, I suppose.

In May 1836, Bourke did a formal commission regarding his settlement. He called it BearBrass. For a moment, I misread that as Bearass. I thought, Oh! That goes well with the Moomba Festival.
The population of Bearbrass was 142 men and 35 females. That's a bit uneven.

Did Bearbrass include Batman's and Fawkner's people?

In 1837, they did some name changing. Someone wanted to name the city Glenelg. This was the name of the Secretary of State. Of England, I suppose? Yeah. Lord Wiki says I'm probably right. He was mixed up in royalty somehow. I'm not going to go into detail on this.

Bourke vetoed the Glenelg thing though. He named Melbourne after the Prime Minister of the UK. I'm starting to remember learning this from Lord Wiki....

I don't know where the hell Batman and Fawkner disappeared to. I don't think they're mentioned anymore. Did they become total has-beens?

Oh well.

Now we get to the Hoddle guy. He wanted wide streets. Bourke was weary of this, but then he gave in. They made a deal though. There could be big wide streets, but then Bourke requested that cute small streets be created as well.

There's some sale of land information. I'm kind of skipping that.....

Now I'm at Melbourne's moment of freedom. In the beginning years, it was known as being a province of New South Wales. It was dealt with by New South Wales Parliament. Then in 1842, Melbourne was incorporated as a town. I think this means they became their own...place.

Five years after that, they officially became a city (rather than just a town).

That's enough history for today. Maybe I'll do more tomorrow.