Events that occurred in early Melbourne 1835-1850 as outlined in Museums Victoria's Melbourne Story exhibition.
The meeting between John Batman and a group of Aboriginal men on a winter's day in 1835 is regarded as the city's foundation point. It preceded the establishment of the first European settlement that was from 1837 known as Melbourne. This section of the exhibition traces the emergence of the city:
laying down Hoddle's central grid of Melbourne's streets;
the arrival of the first British immigrants, the establishment of flour mills and iron foundries;
the first election of local landholders as representatives of the Port Phillip District in the NSW Legislative Council;
the granting of city status to the settlement on the authority of Queen Victoria; and
royal assent to the separation of Victoria from New South Wales (1850).
Land that had supported Aboriginal people for thousands of years was transformed and claimed by Europeans. These settlers brought diseases with them that contributed to the decimation of the local Aboriginal population within two decades. At the same time, streets began to be laid, and the first buildings were constructed. However, the migrants, who poured off the ships in Port Phillip Bay looking for a better life often found that harsh conditions awaited them. Housing was limited and rough, the settlement was plagued by drunkenness and disorder, and while some laid the foundations of future wealth, others found only hardship and sorrow.