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First White Settlement

First White Settlement

The settlement at the top of Hobsons Bay was founded by John Batman in 1835.

Williamstown, or William’s Town to use its original spelling of the 1830s and 1840s, was named for the British sovereign, King William the fourth, on Native Settlement April 10 1837. Melbourne, on the other hand, was named after the British Prime Minister Lord Melbourne.

Williamstown was originally considered for the site of the government facilities being close to where vessels could anchor as the River Yarra Yarra was too narrow and full of  tree snags to allow anything but very small vessels to navigate. However, a lack of adequate fresh water at William’s Town determined  that  Melbourne  be the government centre.

When the Coode Canal was completed in 1887, Melbourne became the main dock for shipping as well, and Williamstown slowly subsided into a largely forgotten, almost rural, village backwater, where an unparalleled collection of lovely old buildings and houses was able to survive the short-sighted cultural devastation of the 1950s and 1960s.

For feedback and comments please contact the Tourism Officer at Hobsons Bay City Council on (03) 9932 1000 email visitorinformation@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au