Melbourne 1835 to 1852

When Shadrach and family arrived in Melbourne it had only been established for about 15 or 16 years. The following sketches attempt to show the rapid growth of the township.

Melbourne in 1836 - picture from Chronicles of Australia

Melbourne in October 1836
(Chronicles of Australia p 252)

As you can see the well laid out grid pattern existed very early. Most of the dwellings at this stage were tents or other makeshift constructions. The wider area in the river is what became known as the Pool of Melbourne or the turning basin and it is situated below a rock outcrop that acted as a slight natural barrier to progress of the larger vessels up the river. This outcrop was where Queen's Bridge now stands

The next sketch shows the extent of the building in just three years. Along the wharf at the river edge there are already stone buildings for such edifices as the Customs House, the Police Offices and Lockup, a Soda Water Factory, a Booksellers, a Bakery, a Brewery and no less than eight Hotels or Taverns.

Melbourne in 1839

Melbourne in 1839
Much building is underway particularly public offices and Pubs
Chronicles of Australia p 264

Not everyone thought much of town at this time as can be seen from the caption under the next sketch. There were other problems as well, apparently the lack of decent sanitation led to the nickname of Smelbourne and the river flooded about every 10 years, which must have made life a bit more exciting.

Melbourne in 1840 - Collins Street

Collins Street Melbourne in 1840
"the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal town"
Chronicles of Australia p 266

This next photograph (taken in 1856) shows Australian Wharf in the Yarra, with the growing suburb of Emerald Hill (later South Melbourne) in the background.
The ships are typical of those bringing migrants to the Gold Fields and are now awaiting the return cargoes of wool, gold dust and passengers.
This view is taken from the top of the scaffolding for the new gas works and it shows the low lying swampy ground to the south of the Yarra, probably near where the tent city was set up for the overflow of the gold rush migrant families. This means that we are looking in the opposite direction to the two earlier views of Melbourne shown above.

Australia Wharf - 1856

The Australia Wharf in 1856
Emerald Hill in the background
The Centenary Collection - Melbourne p 15

 The population growth was enormous. A census in 1846 as shown in the table below had concluded that the Port Phillip district of NSW (as it was known then) contained only 32,895 individuals excluding aboriginals as they were not counted, now there is a surprise. In 1853 the population was closer to a half a million.

Town of Melbourne  Men   Women
Gipps Ward17581602
Burke Ward976929
Lonsdale Ward14811176
LaTrobe Ward15571495
County of  Men   Women
Bourke36882688
Gipps Land612240
Murray District1142416
Western Port25161009
Grant & Geelong23391531
Portland41301610