Melbourne

This page includes my grandfather's postcards from Melbourne.

Melbourne
Melbourne aerial view as seen on Google Earth [1] Click image for enlarged view

Brief History of Melbourne

Melbourne is believed to have been inhabited by Aboriginal people for about 40,000 years before the arrival of Europeans. The first British settlement was established by Colonel David Collins in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, at the southern end of Port Philip Bay and near the site of present-day Sorrento. This first colony was short-lived and the settlers moved to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). Another settlement was established in 1835 and, in 1837, was given the name Melbourne, after the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. The colony was initially part of New South Wales. In the decade following, the Aboriginal people were largely dispossessed of their land and it was allocated by the British authorities to incoming squatters.

In 1851 Melbourne and the surrounding area became the colony of Victoria; Melbourne was declared its capital. Gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851 and the city's population increased from 25,000 to 40,000. Melbourne had overtaken Sydney and as Australia's most populous city by 1865.

The city benefited greatly from the wealth resulting from gold mining and a series of public buildings were constructed in the 1850s and 1860s. The city also prospered from trade in agricultural products - especially wool. However as the population of Europeans grew, that of the Aboriginal population declined to about 20% of the former numbers due mainly to diseases like smallpox, frontier violence and the traumatic effects of being dispossessed of their lands.

In 1901 Melbourne became the seat of government of the Commonwealth of Australia and remained so until 1927 when Canberra, about 300 miles to the north-east took over.

The Postcards

The postcards were all printed in Germany.

Town Hall

The unused postcard below from an unknown company shows Melbourne Town Hall with several trams, two horse-drawn hansom cabs and many pedestrians.

Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall - date unknown.

The unused postcard below by Birn Brothers, London was taken from the same vantage point as the photo used to create the previous card but is not the same.

Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall - date unknown.

Government House

The unused postcard below from an unknown company shows a view looking across the Botanical Gardens towards Government House. A rather over-dressed man sits near the pond wearing what looks like a trilby hat. Incidentally, the name of the headgear derives from Gerard du Maurier's 1894 play 'Trilby' in which the heroine wore a hat of this style. The trilby hat is a kind of 'Fedora' hat for anyone interested - I have to confess that I am not and would not be seen dead in a hat of any kind.

Government House
- date unknown.

Parliament House

The unused postcard below by B.B. London shows the Parliament House in Melbourne and a horse-drawn carriage and a number of pedestrians can be seen, but again no motor vehicles.

Parliament House
Melbourne Parliament House- date unknown.

Law Courts

The unused postcard below by Birn Brothers, London shows the Law Courts in Melbourne. A tram with a sign saying 'West Melbourne' can be seen, some kind of horse-drawn vehicle on the far right and a number of pedestrians.

Law Courts
Melbourne Law Courts- date unknown.

Queen's Bridge

The unused postcard below by Birn Brother, London shows Queen's Bridge in Melbourne. A tram can be seen on the surprisingly wide bridge and there are several horse-drawn vehicles in view, including what appears to be that of a coal merchant in the foreground. The horse attached to the cart to the left is wearing a nosebag so is presumably resting.

Queen's Bridge
Queen's Bridge Melbourne - date unknown.

Prince's Bridge

The unused postcard below by Birn Brothers, London shows Prince's Bridge in Melbourne. There is some kind of public gardens in the foreground.

Prince's Bridge
Prince's Bridge Melbourne - date unknown.

Beauty Spot Lilydale

The unused postcard below, one in the 'Sunny Australia' series, was printed in Saxony and shows a beauty spot somewhere near Lilydale - now a town in the suburbs of Melbourne and about 25 miles north-east of the city.

Lily dale
Lilydale near Melbourne - date unknown.

Click on the link below to go to the page on Tasmania - the next port of call in Australia.