Discovery of Port Phillip

(previous ... Australian Discoveries 1817 to 1836)

The discovery of Bass Straits in 1798 had made it impossible for the captains of ships bound for Sydney to shorten their voyage. In 1800, Lieutenant Grant, for the first time made use of this advantage. On his way from England , he took his little brig, the Lady Nelson, through the Straits and as he passed along the northern shores, he gave names to the principal bays and inlets. When he arrived in Sydney, he called the attention of Governor Phillip King to a small inlet which he had not examined, although it seemed to him of importance.

Port Phillip

In 1802 the Governor sent the Lady Nelson, now under the command of Lieutenant Murray, to explore this inlet. Lieutenant Murray entered it and found that a narrow passage led to a broad sheet of water, thoroughly land locked, though of very considerable extent. He reported favourably of the beauty and fertility of its shores and desired it to be named Port King, in honour of the Governor. But Governor King requested that this tribute should be paid to the memory of his old commander, the first Australian Governor, thus the bay was named Port Phillip. Only 60 days later Matthew Flinders also entered the bay but when he arrived some time afterwards in Sydney he was surprised to find that he was not the first to discover it.

Walking Around the Bay

In 1803 Governor King sent Charles Grimes , the Surveyor-General of New South Wales, together with two gentlemen name Meehan and Robbins, to walk around the shores of Port Phillip. This adventurous feat they accomplished and discovered several rivers falling into the bay, but to these they gave no names. So beyond the compliation of a rough chart of Port Phillip, the expedition really didn't produce any results.

(continues ... Governor David Collins and Port Phillip)

 

History of Australia