(previous … Governor David Collins and Port Phillip)
Whilst these years were passing, the new colony at Hobart Town rapidly rose and prospered and the boy Fawkner, who had only been 11 years old when he landed at Port Phillip, had passed through the period of youth and early manhood, at first working sawing timber. Subsequently, during the late 1820s, he became an innkeeper in Launceston and there he owned and ran a small newspaper. But by the age of 42 he read the report of Hamilton Hume and William Hovell’s travels, which had been published in the Sydney journals. It was in these papers that he learnt that on the other side of Port Phillip Bay, from which everyone was glad to escape from thirty years before, there were beautiful forests and well-watered meadows. Fawkner formed a small group for the purpose of crossing the straits. His arrangements, however, took some time to organize and whilst he was planning the journey, a second adventurer, John Batman, was planning a similar journey.
Whilst John Batman was busy making deals with the natives, Fawkner and his five friends had been making their own preparations. They bought a small vessel, the Enterprise , and set sail in her for Port Phillip. But the winds proved contrary and the waves running high. Fawkner became so seasick that he asked to be put ashore and allowed Captain Lancey and the rest of the men to sail on without him. They arrived safely in Hobson’s Bay, bringing with them horses and ploughs, grain, fruit trees, materials for a house, boats, provisions and indeed everything a small settlement could want.
Getting out of their boat they entered upon the stream which they saw before them, but unfortunately, they turned up the wrong arm, and, after rowing many miles, were forced to turn back, the water all the way being salt and unfit for drinking. For this reason, they called the stream Saltwater.
Perfect Location, Melbourne
But the next morning they started again and tried the other branch. After roaring for about half an hour they reached a basin in the river, whose beauty filled them with delight. A rocky ledge over which the river flowed kept the water above it fresh. The soil was rich and covered with splendid grass and they instantly came to the conclusion to settle in this location. The next day they towed the vessel up and landed where the Customs House is now located. At night they slept beside the Falls, where the air was full of the sweet scent of the wattle trees just bursting into bloom.
(continues … John Batman)