A guide to researching the history of Victoria's foundation and early settlement based on published and digitised sources.
The Library is closed from December 25 to January 3. From January 4 2021 we will be partially open to pre-booked and walk-up visitors and our Ask A Librarian service will resume for assistance with your research inquiries online and over the phone.
This guide details Victoria's early history from 1803 to 1851, using published histories and documents such as pamphlets, maps, newspapers and pictures, some of which can be viewed online.
We begin from the time of the first surveys of Port Phillip in 1801 and the subsequent 1803 Sorrento settlement, and progress through to Victoria's separation from New South Wales in 1851. Click on the tabs across the top of this page for details on selected topics.
Unpublished manuscript material is not included in the scope of this guide, however, where appropriate, there are links to digitised documents within the Library's important collection of Port Phillip papers.
The State Library of Victoria's ergo website for students contains a module covering Victoria's social, political and cultural development, titled Explore history, and links have been made to this throughout.
This is a perpetual work in progress. If you find any errors, or if you can suggest other information sources or approaches to this topic, please contact us.
Melbourne in 1841, painted by John Adamson, H6262/2