History timeline

History timeline

Before 1770:
Victoria is home to many indigenous nations who had inhabited the land for many thousands of years prior to European discovery and settlement.

The continent of Australia was first sighted by the crew on Captain Cook's Endeavour voyage at Point Hicks, located in the far east of Victoria between Bemm River and Mallacoota.

George Bass sailed through Bass Strait and sighted the coast around Wilsons Promontory and Western Port.

Lieutenant John Murray, aboard the Lady Nelson, entered Port Phillip, explored Corio Bay and formally took possession of the area for Britain. Matthew Flinders arrived in Port Phillip and climbed the bay's two major nearby peaks - Arthurs Seat and the You Yangs.

Acting-Lieutenant Charles Robbins, surveyor-general Charles Grimes and gardener James Flemming sailed around Port Phillip and along sections of the Maribyrnong and Yarra Rivers. A British convict settlement was established at Sorrento, thus becoming Victoria's first official settlement, but it was abandoned the following year.

Pastoralist Hamilton Hume and sea captain William Hovell journeyed southwards from New South Wales, crossed the Murray River, Goulburn River and arrived at Corio Bay.

A convict settlement was set up for a brief time at Corinella in Western Port to protect the approaches to the bay from a perceived interest by French explorers in the area.

Charles Sturt lead an expedition along the Murray River, arousing interest in settlement of land to the south.

Victoria's first permanent European settlement was established at Portland Bay by pioneer Edward Henty.

Farmer and businessman John Batman declared a point upstream from the Yarra River's mouth would be the site for a village, which was later to become the Melbourne of today.

The first overland mail service between Melbourne and Sydney began operating. Victoria's first vineyard was established at Yering Station near Yarra Glen.

Melbourne's first mayor, Henry Condell, is elected.

Melbourne's first crossing of the Yarra River opens as a wooden trestle bridge at the site of what is now the Princes Bridge.

The colony of Victoria was formally separated from New South Wales. Captain Charles La Trobe was appointed as Lieutenant-Governor to head the new colony. Gold was discovered in Clunes which sparked discoveries elsewhere in Victoria, resulting in a gold rush and a period of huge population growth and prosperity as immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold.

The Eureka Stockade, an armed rebellion by miners, occurred in Ballarat against the government of Victoria protesting against mining taxes, resulting in what many regard as a pivotal moment in the development of democracy in Australia. The first steam railway to operate in Australia opened between Flinders Street and Port Melbourne.

William Haines became Victoria's first premier when parliament was formed.

Pioneer Thomas Austin introduced rabbits onto his property at Winchelsea which eventually resulted in a pest infestation which spread across the southern part of Australia and continues to this day.

The Melbourne Cup, an annual thoroughbred horse race, ran for the first time and later became one of the world's most prestigious racing events.

Melbourne's GPO (general post office) opened.

Australia's first telephone exchange opened in Melbourne. The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton is completed and hosts the Melbourne International Exhibition.

Railway linking Sydney and Melbourne, via Albury, opened.

Melbourne's first cable tram line service began, running from the city centre to Richmond, later to be replaced by electric tram services.

Victoria ceased to be an independent colony and became one of 6 states in the Commonwealth of Australia as part of the process of federation. As Melbourne was the country's largest city at the time, it became Australia's temporary capital while a new national capital city was planned and built.

Melbourne's growth stalled and Sydney became Australia's largest city.

Melbourne's iconic Flinders Street Station is completed, replacing railway buildings which were first erected on the site in 1854.

Mainstream radio broadcasts began in Victoria, commencing with Melbourne radio station 3AR on the AM band.

Motor vehicles were fully assembled for the first time in Australia by Ford at its plant in Geelong, commencing with the Model T.

Australia's capital was transferred from Melbourne to Canberra - a fully planned and purpose-built city.

Australia's first traffic lights were installed in Melbourne at the junction of Flinders Street and Swanston Street.

The Great Depression began, an economic catastrophe that impacted most of the world but particularly Australia with its high dependence on exports.

The Great Ocean Road officially opens after 13 years of construction by returned soldiers.

Australia's first drive-in theatre, "Skyline", opened in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood.

Victoria's first parking meters were introduced in Melbourne.

The 16th Olympic Games were held in Melbourne, the first time the games were held in the Southern Hemisphere, with 67 nations competing. Mainstream analogue television broadcasts began.

Chadstone Shopping Centre opened - Victoria's first self-contained regional shopping centre.

Australian currency was changed to dollars and cents, replacing pounds, shillings and pence.

Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared, presumed drowned, while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. Ronald Ryan, the last person to be executed in Australia, was hanged in Melbourne.

International flights in and out of Melbourne were transferred from the smaller Essendon Airport to the newly opened Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine, with domestic flights making the transfer a year later. A span of the under construction West Gate Bridge in Melbourne collapsed killing 35 workers, with the reconstructed bridge eventually opening in 1978.

The Melbourne Underground Rail Loop with its three underground stations, opened up in stages during the next four years.

The world's first frozen human embryo birth occurred in Melbourne.

Rialto Towers in Collins Street was completed and became Melbourne's tallest building.

Victoria's first casino, Crown, opened in Melbourne at a temporary location at the World Trade Centre, relocating to a new, purpose-built entertainment complex at Southbank in 1997.

CityLink, Australia's first fully electronically tolled roadway, opened, linking three existing freeways around Melbourne's CBD.

Melbourne hosted the Commonwealth Games which were attended by 71 nations with over 4,500 athletes competing. The Eureka Tower in Southbank, a 300 metre skyscraper with an observation deck, opened and surpassed the Rialto as Melbourne's tallest building.

Victoria's worst disaster, the Black Saturday bushfires, killed 173 people and destroyed a large number of buildings in the tourist towns of Kinglake and Marysville.

Melbourne-born Mary MacKillop became the first Australian to be declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Myki smartcard ticketing system fully replaced paper tickets for public transport travel throughout Melbourne.

Analogue television broadcasts ceased in Melbourne, completing the nation-wide transition to digital television.

Australia 108 - a 100 storey residential skyscraper in Southbank - is completed and became Melbourne's tallest building at 317 metres and Australia's tallest building by roof height. The Covid-19 world-wide pandemic results in Melbourne enduring several months of hard lock-down, including the closure of shops, schools and workplaces, combined with a nightly curfew and strict travel restrictions. Due to the pandemic, the AFL Grand Final football match is hosted in Brisbane - the first time it has ever been held outside of Melbourne.