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Early Settlement

The effective beginnings of Melbourne long preceded the official foundation of the town by Governor Richard Bourke on 19 May 1837. Surveyor Charles Grimes, sent by Governor King to explore Port Phillip, had reached the future site of Melbourne on 4 February 1803 and reported it a 'most eligible place for a settlement', but there was no further interest until 1835 when John Batman, one of a group of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) investors and pastoralists, soon to be expanded into the Port Phillip Association, visited to search for good pastoral land.

By 1850, all things considered, life in Melbourne was probably better than in London or other cities in the United Kingdom. A milder climate, better paid and more constant employment, easier access to the countryside, and sanitation better than at home, because its defects were on a smaller scale, all suggest that by 1850 the inhabitants of Melbourne were materially better off than those living in the cities of Great Britain. Overall they had benefited from their emigration and created a thriving city, though they had ravaged an ancient community in the process.