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Flagstaff Hill

Originally called Burial Hill, this rise at the western end of the city grid was renamed when the flagstaff was erected in September 1840 for signalling shipping activities in Hobsons Bay. George Gordon McCrae reminisced that 'Bunting and great wicker balls' told what type of vessel was approaching and the port of origin. Marryat's code of signal flags was used to carry news from Williamstown. The advent of the telegraph rendered the flagstaff redundant and operation ceased on 1 October 1857. The signaller's store and dwelling were incorporated into the Flagstaff Observatory. At 130 ft (39.6 m) in height, and with better sight lines of Williams-town and the bay, Flagstaff Hill had been preferred to Batmans Hill as the observatory site. The Flagstaff Gardens were planted on the site in the 1860s.

Judy Macdonald