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Measuring a Town

When Governor Bourke visited the new settlement in 1837, it was clear that there had been little progress with the initial land survey of the area.

Bourke selected Robert Hoddle, the senior surveyor from Sydney, to take up the chain and theodolite for the government. On 4 March, Hoddle and Bourke rode over the area on horseback and traced the general outline of the township. On 7 March, Bourke directed that the town be laid out, and on the 9 March the governor named the settlement 'Melbourne' after the British prime minister of the day. By the end of April, Hoddle's plan of Melbourne was lodged at the government survey office in Sydney.

Robert Hoddle's field book
magnifyRobert Hoddle's field books

Not all have agreed that the plan of Melbourne is actually the work of Robert Hoddle. Governor Bourke, Robert Russell and William Lonsdale have also been credited with Melbourne's grid design. Whatever the verdict, the 1837 grid of wide and narrow streets remains Melbourne's dominating historic memento of European settlement.


Robert Hoddle
magnifyRobert Hoddle


Theodolite
magnifyTheodolite


Hodometer
magnifyHodometer
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