The first Britons to discover Port Phillip were the crew of the Lady Nelson, commanded by John Murray, which entered the bay on 15 February 1802. Murray called the body of water Port King after the Governor of New South Wales, Philip Gidley King. On 4 September 1805, King formally renamed the bay Port Phillip, in honour of his predecessor, Arthur Phillip.
King decided to establish a convict settlement at Port Phillip, mainly to stake a claim to southern Australia ahead of the French. The original settlement was established in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, very close to today’s coastal township of Sorrento. It survived for just seven months, and was abandoned in 1804.
Port Phillip was then left mostly undisturbed until June 1835, when settlers from Van Diemen’s Land led by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, who had been at the Sorrento settlement as a child, established Melbourne on the lower reaches of the Yarra River.
This online gallery traces the early days of Melbourne and the Port Phillip settlement, from Batman's treaty to Fawkner's Advertiser.