Victoria has many histories and has been known by many names. Geologically, this land is more than 400 million years old. Aboriginal people have lived here for at least 40,000 years, and the European history of this place covers a little more than 200 years.
Naming and mapping provide land with a cultural identity. They also define territory and recognise forms of ownership. Victoria is a quite recent name, given in 1851 when the Port Philip area was proclaimed a colony independent from New South Wales. Before this, land was mapped and named by Aboriginal people in recognition of nations, language groups and clans.
European explorers who first visited the area named places in order to claim ownership. For example, British navigator James Grant named Cape Schanck; the French then named it Cape Richelieu; but its Aboriginal name has been recorded as Tunnahan. Melbourne was previously known as Bareberp (Woiwourrung language), Narrm (Boonwurrung language), Bearbrass, Dutigalla and Glenelg before being named, in 1837, by Governor Bourke after the British Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne.
This image gallery presents an overview of items reflecting the theme of colonisation that have been on display in The Changing Face of Victoria exhibition since it opened in 2004.
Visit our other online galleries that explore The changing face of Victoria: