Like Rev. Caldwell, the first Europeans to arrive at Port Phillip adored its splendour but were cautious of its dangers and moods, so white settlement came slowly. Also, it took a while for them to find the place.
The British Empire started mapping the southern coast of Australia in the late eighteenth century. By then, the penal settlement of Sydney (Port Jackson) was brimful of convicts; colonial chiefs were starting to worry about the population’s morale and morality. A second settlement was needed.
Among the best explorers at that time was a handsome surgeon called George Bass, who took six volunteers in a banksia- timber boat to explore the theory among seamen that a treacherous passage of water separated the Australian mainland and Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land). He proved it right.Continue Reading