CLOSED – 1835


Courtesy of the random number generator at, the winners are Russell Pollard (My Brown Yarra by Margaret Roadknight ) and Justin Chieu (Chapel St by Something for Kate).


I haven’t read James Boyce’s new book, 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia (RRP $44.95) yet, but but I’m planning to write a review in the near future. I’ve read one or two others on the early years of Melbourne and it’s a fascinating period. I’m therefore pleased to say the publisher, Black Inc., has made two copies available for readers of The Melbourne Urbanist. Here’s a summary:

In 1835 an illegal squatter camp was established on the banks of the Yarra River. In defiance of authorities in London and Sydney, Tasmanian speculators began sending men and sheep across Bass Strait – and so changed the shape of Australian history. Before the founding of Melbourne, British settlement on the mainland amounted to a few pinpoints on a map. Ten years later, it had become a sea of red.

In 1835 James Boyce brings this pivotal moment to life. He traces the power plays in Hobart, Sydney and London, the key personalities of Melbourne’s early days, and the haunting questions raised by what happened when the land was opened up. He conjures up the Australian frontier – its complexity, its rawness and the way its legacy is still with us today.

Here’s a review by Mark Rubbo from Readings. Here’s an interview with James Boyce that appeared in the Herald Sun and another he did on ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live.

And to whet your appetite, here from the author himself is a dozen things you may not have known about the founding of Melbourne:

  1. Melbourne’s mother island was not Britain but the notorious penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land.
  2. Melbourne was founded by unauthorised boat arrivals (or to use the contemporary term, ‘illegals’) who were breaking British law.
  3. The founding fathers (sadly there were few founding mothers) of Melbourne were not the cashed up squatters but their former convict workers. Very few of the famous Port Phillip Association members who sent sheep and shepherds across the strait were permanently resident in the Port Phillip District during the first year.
  4. The emancipist workers were experienced and environmentally attuned bushmen.
  5. By the time Melbourne was founded other Europeans had already been living on what is now the Victorian coast for decades.
  6. The site of Melbourne was a well-known Aboriginal gathering spot with its own bridge across the Yarra.
  7. Melbourne’s environs were ecologically diverse containing extensive wetlands and vast grasslands.
  8. The lowland grasslands contained an incredible number of plants and were as different from ‘improved’ pastures as a tree plantation is from an old growth forest.
  9. In 1835 the first tents were pitched roughly where the Immigration Museum now stands.
  10. The founding of Melbourne represented a direct challenge to the long established British Government policy of concentrating European Settlement within defined boundaries.
  11. The eventual capitulation to the squatters and the opening up of Australia’s grasslands to private conquest led to one of the fastest expansions of Europeans in the history of the British Empire. Within a couple of years more land had been settled than in the fifty years before
  12. It was thus the founding of Melbourne, not the settlement of Sydney that signalled the emergence of European control over Australia.

All you have to do is tell me your favourite song that references or evokes Melbourne in some way and you’re in the running. Just use the Comment box at the bottom of this page. Entries close midday, Thursday 25 August.

As usual, the quality of the song you choose doesn’t matter, because the winners will be chosen at random (if you’re stuck, Up There Cazaly will do). Still, it’s nice to show some taste and wit if possible. It would be wonderful to compile a comprehensive anthology of Melbourne-related songs from all eras (although such a list already exists!)

If you’re one of the winners (and the odds are pretty good!), you’ll have to give the publishers, Black Inc., your address and they’ll post your bounty to you direct. Your anonymity is assured – I won’t know who you are or where you live. Sorry overseas readers, you’ll need an Australian address (you should see what Australians have to pay for postage!).

Not that anyone’s asked, but let me explain how I choose the winners of giveaways. First, I count the number of comments, excluding any invalid entries (e.g. pingbacks, replies by me). I then get two random numbers at Then I count through the valid entries starting from the first comment (the top one) until I arrive at the two winners.

53 Comments on “CLOSED – 1835”

  1. Andrew says:

    Has to be Skyhooks. I thought of Toorak Cowboy, Lygon Street Limbo, but I will settle for This is my City.

  2. srad says:

    “Hello Cruel World” by Klinger. Just for its opening line – ‘From St Kilda to Watsonia North is 14 hours on public transport’

  3. JacintaH says:

    Grey Skies Over Collingwood by Strange Tennants. Grey Skies, Grey Skies, Someone is leaving…

  4. mdonnellan63 says:

    14 Years in Rowville by TISM (This is Serious Mum) – cracker of a title.

    for those who need reminders:

    Hope this doesn’t put me out of the race (for this highly sought after book)!

  5. Nick says:

    Don’t go to Sydney by The Zimmermen (and all the Paul Kelly songs too of course

  6. MattyT says:

    My favourite has to be Four Seasons in One Day by Crowded House. Great song!

  7. Michael O says:

    “I dream of spring” by K.D. Lang gets my vote!

  8. Slim says:

    My Brown Yarra – The Whirling Furphies

  9. nick says:

    the bedroom philosopher – northcote (so hungover)!!

  10. Beggkm says:

    Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama – Aus Crawl gets my vote for the Melbourne music list.

    How about a list of Melbourne movies?
    “Dogs in Space” could feature in both

  11. Bran says:

    Blow Up The Pokies – The Whitlams

  12. Zen says:

    First song that came to mind Paul Kelly “I remember” (..looking over the bridge to the m c g…)

  13. gregb says:

    leaps and bounds by paul kelly,

  14. Daniel says:

    Leaps and Bounds, by Paul Kelly. It’s entirely about Melbourn.e

  15. Penny Holliday says:

    Under The Clocks, by Weddings Parties Anything


  16. RED says:

    I don’t know the exact title, but I’m thinking of the Hector the Cat road safety song, which was shoved down our throats in telly ads and through short films at school. The road safety movie was filmed at the Botanic Gardens, and the main dramatic moment is Hector being mown down by a vintage car.
    Otherwise “Four Seasons in One Day” by Crowded House

  17. Q.maisie says:

    Balwyn Calling by Skyhooks. Hey boy that’s Balwyn calling, get off the phone and get out of Balwyn…….of course any middle aged parent of teenagers knows NOT to get out of Balwyn if you want easy passage for your kid into a top public school….

  18. kymbos says:

    You am I – Hourly, Daily.

  19. Tello says:

    Weddings Parties Anything – Under The Clocks

  20. Mike says:

    Paul Kelly – Leaps and Bounds! Great footy song

  21. DP says:

    ‘Hello Cruel World’ by Klinger – “from St Kilda to Watsonia North / is fourteen hours by public transport” (from the album ‘Grimshaw St’… a northeastern suburbs classic)

  22. Karl says:

    Starship -We built this city.
    Melbourne does have ACDC lane remember! 🙂

  23. Charcoal Lane by Archie Roach.

  24. Lynne says:

    Leaps and Bounds – Paul Kelly and The Coloured Girls

  25. Camille says:

    Jens Lekman – An Argument with Myself

  26. My Brown Yarra . . . the version sung by the Joan Sutherland of Australian jazz, Margaret Roadknight.

    Russell Pollard

  27. Julie Stratford says:

    Strangley, I think of “Happy Birthday Helen” by Things of Stone and Wood. Strange, because it’s not really ABOUT Melbourne, but it does include the lines: Let’s not forget last night, how we drove along the Yarra”. My second thought is of the Wedders singing “Under the Clocks”, a tune I can’t help but hum each time I am meeting someone at Flinders St. Ah, Melbourne.

  28. Johanna says:

    The Found Objects’ song ‘Punt Road’ from the early 1990s – “Punt Road, Our Road – from Jolimont to St Kilda Junction, whoa, you take me there – you’re a product of a planning malfunction”.

  29. Julia Burns says:

    ‘Four Seasons in One Day’
    Hey Alan, I wasn’t aware until I read your blog that Perth was established 6 years before Melbourne even had its first squatters! Who’d of thought?

  30. apsheko says:

    The Crowd- Cat Empire

    “Lord unchain my hands; let me sing inside the crowded trams…”

  31. Joseph says:

    From Macaulay Station- The Lucksmiths. Lovely song and pretty nice description of a pretty grim station!

  32. More for the video than the song, but Dust me Selecta by Gerling rates highly for me. The retro look of ‘old Melbourne’ with the Hitachi train and Flagstaff station seals it for me.

    Honourable Mention: Rushall Station – Underground Lovers

  33. jarks says:

    Colin Hay – Melbourne Song

  34. Aaron says:

    Melbourne Blue – Melbourne Green by John Williamson

  35. Christobel botten says:

    “Melbourne Girl” Tripod. Hah

  36. Katie McKinley says:

    The song that reminds of Melbourne is Paul Kelly’s leaps and bounds.

  37. Mat Garner says:

    I’m liking the love for Hello Cruel World by Klinger. Definitely one of my all time favourite songs. But I’ll put my vote in for that other Kelly (Dan) and his Alpha Males with ‘Babysitters Of The World Unite’.

  38. Steve says:

    “From St Kilda to Kings Cross”. If nothing else, I love the fact that it provides useful transport information that sticks in your mind. (“13hrs on a bus? – Thanks Mr Kelly!”)

  39. Pat Sunter says:

    “Melbourne” – by the Whitlams, off the album Eternal Nightcamp.

  40. Kavi says:

    4 seasons in one day – Crowded House

  41. Wayne G says:

    It’s gotta be “Happy Birthday Helen” by Things of Stone and Wood, or even better, it’s D-Gen parody, “I’ve run out of Melbourne Cliches”

  42. Jol says:

    Leaps and Bounds by Paul Kelly

  43. I’m going to go with “Chapel St” by Something For Kate, or failing that “Roll On” by The Living End

  44. Archie Roach : Charcoal Lane

  45. Ruth says:

    Under the Clocks by Weddings, Parties Anything captures the essence of Melbourne – the sport, the fashion, the food, the cold,the iconic Melbourne places (eg. MCG, Flinder St clocks, Albert Park Lake, Chapel St, etc) the emotion and the atmosphere so well. It’s hard to go past this one for a song about Melbourne.

  46. danny lanfranco says:

    Toorak Cowboy by skyhooks

  47. Alan says:

    ‘Northcote’ or any of the songs from The Bedroom Philosopher’s gently satirical ‘Songs From the 86 Tram’.

  48. suburbanist says:

    ‘Spring Me Out of Caroline Springs, Caroline’ by Root

  49. Alexander says:

    Deloris — One day when the weather is warm. (Perhaps the reference to Melbourne is too implicit, so to be adequately explicit, then The Whitlams — Melbourne.)

  50. Louise King says:


    ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ by Crowded House certainly reminds me of Melbourne.

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