Expedition under Lieutenant-Governor Collins in 1803-4

Walker, James Backhouse 1889 , 'Expedition under Lieutenant-Governor Collins in 1803-4' , Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 205-222 .

walker-expediti...pdf | Download (1MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


The Origin of the expedition and the voyage to Port Phillip. In former papers which I have had the honor to read
before the Royal Society, I have endeavoured to trace
the influence of French rivalry in hastening the English
settlement of Australia. I have shown that to the
pioneer work of French navigators we owe the first
admirable surveys of the southern coasts of Tasmania,
and that it was wholly due to the apprehensions that
those surveys excited that Governor King sent Lieut.
Bowen from Port Jackson to take possession of the
Derwent. I have also briefly touched on the explorations of our
own English sailors in the neighbourhood of the Derwent
and in Bass' Strait, and the influence of their reports in
deciding the choice of localities for new colonies, while I
have followed the misfortunes of the unlucky settlement
at Risdon, and described its collapse after a short and
troubled life of little more than half a year.
The real history of Tasmania as an English colony
begins with the departure from England, in the spring of
1803, of the expedition of Lieutenant-Governor Collins,
the founder of Hobart; and it is with the origin and
misadventures of that expedition on its way to the
Derwent that I have to deal in the present paper. The project of the English Government to found a
colony on the shores of Bass' Strait, and the unsuccessful
attempt of Governor Collins to plant that settlement at Port Phillip in 1803, may at first sight appear to
be beyond the scope of the history of Tasmania, and
to belong exclusively to that of Victoria. But Collins'
expedition has absolutely nothing to do with the history
of our Victorian neighbours. The sandhills of Port
Phillip merely served for a month or two as a resting
place for the colonists on their way to the Derwent.
The short stay of Collins' people on Victorian soil was
only an incident in their passage from England to Van
Diemen's Land, like their touching at Rio or the Cape;
and the story of those months is an essential part of the
history of the first settlers of Hobart.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Walker, James Backhouse
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page