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Sullivans Bay – First European Settlement 1803

In 1803 the first detailed survey of Port Phillip was carried out by Charles Grimes and in October of that year the first settlement of the Port Phillip District under Lieutenant Governor David Collins was attempted at Sullivan Bay, Sorrento.

On October 9th, 1803, His Majesty’s Ship Calcutta, a 56-gun frigate, entered Port Phillip Bay. Her cargo was a human one she being entrusted with the transportation of a new settlement consisting of 299 male convicts, 16 convicts’ wives, a few children of the convicts, a detachment of 50 Royal Marines and the Civil Staff totaling in all about 460 people who had left England in April 1803 on board HMS Calcutta and the Ocean transport.

It was here at Sorrento on the 9 October 1803, that their Commander, Lieut. Col. Collins first landed and had been empowered to start a new settlement on Port Phillip Bay. Following the landing he established a camp consisting of convicts, some wives and children, some free settlers, Royal Marines, a chaplain and civil officers,  Collins named it Sullivan Bay after the Undersecretary for War and Colonies, John Sullivan.

The original settlement was abandoned after seven months, before the settlers moved on to establish Hobart.