John Pascoe Fawkner 1792 ~ 1869


John Pascoe Fawkner is my

5th Great Uncle. His parents,

John Faulkner & Hannah Pascoe

are 5th GreatGrandparents.


Randal Young


Founder of Melbourne



The young Fawkner arrived in Port Phillip in 1803, accompanying his father who had been transported for fourteen years for receiving stolen goods. After a brief stay at the short lived Port Phillip settlement, near present day Sorrento, they removed to Van Diemen's Land. Fawkner tried his hand at several trades and prospered, despite finding himself on the wrong side of the law on a number of occasions, the most serious being his attempt to aid a party of escaped convicts. By the mid-1830s he was affluent enough to be one of those entrepreneurs, John Batman being another, making plans for the unsettled areas around Port Phillip Bay.

The documents on display here are undated, but were almost certainly written during the period shortly before July 1835, when Fawkner's party of settlers crossed to Port Phillip aboard the Enterprize. While John Batman was first and last a businessman, planning nothing beyond the acquisition of enormous tracts of pastoral land for himself and his associates, Fawkner intended to found a settlement which could in due course become a city.

As a self-made, self-educated businessman with radical political sympathies, Fawkner was a characteristic figure of his day. His experience of the harshness of the convict system left him with an almost pathological hatred of colonial authority and his g randiose plans for a community, written before one spadeful of earth had been turned, are more a psychological document than a consistent political philosphy.

These documents were preserved in a private collection ultimately deriving from John Joseph Walsh, an associate of Fawkner and related to him by marriage. They were effectively unknown until coming onto the market in 1998, and have never before been exhibited or published.


Description of Port Phillip Bay


A sketch of Fawkner


Fawkner compiled a detailed account of the physical features of Port Phillip Bay, particularly as they applied to navigation. He was not himself a sailor, and evidently gathered this information from secondary sources, such as the accounts of Lieutenant John Murray, who had discovered Port Phillip in 1802, and Matthew Flinders, who had entered the bay a few months later.

"Form of Government"

Fawkner shared the contemporary belief in education and religious observance as a means of social control, and made plans for them in his settlement. Despite his hatred of the penal system, he was no starry-eyed idealist: he specified for his own settlement that an imposing and prominent prison is to be erected "as soon as possible", as much to intimidate would-be miscreants as to house actual ones.

"Civil policy"

Fawkner retained a deep personal loathing of drunkenness despite building his early prosperity on inn-keeping and the sale of liquor. His proposed settlement was to be almost completely "dry": wine and beer could be consumed in the home, but anyone attempting to import spirits was to be punished; public houses were to be spartan and unwelcoming to idlers; and persistent drunkards were to be banished to "the drunken towns of Sydney, Hobart and Launceston".

"Land regulations"

The ownership of land was one of Fawkner's obsessions. The kind of society he hoped to build was based on a wide distribution of land amongst many small settlers, rather than the holding of huge estates by a wealthy few, and in this history was on his side. When all his other grand plans had evaporated, Fawkner was at least able to partly realize this goal, through the co-operative land societies which he later formed.


Founding of Melbourne

The Enterprize landing from the Yarra Basin

August 29th 1835


The Enterprize in the Yarra, 1835




Fawkner's first house



John Pascoe Fawkner




Fawkner's first house in Melbourne




John Pascoe Fawkner 1792 ~ 1869



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