Port Philip Monument 1941

Maker unknown

Registration number



Maker unknown


Port Philip Monument

Production date




Dimensions (H x W x D)

250 cm (height approx.)


THIS MONUMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED TO MARK THE ORIGINAL JUNCTION OF THE YARRA AND THE MARIBYRNONG RIVERS WHICH WAS NEAR THIS SPOT. '... These rivers were originally discovered by Charles Edmond Grimes / in February 1808 and re-found by John Batman in 1836. / Port Phillip was discovered by John Murray in the Lady Nelson in February 1802. The first vessel in Hobson's Bay was the Cumberland / with Grimes the surveyor. The first man o'war was the Calcutta. / At the end of the same year 1903, the first vessel to ascend the Yarra was John P. Fawkner's Enterprise'.
An inset brass plaque in the ground below reads: ‘Historical Note, 1995 / When this monument was erected in 1941, it was believed that the HMAS Calcutta / took on fresh water from the Yarra River in November 1803. The Calcutta log indicates that the / ship came only as far as Frankston, and took water from Kananook Creek…’

Credit line

City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection


Port Phillip, monument, 1941, European landing, Melbourne


Location: Below Shepherd Bridge, Footscray

This basalt obelisk was erected in 1941 to commemorate the first landing of Europeans in the Melbourne area. It is positioned at the original junction of the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers, the two waterways explored by Charles Grimes in 1803, when he arrived from Sydney.

While it is commonly believed that John Batman first extolled the virtues of site of Melbourne in 1835, some 32 years earlier Grimes made the claim that it was ‘the most eligible place for a village’. Claude Smith, a keen local historian and Footscray councillor, proposed the monument in 1937. He maintained that had the Maribyrnong been a freshwater rather than a saltwater stream, the site of Footscray would have been the state’s capital.

The monument was unveiled 23 November 1941.