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Hoddle’s 1837 Survey of Melbourne

Hoddle's 1837 Survey of Melbourne - - Old Treasury Building, Melbourne

This is “Robert Hoddle’s 1837 Survey of Melbourne”. Surveyor Robert Hoddle was commissioned to design a town plan that was one mile long and half a mile wide. Hoddle designed the main streets 99 feet wide and each block was serviced by a similarly named ‘little’ street. Thus Melbourne has Collins Street and Little Collins Street parallel to each other.

Robert Hoddle (1794 – 1881) was a surveyor best known as the surveyor general of the Port Phillip District, which later became known as the Australian state of Victoria. He created of what is now known as the Hoddle Grid, the area of the CDB of Melbourne. Hoddle’s survey covered the area from Flinders Street to Lonsdale Street, and from Spencer Street to Spring Street. This grid of streets, laid out when there were only a few hundred settlers, became the nucleus for what is now a city of over 4 million people.

Hoddle was also an accomplished artist and depicted scenes of the Port Phillip region and New South Wales. Hoddle was one of the earliest-known European artists to depict Ginninderra, the area now occupied by Canberra, Australia’s National Capital.

Essential Facts:

  • Title:             Robert Hoddle’s 1837 Survey of Melbourne
  • Date:             1837
  • Material:      Paper
  • Museum:     Old Treasury Building, Melbourne


“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” – Australian Aboriginal saying



Photo Credit: By Joyofmuseums (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons