Daily Archives: January 8, 2016

This Week in Port Phillip 1841: January 8-15 1841

The habit of kicking back over January was established by 1841, and it was all happening this week! On Tuesday 12 January there was the Regatta on the bay.

High indeed were the expectations of our fellow colonists of every rank and age and bustling the scene of general preparation to celebrate the first Regatta, but the pleasure of the reality and the fond reflection upon its varied and enchanting amusements have eclipsed the brightest anticipations of its most sanguine admirers and rich and abundant is the fund which Memory has [?] stored up for future enjoyment (Port Phillip Herald 15 January 1841]

There were four races in all for different crafts:four-oared gigs; first class boats and five-oared whale boats.  As is the case today, there was just as much interest in watching the spectators as watching the spectacle:


(Port Phillip Herald 15 January 1841)

Then on Wednesday 13th it was the Hurdle Race at 1.00 p.m. “The course marked out is selected on the other side of the river Yarra Yarra, near the beach, and about half a mile to the left of Mr Liardet’s hotel“. (PPH 12 January 1841) Mr Liardet’s hotel was at Port Melbourne.

A “ vast assemblage had collected to witness the sports” at the beach where a limited number of horses competed against each other in three heats.  The writer for the Port Phillip Herald became very excited about the whole thing but it really doesn’t bear repeating 175 years later.  More interesting was the ball that was held that evening:


The presence of Superintendent La Trobe and Mrs La Trobe is important because they conferred an aura of respectability to the proceedings. If they were there, then all the Port Phillip worthies would have wanted to be there too.  Just like our clubs today, these balls went until late at night (or rather, early the next morning), with this one breaking up at about 4.00 a.m.


The cricket match was held on Thursday 14th January, “on the usual ground” .This was, at this stage, at the foot of Batman’s Hill, near the site of the present day Southern Cross station.  However, the match was abandoned “owing to the boisterous state of the weather“, to be continued on the following Saturday.


So how was the weather?  How frustrating- it doesn’t go up to 14th January!


Port Phillip Herald 15 January 1841.

It was 92 degrees (33 celsius) on 7th January, followed by a 67 degree (19 celsius) on the 8th.  How Melbourne!

And according the report of the week from the Meteorological Journal for Port Phillip, published some two months later (19 March 1841)  in the Government Gazette,

Weather generally dull and cloudy; rain in small quantities 9th, 10th and 14th; strong winds and squalls from S continuing frequent; N. W. gale 14th.

The highest temperature for the period 8th-14th January was 89 degrees (31.7 celsius) on 7th January, and the lowest was 51 degrees (10.6 celsius).