The Colonial Era – School Tour of Melbourne

See Prices & Bookings


EXPLORE Melbourne’s colonial, settlement and gold rush period, 1835-1901, 
LEARN about the settlers, their challenges, personalities.
VISIT milestone buildings and locations reflecting milestones in the colonial period such as the gold rush, gold boom, Eureka, Marvellous Melbourne, shipping.
VIEW historic images, maps and documents.

Students of all ages respond enthusiastically to this challenging and stimulating journey through the plazas, streets, lanes and arcades of the Melbourne CBD. This interactive two-hour program allows them to explore the events of the colonial period through Melbourne’s history, identity and culture by visiting places which tell stories about  milestones from Indigenous origins to early settlement to gold rush expansion to Marvellous Melbourne to Federation.
We can provide interactive activities e.g take them into buildings,  handle artefacts, and examine images. Every student is assigned a different historic identity for the duration of the tour. They meet challenges in a fun way that promotes learning and questioning. We can design a  specific mix of destinations and activities to meet your specific learning needs including from our many other school programs.    Tours usually start and finish at Federation Square or by arrangement.

SEE    Also our many OTHER SCHOOL PROGRAMS – Explorer, Federation, Aboriginal, Early Melbourne, Lanes, Literature, ‘Runner’, Street Art and more…

All three groups had a wonderful time … the boys (and teachers!) gained so much from your knowledge and expertise.  It was a wonderful way to start our unit and get boys to engage with their learning and appreciate the impact of white settlement on the indigenous and development of Melbourne in general.  They loved hearing your stories and much of what you presented is being followed up and explored even further in the classroomScotch College 2018
It was a very rich learning experience for our students and they thoroughly enjoyed it. The tour guides were professional, knowledgeable and entertaining – the students were engaged right from the beginning. 

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, 2016
The kids loved it and really enjoyed being different characters (What a clever idea!). You have an impressive knowledge and we all thought the tour was fantastic! The leaves, coins and chocolate degustation were a lovely touch. We will definitely keep you in mind for the future. Mother Of God, 2017

Pre-1835. Birramung Marr celebrates the Birrarung ‘River if Mists’ and the original federation of the Kulin Nation. The ‘Yarra Yarra’ was the site of the first explorers and settlers arrival in 1835. What was their impact on the Kulin Federation and how did that influence Australia?

Fed Square: Birth of Federation: Federation square celebrates the birth of the Australian eastern market2nation. The Deakin Building celebrates Victorian Alfred Deakin 3 times Prime Minister and the father of Federation in Victoria. The plaza has nine visions of Federation in the 400,000 stone tiles in the plaza. plus Cambrian fossils.

St Pauls Cathedral 1854 Eureka demonstrations: – Birth of Australian democracy and flag:
Eureka paved the way for the national ideal of ideals of a new nation, a democratic ‘working man’s paradise’ and created the national flag.

271 Collins: The confidence of the gold boom with Collins Street as world financial centre gave Melbourne a boost as ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, attracted international attention through the great exhibitions of the 1880s and inspired the Federation movement.

The Block Arcade 1891: Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne’s Australia use of world technologies eg Singer and Kodak shops set Melbourne on the path to self-sufficiency and the confidence to create a new nation. The great crash of 1893 set back the federation movement however and the first referendum failed. The second was successful.

Royal Arcade 1869: Goldrush, arcades,  icons of Melbourne. Expresses the early falls6 1839confidence gained during the gold rush and the cry arose everywhere from new Australian businesses arising due to consumer purchasing power to ‘buy Australian.’

The GPO building 1886: The Centre of Melbourne, changes in technology, fire.
The GPO represents ‘the tyranny of distance’ the unusual position that Australia occupied, a vast country distant from the mother country and the urgent priority of communication and inventions like the telegraph and later the phone.

The 1880s – The Coles Book Arcade 1886: Nationalism, Federation, City of Literature. Coles saw education and books as the saving of the Australian Nation and also saw that racism would be disastrous for Australia. He was one of the few that supported the Chinese and bitterly opposed racism during federation. He also supported the equality of women, a world region and a world federation.

Presgrave Lane: Federation saw the introduction of many new services such as sewerage, child care, schools and healthcare services that saved millions of lives. Gallipoli was the really the national birth of Australia where two-up was played. Federation gave the Commonwealth get the power to print Australian money for the first time. They created the first Australian penny in 1911.

Manchester Lane 1860s: Gold rush architecture, early settlement The Gold rush inspired immigration, democracy, working people, financial capacity and new technologies. it gave confidence to a young country and inspired trade connections around the world.

The 1890s – Flinders Lane: The great heritage warehouses, subterranean Melbourne immigration pathway form the docks

Nicholas Building 1927: Turning to America. One of the earliest of the American style sky capers turning people from the traditional British ideals to the New World of America, another ex-British republic.

Flinders Street Station 1920s

And more resources…

Schools in the City Tour walking area (below):

 Website Resources Features indigenous and other resources including our own book The Melbourne Dreaming

Marvellous Melbourne Resources
Features photographs and video clips about artefacts featured in the Melbourne Story exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.
East Melbourne Historical Society. This site contains pictures from early settlement days in Melbourne.

Timeline of significant dates and events in Melbourne 1835 – 2000 Another website citing key dates but only from 1835 onwards. contains a brief overview of Melbourne and some good photographs of Melbourne today and in the past.

Also see Melbourne Walks’ Resources page for lists of further resources.

See Prices & Bookings