In 1803 Governor of New South Wales Philip King instructed his Surveyor-General Charles Grimes to travel from Port Jackson to the Port Phillip Bay area and to explore and survey the area, and report on any suitable sites for settlement.
His party found the mouth of the Yarra and proceeded to explore both the Saltwater (Maribyrnong) and the Freshwater (Yarra) Rivers.
One of his party, James Flemming (described as an "agriculturist"), noted "The most eligible place for a settlement I have seen is on the Freshwater (Yarra) River." However, Charles Grimes reported less enthusiastically upon his return to Port Jackson, and no further exploration was undertaken. Matthew Flinders had also surveyed Port Phillip Bay in 1802 and included features from the Grimes chart when finalising his maps.
Later in 1803 another official attempt was sent from England to find a suitable place to settle in Port Phillip Bay, but the party, lead by Captain David Collins, settled near present-day Sorrento in October of that year, where they found the soil too poor for crops and no fresh water. The settlement was abandoned after a few months and they relocated to Van Diemen's Land and established Hobart in February 1804.
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