After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788, Australia was divided in the east named New South Wales and in the west named New Holland, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney. The first European settlement in the area later known as Victoria was established in October 1803 under Lieutenant-Governor David Collins at Sullivan Bay, Victoria on Port Phillip. It consisted of 308 convicts, 51 marines, 17 free settlers, 12 civil officers, a missionary and his wife. They had been sent from England in HMS Calcutta under the command of Captain Daniel Woodriff, principally out of fear that the French, who had been exploring the area, might establish their own settlement and thereby challenge British rights to the continent.

In 1851, the British Government separated the area from New South Wales, proclaiming a new Colony of Victoria. In 1851 gold was discovered near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power. In ten years the population of Victoria increased sevenfold from 76,000 to 540,000. All sorts of gold records were produced including the "richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world" and the largest gold nugget.

Immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold, especially from Ireland and China. Many Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particularly strong in Bendigo and its environs.

In 1854 at Ballarat there was an armed rebellion against the government of Victoria by miners protesting against mining taxes (the "Eureka Stockade"). This was crushed by British troops, but the discontents prompted colonial authorities to reform the administration (particularly reducing the hated mining licence fees) and extend the franchise. Within a short time, the Imperial Parliament granted Victoria responsible government with the passage of the Colony of Victoria Act 1855. Some of the leaders of the Eureka rebellion went on to became members of the Victorian Parliament.


Floral Emblem of Victoria - Common (pink) Heath, Epacris impressa

At a meeting of representatives of government and other bodies in 1951, the pink form of the Common Heath, the "Pink Heath", was adopted as the official floral emblem for the state of Victoria in 1958. Victoria was the first Australian state to adopt a floral emblem.

Fauna Emblem of Victoria - Leadbeater's Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri)

is an endangered possum restricted to small pockets of remaining old growth mountain ash forests in the central highlands of Victoria (Australia) north-east of Melbourne. Leadbeater's Possums can be moderately common within the very small areas they inhabit: their requirement for year-round food supplies and tree-holes to take refuge in during the day restricts them to mixed-age wet sclerophyll forest with a dense mid-story of Acacia. It is the only species in the Gymnobelideus genus. It was named after John Leadbeater the then taxidermist at the Museum of Victoria. In 1968, the State of Victoria made Leadbeater's Possum its faunal emblem.

Bird Emblem of Victoria - The Helmeted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix)

is a passerine bird in the Honeyeater family. It is a distinctive and critically endangered subspecies, formerly considered a full species, of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, that exists in the wild only as a tiny relict population in the Australian state of Victoria, in the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. It is Victoria’s only endemic bird, and was adopted as one of the state’s faunal emblems in 1971.

Marine Emblem of Victoria - The weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus)

is a marine fish related to the seahorse. It is the only member of the genus Phyllopteryx. Adult weedy seadragons are a reddish colour, with yellow and purple markings; they have small leaf-like appendages that provide camouflage and a number of short spines for protection. Males have narrower bodies and are darker than females. Seadragons have a long dorsal fin along the back and small pectoral fins on either side of the neck, which provide balance. Weedy seadragons can reach 45 cm in length.

The first foreign military action by the colony of Victoria was to send troops and a warship to New Zealand as part of the Māori Wars. Troops from New South Wales had previously participated in the Crimean War.

In 1901 Victoria became a state in the Commonwealth of Australia. As a result of the gold rush, Melbourne had by then become the financial centre of Australia and New Zealand. Between 1901 and 1927, Melbourne was the capital of Australia while Canberra was under construction.

Victoria - Coat of Arms Victoria - State Flag