• John Fawkner
  • John Fawkner
  • Mrs J. P. Fawkner
  • Fawkner's funeral procession
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John Pascoe Fawkner

20th October 1792 — 4th September 1869
pioneer, one of the founders of Melbourne
'Little Johnny Fawkner'

 

John Pascoe Fawkner was the leader of one of two rival parties involved in the settlement of Melbourne. Although a small man (5 feet 2 inches) he was a larger than life character.

Garryowen tells us:

"Fawkner was sort of a spoiled child with the old colonists, and even those who thoroughly disliked him, and often repelled his illbred arrogance, were ever ready to concede a large latitude to the man who, by common repute, shared with Batman the honours surrounding the foundation of 'the settlement'. Batman was dead, and 'Johnny' was not only alive but poking his nose into every public movement, from anti-transportation to separation. The prestige that would have to be divided between him and Batman, had he lived, was not unnaturally claimed by Fawkner, and as he had a finger in every pie, and was jumping about like a squirrel wherever there was anything astir, either at a fire or a public meeting, an election or a street row, a public dinner or a charity sermon, he was accorded a certain toleration which clothed him in a privilege that fell to the lot of no other man.

He died in Melbourne on the 4th September, 1869, an honourable member of the Legislative Council, and so much esteemed that over 200 carriages were present at his funeral, and 15,000 persons lined the streets on his burial day."

Fawkner's funeral procession, still one one of the largest in Melbourne's history, can be seen in the accompanying wood engraving.

It is maybe ironic Fawkner had such a grandiose funeral and burial given the revulsion he had expressed to burial in his journal entry regarding the first European burial in Melbourne.

Fawkner's printing press is held by the Melbourne Museum. An original handwritten edition of Fawkner's first Melbourne newspaper is on display in the Parliamentary Library at Parliament House, and others are held in the manuscripts section of the State Library.

The suburbs of Fawkner and Pascoe Vale are named after him as is Fawkner Park.

You can find a short profile of his activities as a journalist at The White Hat Guide to 7 Journalists of Melbourne.

Fawkner's tombstone is inside an impressive bluestone structure. 

John Fawkner - detail of head from tombstone
John Fawkner - tombstone

"A LIFE OF LABOR"

HERE LIES
THE MORTAL REMAINS OF

JOHN PASCOE FAWKNER

WHO FOUNDED THE CITY OF MELBOURNE
AUGUST 29TH 1835

BORN OCTOBER 20TH 1792, AT LONDON
DIED SEPTEMBER 4TH 1869, AT SMITH ST. COLLINGWOOD
AGED 77 YEARS.

ALSO OF

JOHN FAWKNER SENIOR
WHO DIED SEPTEMBER 24TH 1854
AGED 84 YEARS.

AND OF HIS WIDOW
ELIZA
WHO DIED MAY 18TH 1858
AGED 66 YEARS.

ALSO OF

ELIZA
WIDOW OF THE ABOVE
JOHN. P. FAWKNER
WHO DIED JULY 8TH 1879.

 

This grave can be visited on White Hat Tours' highly entertaining and informative Tour of Melbourne Cemetery. Just be sure to tell your guide at the start of the tour that this is one of the graves you wish to see.

Recommended books:

The Life and Times of John Pascoe Fawkner by C.J.Billot

This biography covers the whole remarkable story of little Johhny Fawkner's life from his childhood in England, transportation to Australia with his convict father, the first Victorian settlement at Sullivan's Cove, life and subsequent arrest in Tasmania, the Launceston publican and newspaper proprietor, founding of Melbourne and his subsequent influence on that city.

Highly recommended!

 

Some forthcoming events:

The Melbourne Regatta and Blessing of the Fleet

Melbourne is one of the few cities that can pin-point the time, date and the people who first founded it. The Melbourne Regatta was first held on 30 August 1838, making it the first in Australia. In 2016 the Melbourne Passenger Boating Association will deliver a magnificent waterside spectacle to celebrate the connection between Melbourne and the sea.

Born out of a river settlement, developed through trade and immigration, stabilised by gold and farming, the city owes much to the ships who made that connection. The rivers and the great bay have been bountiful, providing food, leisure, relaxation and a highway to the rest of the world. Discover too, the land before it became Melbourne. Learn about the people and the natural landscape that existed long before, and why this made Melbourne a perfect place to build a village.

See a spectacle of cruising boats, dressed especially for the occasion. Hop aboard free ferry cruises around Victoria Harbour, be part of a Welcome to Country ceremony, and hear Father Bob bless the fleet.

You can also enjoy live entertainment with Normie Rowe, along with reggae, calypso, and blues bands. Plus there'll be walking tours, story-telling, roving entertainers, a mass choir and the Sunday market with many food stalls and local cafes. Everyone is invited to join in the fun and excitement and celebrate Melbourne's maritime and indigenous history.




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