In 1835 John Batman sailed up the Yarra and was astonished by the beauty of the land. It was a temperate Kakadu, teeming with wildlife and with soils rich enough to spawn pastoral empires. With the discovery of gold, the city was transformed almost overnight into 'marvellous Melbourne'. And yet, as Tim Flannery writes, the price paid was environmental ruin and the tragic loss of societies which had flourished on Port Phillip Bay for millennia. The Birth of Melbourne includes voices that range from tribal elders to Chinese immigrants, from governors to criminals. Among many others, John Pascoe Fawkner, Georgiana McCrae, J. B. Were, Antoine Fauchery, Ned Kelly, Marcus Clarke, Anthony Trollope and Rudyard Kipling contribute to this biography of our most surprising city.