Watercolours by Robert Hoddle (1794 – 1881)

60 Objects National Trust Collection

Robert Hoddle is remembered for his work as a surveyor.  Melbourne’s grid layout is attributed to him, although there is some question about whether his plan was built upon an earlier scheme by the man he replaced Robert Russell. Appointed head surveyor by the governor of Port Phillip Sir Richard Bourke in 1837, Hoddle went on to survey and plan Geelong and many other regional areas of the colony.

His travels were documented in watercolours painted of places such as Portland and Yarra Glen. They follow the convention of the time, with picturesque scenery depicted with small figures in the landscape.  There is some suggestion that these watercolors were completed from sketches long after Hoddle’s travels, perhaps much later and in the comfort of his own study.