When the first European settlers
settled in Melbourne in 1835 there was no permanent crossing point of the Yarra River. Over time
various punt and ferry operators set up business to ferry people and other traffic across the river.
The colonial government in Sydney was unreliable in providing funds for the construction of a bridge,
resulting in most of Melbourne’s early infrastructure being provided by private
On 22 April 1840, a private company was formed to construct a bridge across the Yarra. Traders in
Elizabeth Street vied with those in Swanston Street to have the through traffic that would be
generated by a bridge. On the south bank of the river, St Kilda Road was still a dirt