Introducing 32 Blocks

Welcome to 32 Blocks – Melbourne. 

“Architecture is the very mirror of life. You only have to cast your eyes on buildings to feel the presence of the past, the spirit of a place;  they are the reflection of society” 


The Hoddle Grid


Early in 1837, Sir Richard Bourke enlisted surveyor Robert Hoddle to accompany him from Sydney to Port Phillip Bay for the purpose of surveying the settlement and to establish a formally planned Town. On the 7th of March 1837 Bourke named the township “Melbourne”, after William Lamb – 2nd Viscount of Melbourne, the Prime Minister of England at that time. It was not until 29 March 1837 that “Melbourne” was officially gazetted. In the meantime Robert Hoddle continued his survey and prepared his plan for the new Township.


Mr. Hoddle signed the first plan of Melbourne on the 25th of March 1837. His initial vision consisted of 24 Blocks bounded by Flinders, Spencer, Lonsdale and Spring Streets. The grid system was aligned with the Yarra River, nestled between the West and East Hills. Hoddle staked the main Streets 99 feet [ 30.84 metres ] wide and bisected them by smaller Streets 33 feet [ 10.25 metres ] wide in an east-west direction. These smaller Streets are now Melbourne’s famous laneways.


1836 Map of Melbourne by Robert Hoddle
1836 Map of Melbourne signed off by Robert Hoddle. Image courtesy of The State Library of Victoria.

And so the Hoddle Grid was born and later extended to include 32 Blocks between Flinders, Spencer, La Trobe and Spring Streets in order to accommodate the increasing growth of the booming town. It is each of these 32 Blocks that we will get to know intimately. We will explore every Street, every Lane and every Building. We will be introduced to the people who lived, played, worked and died in the Grid. We will discover the heart and soul of this great city.

A plan of the original Block numbers and Street Names. © 32 Blocks.

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