Charles La Trobe was Administrator of the Port Philip district of New South Wales before it became the separate colony of Victoria, at which time he became Lieutenant Governor. He was, in fact, in charge of the new colony, but due to the legal niceties of the times he was subordinate to the Governor of New South Wales, hence the Lieutenancy. A scholarly man and capable administrator, his tenure saw great improvement in the streets and sanitation of the capital. He also had the foresight to put aside large tracts of land close to the city centre for parks, gardens and reserves.
His legacy is commemorated by having a university, streets and numerous geographical features named in his honor. Perhaps the most stunning architectural tribute is the La Trobe Reading Room of the State Library of Victoria. The huge domed room was opened in 1913 and designed to hold 1,000,000 volumes and 500 readers. Open daily, it is a fitting tribute to a man of scholarship and foresight