From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Melbourne is the capital city and most populous city of the State of
Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne city
centre (also referred to as the "CBD") is the anchor of the larger
geographical area and statistical division known as the Greater Melbourne
metropolitan area – of which Melbourne is the common name. As of 2009, it
had an approximate population of 4 million. The demonym for a person from
Melbourne is a "Melburnian"
The metropolitan area is located on a large natural bay known as Port
Phillip. It extends from the CBD at the estuary of the Yarra River (which
enters the bay at its northern-most point), along the south-eastern and
south-western shorelines of Port Phillip, and extends into the hinterland.
The CBD is located in the municipality known as the City of Melbourne, and
the metropolitan area consists of a further 30 municipalities – which are
referred as "cities" and "shires".
It was established in 1835 (47 years after the European settlement of
Australia) as a pastoral township by free settlers from Van Diemen's Land.
It was named in honour of the 2nd Viscount Melbourne, William Lamb (the
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the reigns of King William IV
and Queen Victoria) in 1837. Melbourne was declared a city by Queen Victoria
in 1847; and became the capital of the newly-declared Colony of Victoria,
when it was created from the Colony of New South Wales, in 1851.
When gold was discovered in the area during the 1850s (which sparked the
Victorian gold rush), Melbourne was transformed into one of the largest and
wealthiest cities in the World by the 1880s. Upon the federation of
Australia in 1901, it served as the national capital and the seat of
government for the newly-established Commonwealth of Australia until 1927 –
while the planned national capital of Canberra was being constructed.
The CBD is also notable for its distinct blend of contemporary and Victorian
architecture, expansive parks and gardens, alleyway and arcade culture,
diverse multicultural society, and is also home to the World's largest tram
network. Since 2002, Melbourne has been consistently ranked amongst the
World's Most Livable Cities by The Economist magazine, and is recognised as
a Beta World City+ by Loughborough University. It is also classified as a
City of Literature by UNESCO, and is ranked as one of the top five
university cities by RMIT. Melbourne was ranked as one of the world's top 25
Nexus cities for innovation by 2thinknow, in the Innovation Cities Index
Melbourne has played host to a number of significant international and
national events, including: the first sitting of the Parliament of Australia
in 1901, 1956 Summer Olympics, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in
1981, World Economic Forum in 2000, 2006 Commonwealth Games and G20 Summit
in the same year.
Early history and foundation
Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was occupied for an
estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years by under 20,000 hunter-gatherers from three
indigenous regional tribes: the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong. The
area was an important meeting place for clans and territories of the Kulin
nation alliance as well as a vital source of food and water. The first
European settlement in Victoria was established in 1803 on Sullivan Bay,
near present-day Sorrento, but this settlement was abandoned due to a
perceived lack of resources. It would be 30 years before another settlement
In May and June 1835, the area that is now central and northern Melbourne
was explored by John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip
Association, who negotiated a transaction for 600,000 acres (2,400 km2; 940
sq mi) of land from eight Wurundjeri elders. Batman selected a site on the
northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that "this will be the place for
a village", and returned to Launceston in Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen
s Land). However, by the time a settlement party from the Association
arrived to establish the new village, a separate group led by John Pascoe
Fawkner had already arrived aboard the Enterprize and established a
settlement at the same location, on 30 August 1835. The two groups
ultimately agreed to share the settlement. It is not known what Melbourne
was called before the arrival of Europeans. Early European settlers
mistranslated the words "Doutta-galla" which are believed to have been the
name of a prominent tribal member, but said by some to also translate as
treeless plain". This was nevertheless used as one of the early names for
Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by the New South Wales
government (that at the time governed all of eastern mainland Australia),
which compensated the Association. Although this meant the settlers were now
trespassing on Crown land, the government reluctantly accepted the settlers'
fait accompli and allowed the town (known at first by various names,
including 'Batmania' and 'Bearbrass' to remain.
In 1836, Governor Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the
Port Phillip District of New South Wales, and commissioned the first plan
for the Hoddle Grid in 1837. Later that year, the settlement was named
Melbourne after the British prime minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount
Melbourne, who resided in the village of Melbourne in Derbyshire, and the
General Post Office opened under that name on 13 April 1837. Melbourne was
declared a city by letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847.
The Port Phillip District became a separate colony of Victoria in 1851 with
Melbourne as its capital.
Victorian gold rush
The discovery of gold in Victoria in the same year led to the Victorian gold
rush, and Melbourne, which provided most service industries and served as
the major port for the region, experienced rapid growth.
Migration to Melbourne, particularly from overseas including Ireland and
China, caused a massive population increase. Slums developed including a
temporary "tent city" established on the southern banks of the Yarra, the
Little Lonsdale district and at Chinatown.
The population growth and flow of gold into the city helped stimulate a
program of grand civic building beginning with the design and construction
of many of Melbourne's surviving institutional buildings including
Parliament House, the Treasury Building and Treasury Reserve, the Old
Melbourne Gaol, Victoria Barracks, the State Library, Supreme Court,
University, General Post Office, and Government House, the Melbourne Town
Hall, St Paul's, St Patrick's cathedrals and several major markets including
the surviving Queen Victoria Market. The city's inner suburbs were planned,
to be linked by boulevards and gardens. Melbourne had become a major finance
centre, home to several banks, the Royal Mint to Australia's first stock
exchange in 1861.
Before the arrival of white settlers, the indigenous population in the
district was estimated at 15,000, but following settlement the number had
fallen to less than 800, and continued to decline with an estimated 80%
decrease by 1863, due primarily to introduced diseases, particularly
The land boom and bust
By the 1880s, Melbourne's boom was peaking. The city had become the second
largest in the British Empire (after London), and the richest in the world.
Melbourne hosted five international exhibitions at the large purpose-built
Exhibition Building in the decade of prosperity.
During an 1885 visit, English journalist George Augustus Henry Sala coined
the phrase "Marvellous Melbourne", which stuck long into the twentieth
century. Growing building activity culminated in the "Land Boom" which in
1888 reached a peak of speculative development fuelled by consumer
confidence and escalating land value. As a result of the boom, large
commercial buildings, coffee palaces, terrace housing and palatial mansions
proliferated in the city. and the establishment of a hydraulic facility in
1887 paved the way for elevators and high-rise buildings to dramatically
change the city's skyline. This period saw the expansion of a major radial
rail-based transport network.
The brash boosterism which typified Melbourne during this time came to a
halt in 1891 when the start of a severe depression hit the city's economy,
sending the local finance and property industries into chaos during which 16
small banks and building societies collapsed and 133 limited companies went
into liquidation. The Melbourne financial crisis helped trigger the
Australian economic depression of 1890s and the Australian banking crisis of
1893. The effects of the depression on the city were profound, although it
did continue to grow slowly during the early twentieth century.
Federation of Australia
At the time of Australia's federation on 1 January 1901, Melbourne became
the temporary seat of government of the federation. The first federal
parliament was convened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building,
where it was located until 1927, when it was moved to Canberra. The
governor-general remained at Government House until 1930 and many major
national institutions remained in Melbourne well into the twentieth century.
While Sydney had overtaken Melbourne in size, Melbourne's transport networks
were more extensive. Flinders Street Station was the world's busiest
passenger station in 1927 and Melbourne's tram network overtook Sydney's to
become the world's largest in the 1940s. During World War II, Melbourne
industries thrived on wartime production and the city became Australia's
leading manufacturing centre.
After World War II, Melbourne expanded rapidly, its growth boosted by an
influx of immigrants and the prestige of hosting the Olympic Games in 1956.
The post-war period saw a major urban renewal of the CBD and St Kilda Road
which significantly modernised the city. New Melbourne City Council fire
regulations and redevelopment saw most of the taller pre-war CBD buildings
demolished, despite the efforts of the National Trust of Victoria and the
Save Collins Street movement. Many of the larger suburban mansions from the
boom era were either demolished or subdivided.
ICI House (now Orica House), commenced in 1955, was a powerful symbol of the
Olympic city's modernist aspirations.
Signs of Whelan the Wrecker became a symbol of Melbourne's progressive
spirit during this time, which saw wholesale destruction of Victorian period
architecture from Melbourne's golden era, including the so-called "Paris end
of Collins Street in the CBD. To counter the trend towards low-density
suburban residential growth, the government began a series of controversial
slum reclamation" public housing projects in the inner city by the Housing
Commission of Victoria which resulted in demolition of many neighbourhoods
and a proliferation of high-rise towers. In later years, with the rapid rise
of motor vehicle ownership, the investment in freeway and highway
developments greatly accelerated the outward suburban sprawl and declining
inner city population, that had begun in the late 19th century with the
introduction of trams and suburban railways. The Bolte Victorian government
sought to rapidly modernise Melbourne. Major road projects including the
remodelling of St Kilda Junction, the widening of Hoddle Street and then the
extensive 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan changed the face of the city
into a car-dominated environment.
Australia's financial and mining booms between 1969 and 1970 resulted in
establishment of the headquarters of many major companies (BHP Billiton and
Rio Tinto, among others) in the city. Nauru's then booming economy fuelled
several ambitious investments in Melbourne, such as Nauru House. Melbourne
remained Australia's business and financial capital until the late 1970s,
when it began to lose this primacy to Sydney.
As the centre of Australia's "rust belt", Melbourne experienced the worst of
Victoria's economic slump between 1989 to 1992, following the collapse of
several of its financial institutions. In 1992 the newly elected Kennett
Coalition government began a campaign to revive the economy with an
aggressive development campaign of public works centred on Melbourne and the
promotion of the city as a tourist destination with a focus on major events
and sports tourism, attracting the Australian Grand Prix to the city. Major
projects included the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Melbourne
Exhibition and Convention Centre, Crown Casino and CityLink tollway. Other
strategies included the privatisation of some of Melbourne's services,
including power and public transport, but also a reduction in funding to
public services such as health and education.
Melbourne is located in the south-eastern part of mainland Australia, within
the state of Victoria. Geologically, it is built on the confluence of
Quaternary lava flows to the west, Silurian mudstones to the east, and
Holocene sand accumulation to the southeast along Port Phillip. The
southeastern suburbs are situated on the Selwyn fault which transects Mount
Martha and Cranbourne.
Melbourne extends along the Yarra through the Yarra Valley toward the
Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Ranges to the east. It extends northward through
the undulating bushland valleys of the Yarra's tributaries – Moonee Ponds
Creek (toward Tullamarine Airport), Merri Creek, Darebin Creek and Plenty
River to the outer suburban growth corridors of Craigieburn and Whittlesea.
The city sprawls south-east through Dandenong to the growth corridor of
Pakenham towards West Gippsland, and southward through the Dandenong Creek
valley, the Mornington Peninsula and the city of Frankston taking in the
peaks of Olivers Hill, Mount Martha and Arthurs Seat, extending along the
shores of Port Phillip as a single conurbation to reach the exclusive suburb
of Portsea and Point Nepean. In the west, it extends along the Maribyrnong
River and its tributaries north towards Sunbury and the foothills of the
Macedon Ranges, and along the flat volcanic plain country towards Melton in
the west, Werribee at the foothills of the You Yangs granite ridge and
Geelong as part of the greater metropolitan area to the south-west.
Melbourne's major bayside beaches are located in the south-eastern suburbs
along the shores of Port Phillip Bay, in areas like Port Melbourne, Albert
Park, St Kilda, Elwood, Brighton, Sandringham, Mentone and Frankston
although there are beaches in the western suburbs of Altona and Williamstown
The nearest surf beaches are located 85 kilometres (53 mi) south-east of
the Melbourne CBD in the back-beaches of Rye, Sorrento and Portsea.
Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification
Cfb)and is well known for its changeable weather conditions. This is mainly
due to Melbourne's location situated on the boundary of the very hot inland
areas and the cold southern ocean. This temperature differential is most
pronounced in the Spring and Summer months and can cause very strong cold
fronts to form. These cold fronts can be responsible for all sorts of severe
weather from gales to severe thunderstorms and hail, large temperature drops
and heavy rain. Port Phillip is often warmer than the surrounding oceans
and/or the land mass particularly in spring and autumn and this can set up a
kind of 'bay effect' similar to the 'lake effect' seen in the USA where
showers are intensified leeward of the bay. Relatively narrow streams of
heavy showers can often effect the same places for an extended period of
time, usually the eastern suburbs whilst the rest of Melbourne and surrounds
stays dry. Melbourne is also prone to isolated convective showers forming
when a cold pool crosses the state, especially if there is considerable
daytime heating. These showers are often heavy and can contain hail and
squalls and significant drops in temperature but pass through very quickly
at times with a rapid clearing trend to sunny and relatively calm weather
and the temperature rises back to what it was before the shower, this occurs
often in the space of minutes and can be repeated numerous time in a day.
This has a lot to do with why Melbourne has a reputation for 'four seasons
in one day' The phrase "four seasons in one day" is part of popular culture
and observed by many visitors to the city.
Melbourne is colder than other mainland Australian state capital cities in
the winter. The lowest maximum on record is 4.4 °C (39.9 °F), on 4 July 1901
However, snowfalls are rare: the most recent occurrence of sleet in the CBD
was on 25 July 1986 and the most recent snowfalls in the outer eastern
suburbs and Mount Dandenong were on 10 August 2005, 15 November 2006, 25
December 2006 and 10 August 2008. More commonly, Melbourne experiences
frosts and fog in winter.
During the spring, Melbourne commonly enjoys extended periods of mild
weather and clear skies. Melbourne and Sydney's average January and February
daily highs are similar. However, Melbourne's summers are notable for days
of extreme heat, with Melbourne recording their all-time hottest temperature
of 46.4°C, set on 7 February 2009.
Melbourne is home to Australia's busiest seaport and much of Australia's
automotive industry, which include Ford and Toyota manufacturing facilities,
and the engine manufacturing facility of Holden. It is home to many other
manufacturing industries, along with being a major business and financial
International freight is an important industry. The city's port, Australia's
largest, handles more than $75 billion in trade every year and 39% of the
nation's container trade. Melbourne Airport provides an entry point for
national and international visitors, and is Australia's second busiest
Melbourne is also a major technology hub, with an ICT industry that employs
over 60,000 people (one third of Australia's ICT workforce), has a turnover
of $19.8 billion and export revenues of $615 million.
Most recent major infrastructure projects, such as the redevelopment of
Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station), have been centred
around the 2006 Commonwealth Games, which were held in the city from 15
March to 26 March 2006. The centrepiece of the Commonwealth Games projects
was the redevelopment of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the stadium used for
the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The project involved
rebuilding the northern half of the stadium and laying a temporary athletics
track at a cost of $434 million.
Melbourne is also home to a wide range of religious faiths. The largest of
which is Christian (64%) with a large Catholic population (28.3%). However
Melbourne and indeed Australia are highly secularised, with the proportion
of people identifying themselves as Christian declining from 96% in 1901 to
64% in 2006 and those who did not state their religion or declared no
religion rising from 2% to over 30% over the same period. Nevertheless, the
large Christian population is signified by the city's two large cathedrals –
St Patrick's (Roman Catholic), and St Paul's (Anglican). Both were built in
the Victorian era and are of considerable heritage significance as major
landmarks of the city.
The next highest response was No Religion (20.0%, 717,717), Anglican (12.1%,
433,546), Eastern Orthodox (5.9%, 212,887) and the Uniting Church (4.0%, 143
552). Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs collectively account for 7
5% of the population.
Melbourne has the largest Jewish population in Australia, the community
currently numbering approximately 60,000. The city is also home to the
largest number of Holocaust survivors of any Australian city, indeed the
highest per capita concentration outside Israel itself. Reflecting this
vibrant and growing community, Melbourne has a plethora of Jewish cultural,
religious and educational institutions, including over 40 synagogues and 7
full-time parochial day schools, along with a local Jewish newspaper.
Melbourne's and Australia's largest university – Monash University is named
after prominent Australian Jewish general and statesman, Sir John Monash.
The Melbourne City Council governs the City of Melbourne, which takes in the
CBD and a few adjoining inner suburbs. However the head of the Melbourne
City Council, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, is frequently treated as a
representative of greater Melbourne (the entire metropolitan area),
particularly when interstate or overseas. Robert Doyle, elected in 2008, is
current Lord Mayor.
The rest of the metropolitan area is divided into 31 local government areas.
All these are designated as Cities, except for five on the city's outer
fringes which are classified as Shires. Local government authorities have
elected councils and are responsible for a range of functions set out in the
Local Government Act 1989, such as urban planning and waste management.
Most non-local government services are provided or regulated by the
Victorian state government, which governs from Parliament House in Spring
Street. These include public transport, main roads, traffic control,
policing, education above preschool level, health and planning of major