• Density
3,689,700 (2nd)
Established: 1835
Area 8,694 km²
Time zone

 • Summer (DST)



Melbourne's Yarra  River is a popular area for walking, jogging, cycling, rowing and for relaxing on the banks with a picnic
Melbourne's Yarra River is a popular area for walking, jogging, cycling, rowing and for relaxing on the banks with a picnic

Melbourne (pronounced /ˈmel.bən/) is the second most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 3.7 million (2006 estimate). Located in the country's south-east, Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria and is home to over 70% of all Victorians.[1]

Founded by free-settlers in 1835, 47 years after the first European settlement of Australia, Melbourne was transformed from a small pastoral settlement situated around the Yarra River into a growing metropolis by the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s. By 1865, "Marvellous Melbourne" was Australia's most populous and important city. It served as the temporary national capital from the Federation of Australia in 1901 until the construction of Canberra in 1927.

Today, Melbourne is a major centre of commerce, industry and cultural activity. Often referred to as both the "cultural capital of Australia"[2] and the "sporting capital of Australia",[3][4] it is home to many of Australia's major annual sporting and cultural events, and was the host of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Melbourne is renowned for its Victorian architecture including the World Heritage Royal Exhibition Building as well as its notable landmarks which include the iconic Flinders Street Station, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the extensive tram network, the third largest in the world and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Melbourne has been voted the World's Most Liveable City on a number of occasions[5][6].




Melbourne Landing, 1840; watercolour by W. Liardet (1840).
Melbourne Landing, 1840; watercolour by W. Liardet (1840).
The Windsor Hotel, one of the few surviving grand buildings from the 1880s boom.
The Windsor Hotel, one of the few surviving grand buildings from the 1880s boom.
Flinders Street Station, intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets, 1927.
Flinders Street Station, intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets, 1927.
ICI House, commenced in 1955, was a powerful symbol of the Olympic city's modern aspirations.
ICI House, commenced in 1955, was a powerful symbol of the Olympic city's modern aspirations.

The area of the Yarra Parks and Port Phillip that is now Melbourne was first settled by the British in 1835. These settlers came from Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land). The area was already inhabited by the indigenous Kulin people. A transaction was negotiated for 600,000 acres of land from eight Wurundjeri chiefs; this was later annulled by the New South Wales government (then governing all of eastern mainland Australia), which compensated the settlers.[7]

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. The settlement was named Melbourne in the same year after the British Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, who resided in the village of Melbourne in Derbyshire. Melbourne was declared a city by Queen Victoria on 25 June 1847.[8]

Victoria was established as a separate colony in 1851 with Melbourne as its capital. With the discovery of gold in Victoria in the 1850s, leading to the Victorian gold rush, Melbourne grew rapidly, providing the majority of service industries and serving as the major port for the region. The city became a major finance centre, home to several banks and to Australia's first stock exchange (founded in 1861). During the 1880s, Melbourne was one of the largest cities in the British Empire. This period saw the construction of many high-rise Victorian buildings, Coffee Palaces, terrace housing, grand boulevards and gardens throughout the city. Examples of this Victorian architecture still abound in Melbourne. So impressed by the "Paris of the Antipodes" was journalist George Augustus Henry Sala during his visit in 1885 that he coined the phrase "Marvellous Melbourne" to describe the booming city, a phrase which stuck and is used by its locals and the media to this day.

The brash boosterism which typified Melbourne during this time came to a halt in 1891 when a world economic depression hit the city's economy, sending the finance and property industries into chaos. The effects of the depression on the city were profound, although it did continue to grow slowly during the early 20th century.

At the time of Australia's Federation on 1 January 1901, Melbourne was specified as the temporary seat of government and remained the national capital until 1927, when the Federal parliament was moved to the planned city of Canberra. The first Federal parliament was convened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building.

Melbourne was the Allied Pacific Headquarters from 1942 to 1944 as General Douglas MacArthur established Australia as a launch base for Pacific operations. During World War II, Melbourne industries thrived on wartime production and the city became Australia's leading manufacturing centre. After the war, Melbourne expanded rapidly, with its growth boosted by an influx of immigrants and the prestige of hosting the Olympic Games. Australia's mining boom between 1969 and 1970 proved beneficial to Melbourne, with the headquarters of many of the major companies (BHP, Rio Tinto and many others) based in the city. Nauru's booming mineral economy fuelled several ambitious investments in Melbourne such as Nauru House. Melbourne remained Australia's business and finance capital until the late 1970s, when it began to lose this primacy to Sydney.[9]

Melbourne experienced the worst of Victoria's economic slump between 1989 to 1992. In 1992, a newly elected Victorian government began a campaign to restore the economy with an aggressive development campaign of public works and major events centred on Melbourne and the promotion of the city as a tourist destination. 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.

Since 1997, Melbourne has maintained significant population and employment growth. There has been substantial international investment in the city's industries and property market, and 2006 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that since 2000 Melbourne has sustained the highest population and economic growth rate of any Australian capital city.[10]



Map of greater Melbourne
Map of greater Melbourne
Aerial view of Melbourne city and surrounds looking south towards Port Phillip Bay
Aerial view of Melbourne city and surrounds looking south towards Port Phillip Bay

Melbourne is located in the south-eastern corner of mainland Australia. Geologically it is built on the confluence of Quaternary lava flows to the west, Silurian mudstones to the east[11] and Holocene sand accumulation to the southeast along Port Phillip. The city's suburbs extend along the Yarra Valley toward the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges to the east, down the Mornington Peninsula to the mouth of the bay to the south-east, along the Maribyrnong River and its tributaries north to the foothills of the Macedon Ranges, and along the flat volcanic plain country of Werribee towards Geelong to the south-west.

The original city (known today as the central business district or CBD) is laid out in the mile-by-half-a-mile Hoddle Grid, its southern edge fronting onto the Yarra.

Melbourne is typical of Australian capital cities in that it was built with the underlying notion of a "quarter acre home and garden" for every family, often referred to locally as the Australian Dream. Much of metropolitan Melbourne is accordingly characterised by low density sprawl. The provision of an extensive railway and tram service in the earlier years of development encouraged this low density development, mostly in radial lines along the transport corridors.

Melbourne is often referred to as Australia's garden city, and the state of Victoria is known as "the garden state". There is an abundance of parks and gardens in Melbourne, many close to the CBD with a variety of common and rare plant species amid landscaped vistas, pedestrian pathways and tree-lined avenues. There are also many parks in the surrounding suburbs of Melbourne, such as in the municipalities of Stonnington, Boroondara and Port Phillip, south east of the CBD.



Melbourne has a temperate climate under the Köppen climate classification system.

Melbourne's climate is notable for its changeable weather conditions. This is due in part to the city's flat topography, its situation on Port Phillip Bay, and the presence of the Dandenongs to the east, a combination that creates weather systems that often circle the bay. The phrase "four seasons in one day" is part of popular culture and observed by many visitors to the city.

Melbourne is colder than most Australian other capital cities in winter. The coldest day on record was a maximum of 4.4 degrees Celsius – set on July 4, 1901.[12] Snowfalls are extremely rare in the city: The most recent occurrence of sleet in the CBD was on July 25, 1986 and the recent snowfalls in the Dandenong Ranges just east of Melbourne were on 10 August 2005[13] and 15 November 2006.[14] There has not been a major snowfall in Melbourne since 1951, when moderate cover was recorded in both the CBD and suburbs.[15] More commonly, Melbourne experiences frosts and fog in winter. On nearby Mount Dandenong, snow is recorded every few winters, with falls recorded in all years since 2001 with the exception of 2003.

During the spring, Melbourne commonly enjoys extended periods of mild weather and clear skies. Melbourne is also known to have hot, dry summers, with maximum temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. The hottest temperature on record was 45.6 degrees Celsius on 13 January 1939 during a four-day nationwide heat wave.[16]

In 2006, Melbourne, like most of Australia, has experienced one of the worst droughts on record. 2006 was among the driest years on record with virtually no rainfall in September and October – usually two of the wettest months of the year. Higher than average temperatures have been recorded.

Climate Table
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Mean daily maximum temperature (°C) 25.8 25.8 23.8 20.2 16.6 14.0 13.4 14.9 17.2 19.6 21.8 24.1 19.8
Mean daily minimum temperature (°C) 14.2 14.5 13.1 10.7 8.6 6.9 5.9 6.6 7.9 9.4 11.1 12.8 10.1
Mean total rainfall (mm) 48.2 47.0 50.6 58.2 56.6 49.8 47.9 50.3 58.7 67.4 59.3 59.1 653.2
Mean number of rain days 8.3 7.4 9.3 11.5 14.0 14.2 15.1 15.6 14.8 14.3 11.8 10.5 146.7
Mean number of clear days 6.3 6.3 5.7 4.4 3.0 2.5 2.7 2.9 3.4 3.6 3.5 4.4 48.5
Mean number of cloudy days 11.2 9.7 13.4 14.9 18.0 16.8 17.2 16.8 15.7 16.4 15.1 14.2 179.5
Source: Bureau of Meteorology


Parliament House, home to Melbourne's State Government
Parliament House, home to Melbourne's State Government
The City of South Melbourne (town hall pictured) was the oldest of several large independent municipalities which have since been amalgamated.
The City of South Melbourne (town hall pictured) was the oldest of several large independent municipalities which have since been amalgamated.

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)[17], particularly when interstate or overseas. The current Lord Mayor is John So.

The rest of the metropolitan area is divided into 30 local government areas. All these are designated as Cities, except for five on the city's outer fringes which have the title of Shire. The local government authorities have elected councils and are responsible for a range of functions (delegated to them from the State Government of Victoria under the Local Government Act of 1989 [18]). These include planning, waste management, public space, child-care and preschool facilities, local festivals and cultural activities, services to the elderly, supervision of public health and other similar matters. Councils levy rates from their residents to pay for these services. The councils are collectively represented by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).

Melbourne's dominance of Victoria's population and economy means the Victorian state government is also effectively the city government of greater Melbourne. Most city-wide government activities are controlled by the state government. These include public transport, main roads, traffic control, policing, education above preschool level, and planning of major infrastructure projects. Because three quarters of Victoria's population lives in Melbourne, state governments have traditionally been reluctant to allow the development of city-wide governmental bodies, which could create a rival to the state government. For this reason, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, which had become a powerful semi-autonomous authority, was abolished in 1992.



The Melbourne Town Hall from the western side of Swanston Street looking towards the eastern end of Collins Street.
The Melbourne Town Hall from the western side of Swanston Street looking towards the eastern end of Collins Street.
The Hoddle Grid in central Melbourne, viewed from the Observation Deck at Rialto Towers.
The Hoddle Grid in central Melbourne, viewed from the Observation Deck at Rialto Towers.
Melbourne's CBD has grown to straddle the Yarra River in three major precincts.  The northern area is Melbourne's central business district (left) and Southbank (right) pictured.
Melbourne's CBD has grown to straddle the Yarra River in three major precincts. The northern area is Melbourne's central business district (left) and Southbank (right) pictured.

Melbourne is a large commercial and industrial centre. It is home to three of Australia's largest corporations: Telstra, BHP Billiton and the National Australia Bank, and also to the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and many of the companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Many multinational corporations (approximately one-third of the 100 largest multinationals operating in Australia as of 2002) also have their main Australian office in Melbourne. The demand for office space means that there are many skyscrapers in Melbourne (although the tallest, the Eureka Tower (at 300m above street level) is mostly residential). The tallest office tower, the Rialto Towers (251m above street level) is also the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere and houses an observation deck.

Melbourne is home to Australia's largest seaport and much of Australia's automotive industry, which include Ford and Toyota manufacturing facilities, and the engine manufacturing facility of Holden. It is also home to many other manufacturing industries.[19] In mid-November 2006, Melbourne was host to the summit of G20 finance ministers, amid violent protests.

Melbourne is also a major technology hub, with a strong ICT industry that employs over 60,000 people (one third of Australia's ICT workforce), has a turnover of AUD$19.8 billion, and has export revenues of $615 million.[20]

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 set 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.

Construction began in February 2006 of a $1 billion 5000-seat international convention centre, Hilton Hotel and commercial precinct adjacent to the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre to link development along the Yarra River with the Southbank precinct and multi-billion dollar Docklands redevelopment.

Tourism plays an important role in Melbourne's economy, with approximately 7.6 million domestic visitors and 1.88 million international visitors in 2004.[21]



Melbourne's Chinatown, established in 1854, is not only the oldest in Australia but one of the oldest in the world
Melbourne's Chinatown, established in 1854, is not only the oldest in Australia but one of the oldest in the world
Victorian terrace housing, typical of many of Melbourne's inner suburbs, which have been subject to gentrification and urban renewal since the 1970s
Victorian terrace housing, typical of many of Melbourne's inner suburbs, which have been subject to gentrification and urban renewal since the 1970s

Today Melbourne is a diverse and multicultural city. Almost a quarter of Victoria's population was born overseas, and the city is home to residents from 233 countries, who speak over 180 languages and dialects and follow 116 religious faiths. In 2004, 43.5 per cent were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas.[22] According to the 2001 census, 29.4% of Melburnians are Catholics, 13.7% are Anglicans, 19.7% are other Christians, 3.2% are Buddhists, 2.6% are Muslims and 17.1% declared no religion.[23]

A person from Melbourne is referred to as a Melburnian.[24]


Population history

Melbourne's population exploded during the 1850s' gold rush. From 20,000 inhabitants in 1851, an additional 15,000 arrived within months of the discovery of gold in August 1852.[25] In 1865, Melbourne overtook Sydney as Australia's most populous city.[26] By 1900, Sydney and Melbourne were the same size and in 1902 Sydney had once again assumed the title of Australia's most populous city.[27]

Population by year
1836 177
1851 29,000
1854 123,000 (gold rush)
1860 140,000
1880 280,000
1890 490,000
1895 900,000 (economic collapse)
1956 1,500,000
1981 2,806,000
1991 3,156,700 (economic slump)
2001 3,366,542
2004 3,592,975
2006 3,720,300 (2006 estimate)
2030 4,500,000 (projected)

The aftermath of World War II saw many immigrants arrive from across Britain and Europe. As a result of this, Melbourne has one of the world's largest populations of people with Greek ancestry outside Greece and Cyprus. The 2001 Census recorded 161,000 people of Greek origin in Melbourne, of whom 57,000 were born in Greece. There are also a high concentration of Italians, especially in the local government area of Melbourne.[28] Refugees from Cambodia and Vietnam made Melbourne their home in the 1970s and 1980s and were joined by people from India, the Philippines and Malaysia. Melbourne is also home to the largest Jewish community in Oceania: more than 50% of Australia's Jews live in Melbourne. Melbourne also has the largest number of Holocaust survivors of any Australian city,[29] and the highest per capita concentration of survivors anywhere in the world except Israel.[30] It has a large muslim population with a large population of Turks and Albanians.

The newest wave of immigrants has come from the Horn of Africa as well as Sudan.

Urban density
1951 23.4 [31]
1961 21.4 [32]
1971 18.1 [33]
1976 16.75 [34]
1981 15.9 [35]
1986 16.05 [36]
1991 16.8 [37]
1996 17.9 [38]

Although Brisbane and Perth are growing faster in percentage terms, and Victoria's net interstate migration has fluctuated, the Melbourne statistical division has grown by approximately 50,000 people a year since 2003, more than any other Australian city. Attraction of a large proportion of overseas immigrants and interstate migration from Sydney due to more affordable housing are two recent key factors.[39] In recent years, Melton, Wyndham and Casey, part of the Melbourne statistical division, have recorded the highest growth rate of all local government areas in Australia.

Melbourne's population density declined following World War II, with the private motor car and the lures of space and property ownership causing an exodus to the suburbs, mainly to the east. After much discussion (both at general public and planning levels) in the 1980s, the decline has been reversed since the recession of the early 1990s, and the city has seen increased density in the inner and western suburbs. Since the 1970s, Victorian Government planning blueprints such as Postcode 3000 and Melbourne 2030 have aimed to curtail the urban sprawl.

A view of Melbourne Docklands and sprawling north western suburbs from the Observation Deck at Rialto Tower.
A view of Melbourne Docklands and sprawling north western suburbs from the Observation Deck at Rialto Tower.


Further information: List of schools in Victoria
The University of Melbourne, established in 1853, is the second oldest in Australia
The University of Melbourne, established in 1853, is the second oldest in Australia

Melbourne is home to some of the nation's oldest educational institutions, including the oldest Law (1857), Engineering (1860), Medical (1862), Dental (1897) and Music (1891) schools, all at the University of Melbourne. The University of Melbourne is also the oldest university in Victoria and the second oldest university in Australia. St. Mary's Primary School, Williamstown, is the oldest school in Victoria and Scotch College (1851) is the oldest secondary school.

Melbourne's two largest and most prestigious tertiary institutions are the University of Melbourne and Monash University. Both are members of the Group of Eight. Melbourne University ranked second among Australian universities in the 2006 THES international rankings, after the Australian National University; it was however placed first in 2005.[40] The Times Higher Education Supplement also includes three other Melbourne-based institutions in its top 100, Monash University, La Trobe University and RMIT University. Geelong based Deakin University maintains two campuses in Melbourne and is the third largest university in Victoria. Other universities located in Melbourne include Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University and the St Patrick's campus of the Australian Catholic University. In recent years, the number of international students at Melbourne's universities has risen rapidly, a result of an increasing number of places being made available to full fee paying students.

Although non-tertiary public education is free, 35% of students attend a private primary or secondary school.[41] The most numerous private schools are Catholic, and the rest are independent (see Public and Private Education in Australia). The most prestigious independent schools are members of the Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS) or the Associated Grammar Schools of Victoria (AGSV). The main purpose of these two groups is sporting competition. Private schools achieve better results on average in the VCE (the final year certificate) than public schools. The exceptions to this rule are the two academically selective public high schools, Melbourne High School and MacRobertson Girls High School. Because of this, private school students dominate admissions into tertiary institutions.[42]

Most High schools in Melbourne are called 'Secondary Colleges', a remnant of the Kirner Labor government. There are two selective public schools in Melbourne (mentioned above), but all public schools may restrict entry to students living in their regional 'zone'. As a result, some families move suburb in order that their children are eligible to attend a public school in the 'zone'. One effect of this has been to push up property prices in suburbs with public schools perceived to be of good quality.[43]


Society and culture

The Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne's largest war memorial built from money raised by public contributions.
The Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne's largest war memorial built from money raised by public contributions.
The National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria
The Princess Theatre
The Princess Theatre

Melbourne has thrice shared top position in a survey by The Economist of The World's Most Livable Cities on the basis of its cultural attributes, climate, cost of living, and social conditions such as crime rates and health care, in 2002,[44] 2004 and 2005.[45]

The city celebrates a wide variety of annual cultural events, including Moomba (a celebration of the Yarra River's recreational use), the Melbourne Fringe Festival, the Antipodes Festival (the world's largest celebration of Greek culture outside Greece[46]), the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Gay and Lesbian Midsumma festival.

Federation Square, with its distinctive architecture, large digital screen and public space, has become one of the city's main hubs, attracting congregations, rallies and public viewing of sports events. It is also home to the city's tourist centre. A traditional meeting spot for Melburnians is "under the clocks" at Flinders Street Station. Many of the city's parades, marches and rallies are conducted in the main thoroughfares of Swanston Street and Bourke Street.


Arts and entertainment

Melbourne has a vibrant arts and cultural scene, hosting the annual Melbourne International Arts Festival as a celebration of its artistic tradition.


Performing Arts

Melbourne is strong in the performing arts. It is the home of the Australian Ballet. The National Theatre in St Kilda is the oldest ballet school in Australia. Ballet regularly features at the Victorian Arts Centre and the National Theatre. Melbourne is the second home of Opera Australia after it merged with 'Victoria State Opera' in 1996. The Victorian Opera had its inaugural season in 2006 and operates out of various venues in Melbourne. The Victoria Orchestra, based in Melbourne was Australia's first and performed during 1888–91. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was first assembled in 1906 and tours internationally.

Melbourne has more theatres than any other city in Australia. Live venues include David Marriner's Princess Theatre, Regent Theatre and Her Majesty's Theatre; the Athenaeum, Forum Theatre, Palais Theatre and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Several professional theatre companies operate in Melbourne, of which the Melbourne Theatre Company, the oldest professional theatre company in Australia, has the most institutional support of any in Australia. There is also a range of smaller professional theatre companies in Melbourne, including the Malthouse, La Mama in Carlton, the Red Stitch Actors Theatre and Theatreworks in St Kilda and an array of amateur companies that produce a professional standard of musical and straight theatre, such as CLOC, Catchment Players of Darebin, Altona City Theatre and Dandenong Theatre Company.

Melbourne has a large number of buskers (also known as street performers) that perform in the CBD and surroundings. A variety of musical styles and entertainment acts give the CBD a colourful atmosphere. Melbourne’s musical buskers cater to a wide variety of tastes, from rock to world music (such as the Andean act InkaMarka) and indigenous Australian traditions. However, not all buskers are musicians. There are also living statues, street artists and jugglers.

Melbourne is known throughout Australia and the world as a centre of comedy. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is a celebration of stand-up comedy. The city is home to many of Australia's top rating comedy television shows and several of the country's leading comedians either come from the city or call it home.


Music Industry

Melbourne's lively rock and pop music scene has fostered many internationally renowned artists and musicians. The 1960s gave rise to many performers including Olivia Newton-John, John Farnham, Graeme Bell, and folk group The Seekers. The 1970s saw many acts getting their first big breaks on Melbourne's Countdown (music show), including AC/DC and Nick Cave; while INXS and Crowded House are among many who emerged during the 1980s. Successful Melbourne artists include Hunters & Collectors, Nick Cave, Jet, Weddings Parties Anything, TISM, Dead Can Dance, Snog and Something for Kate. Melbourne is also the home of rock "guru" Ian "Molly" Meldrum.

More recent notable Melbourne acts include Jet, Rogue Traders, Taxiride, The Cat Empire, Vanessa Amorosi, Missy Higgins, Madison Avenue and The Living End. Melbourne television shows Young Talent Time and Neighbours gave many singers a launching pad to international success. Local talents to come from these shows include Kylie Minogue, Dannii Minogue, Tina Arena, Jamie Redfern and Jason Donovan, while artists from other states who gained prominence through these shows include Natalie Imbruglia, Delta Goodrem and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

Melbourne also has a successful independent music industry. A variety of factors — including a relative abundance of venues and independent labels, a thriving street press and strong support from community radio — have made the city an attractive base for both homegrown artists and those from around the country. Notable Melbourne-based independent artists include The Lucksmiths and Architecture in Helsinki.


Visual Arts

Melbourne is strongly associated with the establishment of Australia's visual arts. The city was the birthplace of the Heidelberg School, an Australian art movement of the late 19th century. The school, being largely the work of Melbourne-based artists, was perhaps the first distinctly Australian school of Western art. Many of its most significant works are held in the National Gallery of Victoria, one of Australia's premier collections of visual art. The strong art community culminated in significant artist colonies such as Heidelberg and Montsalvat. Melbourne is home to a large array of public artworks, statues and sculptures. Sculptors such as Deborah Halpern and Bruce Armstrong have played a large part in enhancing many of the city's public spaces with their iconic and larger-than-life works. In more modern times, the city has become well known as a centre for stencil graffiti, public art that thrives in the city's numerous laneways.

The city is home to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, an organisation dedicated to the moving image in all its forms, from film to animation to video games and television. The city has major film festivals in the Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne Underground Film Festival and Melbourne International Animation Festival, featuring several of the city's major cinemas. The Central City Studios in Melbourne Docklands, constructed in 2005, has seen the production of several big budget films.

Melbourne is also known as a centre for fashion. The city, once a leader in the textile industry, retains a small manufacturing base, but has diversified into the more creative areas of the fashion industry. Melbourne is a major participator in Australian Fashion Week, while the Melbourne Fashion Festival is an annual event held in the city. The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and Brownlow Medal dinner are seen as two of the biggest annual red carpet events in the country.

Melbourne has a wide variety of architectural design. Australia's oldest architectural firm, and one of the world's oldest, Bates Smart, is from Melbourne. The city is home to Australia's only building on the World Heritage Register, the Royal Exhibition Building. Melbourne has also been home to some of Australia's most prolific architects including Joseph Reed, William Wardell, John James Clark, Charles D'Ebro, Charles Webb, William Pitt, Nahum Barnet, Harry Tompkins Harry Norris, Sir Roy Grounds, Robin Boyd and Frederick Romberg. In recent years, Melbourne has produced some of Australia's best current architectural firms, including international firms Denton Corker Marshall, Fender Katsalidis, Daryl Jackson and Peddle Thorp as well as local award winning trendsetters Edmund & Corrigan, Ashton Raggatt McDougall and Wood Marsh[47].



Melbourne has two major daily newspapers, The Age and the Herald Sun, as well as the free afternoon tabloid mX. There are three commercial television networks: Seven, Nine and Ten; and three public: the ABC, SBS and a community channel, C31.

Melbourne's commercial radio industry is dominated by the DMG Radio Australia, Austereo and Southern Cross Broadcasting networks – all Melbourne-based. DMG Radio Australia stations include Nova 100 and Vega fm, Austereo stations include FOX FM and Triple M. 3AW is consistently the city's highest-rating commercial radio station. Melbourne also boasts a number of community radio stations, of which the best known are SYN FM, 3RRR, 3PBS and Joy Melbourne, the first Australian full-time gay and lesbian radio station. Public broadcasters include 774 ABC Melbourne.



See also: Sport in Victoria
A view of the MCG's Great Southern Stand during the 1998 Boxing Day cricket Test match
A view of the MCG's Great Southern Stand during the 1998 Boxing Day cricket Test match
The "Big Men Fly".  Australian rules Football at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The "Big Men Fly". Australian rules Football at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In a country that is often labelled 'sports mad', Melbourne has a reputation among Australians for being the national sporting capital.[3]

The city hosts many major sporting events including the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival (featuring the 'race that stops the nation', the Melbourne Cup), the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the Australian round of the MotoGP, the Australian Open Tennis Championship and the AFL Grand Final. Melbourne hosted the first Olympic Games in the southern hemisphere in 1956, as well as the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Melbourne is where Australian rules football originated – the most popular sport in Australia. The city is home to nine of the sixteen teams that constitute the Australian Football League (AFL), whose five Melbourne games per week attract an average 35,000 people per game. The AFL Grand Final, one of the biggest sporting events in Australia, is played on the last Saturday of September at the world famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG),[48] The city also is home to nine out of the thirteen teams of the professional statewide Victorian Football League.

The city also features one professional rugby league team, Melbourne Storm, who play in the national rugby league competition, professional football (soccer) teams, the Melbourne Victory, who play in the the A-League the national soccer competition, and historically Australia's most successful club South Melbourne FC, who now play in the Victorian Premier League.

Including the MCG, Melbourne is home to over 29 stadiums with a capacity of over 10,000 people. Some venues, such as the Albert Park Formula One track and the Calder Raceway, have large capacities but only temporary structures, while there are numerous suburban horse racing tracks and Australian Rules ovals. In 2000 construction was completed on the Docklands Stadium, capable of seating up to 56,000 people. The stadium was the first in the world to host cricket and football matches under a roof. Telstra has since bought the naming rights to the stadium, now called Telstra Dome.

The city also has large State Cycling, Hockey, Baseball/Softball and Netball centres, and an Ice centre (Australian Olympic Winter Institute) is being constructed in Melbourne Docklands.

The city has hosted several major international sporting events. Annually, Melbourne hosts the Australian Open tennis tournament, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments and the AAMI Classic; the famous Melbourne Cup horse race; the 'Boxing Day' cricket test match held each year from 26 December to 30 December at the Melbourne Cricket Ground; and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. The Wallabies, Australia's national rugby union team, usually also play at least one Test annually at Melbourne's Telstra Dome. Since 1999, the city has been the biennial host of the International Rules series involving the Australian national team and the Irish national team. The city hosted the 2002 and 2005 Australian Football International Cup.

Since the 1956 Summer Olympics were held in Melbourne, the city has hosted numerous sporting events which rotate host cities. Melbourne co-hosted the 2003 Rugby World Cup, including many pool matches as well as a quarter final – all of which were played at the Telstra Dome; hosted the 2002 World Masters Games; broke new ground as the first city outside the United States to host the World Police and Fire Games in 1995, and the Presidents Cup golf tournament in 1999; and was the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to host the World Polo Championship in 2001. The city has hosted FIFA World Cup qualifiers in both 1997 and 2001. Most recently, the 2006 Commonwealth Games were held in Melbourne. Seventy-one Commonwealth nations competed in the Games.

In 2007, Melbourne will be the host of the FINA World Aquatics Championships. Melbourne hosted the Australia vs Greece football (soccer) match on 25 May 2006 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which will be followed by two significant World Cup qualifiers in 2008 and 2009.

In July 2006, the Rugby League State of Origin, often considered the flagship event of Australian rugby league, was played at the Telstra Dome. The Rugby League State of Origin has been held several times before in Melbourne (most recently in 1997), and has attracted over 87,000 spectators at the MCG, even though Victoria is not actually one of the states involved. In 2006, the Kangaroos, Australia's national rugby league team, played a Tri-nations test at the Telstra Dome, the first rugby league test in the city for 14 years. In December 2006, the 100th cricket test to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground will form part of The Ashes series. It is anticipated that as many as 40,000 Britons will visit Australia for this much anticipated event.

The Victorian government recently won the right to host the Bledisloe Cup rugby union Test in 2007 at the MCG while setting aside a large amount of money for Melbourne’s contribution to an Australian bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Australian Football International Cup returns in 2008 to celebrate 150 years of Australian rules football.

In 2006, a report made by ArkSports Limited named Melbourne as the "Sporting Capital of the World".[49]


Recreation and leisure

Apart from the culture of attending sports events, Melburnians participate in a wide range of recreational and leisure activities.

Australian rules football, cricket and soccer are the most popular participation team sports in Melbourne.

Cycling in Melbourne is a popular pastime, as well as a spectator sport. Melbourne's flat terrain and extensive off-road paths in green wedges are conducive to riding. Beach Road combines with the Nepean Highway to form a 90-kilometre stretch from Port Melbourne to Sorrento, incorporating the Bayside Trail. It is the city’s most popular training route and attracts cyclists from around the world. Thousands of commuters cycle the roads, bike lanes and bike paths daily. Bicycle Victoria's annual events, Around the Bay in a Day and Ride to Work Day, attract tens of thousands of Melburnians. Other events such as the Herald Sun Tour begin and end in the Melbourne area and there are many local cycling events of varying grades all year round.

Triathlon dominates the Beach Road area during summer, when hundreds of amateurs and professionals dive into Port Phillip Bay on Sundays.

Watersports are a big recreational activity in Melbourne. Rowing on the Yarra River is also popular with universities and schools, and there are many boat-sheds along the river. the Yarra is home to the Head of the River, first raced in 1868 and Australia's oldest. The Oarsome Foursome are also from Melbourne. On Port Phillip Bay, boating is popular, as is jetskiing, kitesurfing and windsurfing on St Kilda Beach.

Port Phillip's many beaches are home to a wide range of recreational activities
Port Phillip's many beaches are home to a wide range of recreational activities
Looking north over Port Phillip Bay toward Albert Park and the Melbourne skyline from St Kilda Pier
Looking north over Port Phillip Bay toward Albert Park and the Melbourne skyline from St Kilda Pier


The Royal Arcade, just one of the arcades, lanes and malls that make Melbourne a shopping magnet for both locals and tourists.
The Royal Arcade, just one of the arcades, lanes and malls that make Melbourne a shopping magnet for both locals and tourists.

Gambling is a large part of Melbourne's culture. The elaborate rooms of the Crown Casino entertainment complex house poker machines, games and nightclubs. Gambling is also tied to many of Melbourne's sports, where race betting and footy tipping are part of the way of life.

Melbourne's restaurants are numerous and present a diverse range of cuisines. The city has a reputation as a culinary capital[50], celebrated by the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. As well as the famous "Little Italy" of Lygon Street in Carlton, other favourite inner city dining locations for Melburnians include Fitzroy Street St Kilda, Brunswick Street Fitzroy, Victoria St Collingwood, the CBD, and the Docklands and Southbank precincts. Flower Drum in Market Lane next to Chinatown is often regarded as Melbourne's finest restaurant by The Age Good Food Guide, as well as been ranked in the top 50 best restaurants in the world by Restaurant Magazine. In 2006, Jamie Oliver selected Melbourne as the location for "Fifteen Melbourne", the Australian restaurant for his reality television show Jamie’s Kitchen Australia.

Shopping or "retail therapy" has been a big part of Melbourne's way of life since the late 19th century, when "doing the Block" was a sign of prestige. Today, the city is home to some of Australia's best shopping strips, such as the famous Chapel Street which stretches many blocks through South Yarra and Prahran, while heritage arcades such as the Block and the Royal Arcade and the CBD's myriad lanes offer a more intimate shopping experience. The large Chadstone Shopping Centre markets itself as the "Fashion Capital". Strip shopping localities includeToorak Village, known for its exclusiveness, and Bridge Road in Richmond, known for its extensive factory outlets.

Dance music is a thriving part of the Melbourne scene; the city is considered the nation’s dance music capital.[51] Dance parties take place most of the year, the city frequently attracting some of the world's best DJs. Some of the biggest nightclubs in the world are found in Melbourne, including the Melbourne Metro Nightclub (2500 capacity) and QBH (2100 capacity). Melbourne is the birthplace of the Melbourne Shuffle, a style of dance that has been exported to South East Asia and continues to evolve to date.


Melbourne in culture

Melbourne has been the setting for many novels, television dramas, and films. Fergus Hume's international best-seller Mystery of a Hansom Cab was set in Gold Rush era Melbourne. Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory tells the story of Melbourne businessman John West (based on the real-life John Wren) and is set in a thinly-disguised Collingwood, then a working-class suburb of Melbourne. Perhaps the best-known novel internationally is Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach. In 1959, it was made into a film directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Anthony Perkins. The film depicted the denizens of Melbourne quietly slipping off into eternity as the last victims of a global nuclear holocaust. Filmed on location in and around Melbourne, it is perhaps best remembered for a comment Ava Gardner never made, describing Melbourne as "the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world". The purported quote was invented by journalist Neil Jillett. Similar filming was undertaken when a 2000 television movie remake was produced.

The world's first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was filmed in Melbourne in 1906[52]. Some of the more famous Australian films include Mad Max and The Castle. Melbourne has also produced many talented film and television actors including Cate Blanchett, Guy Pearce, Eric Bana and is home to Geoffrey Rush.

Australian audiences saw Melbourne portrayed in the 1960s–70s Crawford Productions police television drama series Homicide and Division 4. Perhaps better known to a contemporary audience is the soap opera Neighbours, set in the fictional eastern suburb of Erinsborough, which presents a microcosm of suburban Australian life. Other contemporary television shows set in Melbourne include Stingers (an undercover police drama staring Peter Phelps), The Secret Life Of Us, Kath and Kim, Prisoner (known as Prisoner: Cell Block H for US and UK broadcasts), Halifax FP, and MDA.

Singer Paul Kelly has written several well-known songs about aspects of the city close to the heart of many Melburnians, notably "Leaps And Bounds" and "From St Kilda To King's Cross", while Skyhooks also wrote some more tongue-in-cheek songs about Melbourne. "Balwyn Calling", "Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo)" and "Toorak Cowboy" are examples. Native band The Living End purportedly wrote the song "West End Riot" about differences between eastern and western suburbs in the city. Melbourne has produced many popular international vocalists and singers, including 1900s soprano Dame Nellie Melba, who took her name from her native city.

Melbourne-born satirist Barry Humphries created his main character Dame Edna Everage as a comic version of a suburban homemaker. Through her he has performed cutting odes to Melbourne mores and the middle class suburbs of Moonee Ponds and Highett, among others.

Carols by Candlelight, first held in 1938, is a Christmas Eve tradition that originated in Melbourne, held annually at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.





The Government of Victoria's Department of Health Services oversees approximately 30 public hospitals in the Melbourne metropolitan region, and 13 health services organisations.[53] The major public hospitals are the Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Alfred Hospital and Austin Hospital, while major private hospitals include Epworth Hospital and St Vincent's. The city is also home to major medical and biotechnology research centres such as the Burnet Institute, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, The Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Baker Heart Institute and Australian Synchrotron.



Two Connex Melbourne-operated trains at Flinders Street Station.
Two Connex Melbourne-operated trains at Flinders Street Station.
Melbourne is famous for its extensive tram system, where modern and heritage trams run side by side
Melbourne is famous for its extensive tram system, where modern and heritage trams run side by side
The Bolte Bridge
The Bolte Bridge

Melbourne has an integrated public transport system known as Metlink. While the public transport network is of considerable size, many of Melbourne's outlying suburbs still face transport difficulties.

Melbourne's public transport system was largely laid out late in the 19th century when trains and trams were the primary methods of travelling to the suburbs. Since this time, the extensive system has been maintained and modernised. The 1950s saw a trend towards private vehicles and freeway construction.[54] This policy has continued with successive governments despite relentless traffic congestion.[55][56] The result has been a significant drop in public transport modeshare from the 1940s level of around 25% to the current level of around 9%.[57] Melbourne's public transport system was privatised in 1999.

Melbourne's famous tram network is both one of the world's most extensive and the only one comprising more than a single line remaining in Australia, a distinctive feature of the city. Trams are not only a form of transport, but a tourist icon of Melbourne. Visitors are served by a free City Circle Tram, taking in many tourist sights and there is also a fleet of restaurant trams, the first of its kind in the world. There are almost 300 bus routes and a mostly-electric train system with more than 15 lines. Flinders Street Station is a prominent Melbourne landmark and meeting place. From the 1920s to the 1940s it was the world's busiest passenger station.[58] The city has rail connections with several regional cities in the state, as well as interstate rail services to Sydney and Adelaide, which depart from Melbourne's other major rail terminus, Southern Cross Station.

Melbourne has a high dependency on private cars for transport, with only 7.1% of trips made by public transport.[59] Melbourne has a total of 3.6 million private vehicles using 22,320 km of road, and one of the highest lengths of road per capita.[59] Although it is claimed by the government that no home in Melbourne is more than 400 m from a bus route, many of these routes have an infrequent service and do not operate in the evenings or on Sundays. There is a major campaign that hopes to bring about government change in transport planning and the Public Transport Users Association, the first advocacy organisation for public transport in Australia has been active many years. Major highways feeding into the city include the Eastern Freeway, Monash Freeway and West Gate Freeway (which spans the spectacular Westgate Bridge), whilst other significant road systems include CityLink and the Western Ring Road, Calder Freeway, Tullamarine Freeway (main airport link) and the Hume Freeway which links Melbourne to Sydney.

The Port of Melbourne is Australia's largest container and general cargo port and also its busiest.[60] Melbourne Airport is the nation's second busiest. Station Pier in Port Phillip Bay handles cruise ships and the Spirit of Tasmania ferries which cross Bass Strait to Tasmania.

Melbourne has four significant airports. Melbourne International Airport located at Tullamarine is the city's main international and domestic (Qantas and Virgin Blue and Jetstar) gateway. Avalon Airport, located between Melbourne and Geelong, is a secondary hub of Jetstar, a low cost airline owned by Qantas servicing Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth only, and is also used as a freight and maintenance facility. Moorabbin Airport is a significant general aviation airport in the city's south east. Essendon Airport, which was once the city's main airport before the construction of the airport at Tullamarine, handles general aviation and some cargo flights, and is the base of the Victoria Police air wing and air ambulance.



Water storage and supply for Melbourne is managed by Melbourne Water, which is owned by the Victorian Government. The organisation is also responsible for management of sewerage and the major water catchments in the region. Water is mainly stored in the largest dam, the Thomson River Dam which is capable of holding around 60% of Melbourne's water capacity,[61] while smaller dams such as the Upper Yarra Dam and the Cardinia Reservoir carry secondary supplies. Like most cities in Australia, Melbourne currently faces a water crisis, with water storages at less than 50% for most of 2006. Water restrictions are in place and the state government has considered water recycling schemes for the city.

The main natural gas and electricity to Melbourne are Origin Energy, AGL and Energy Australia. Numerous telecommunications companies operate in Melbourne providing terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services. Electricity for Melbourne is primarily sourced from the coal power stations of Latrobe City.


Sister cities

Melbourne has six sister cities.[62] They are:


See also

  • Timeline of Melbourne history
  • Melbourne tourism
  • List of notable Melburnians
  • List of Melbourne suburbs
  • List of Mayors and Lord Mayors of Melbourne  
  • Local Government Areas of Victoria
  • Crime in Melbourne
  • List of songs about Melbourne
  • List of heritage listed buildings in Melbourne
  • Australian architectural styles
  • Melway – the native street directory and general information source in Melbourne.
  • Hook turn – driving manoeuvre that is common in the inner city area.
  • World's Most Livable Cities – Melbourne has twice been ranked equal first with Vancouver.
  • Large Cities Climate Leadership Group
  • List of city nicknames

Notes and references

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics – Population Projections (see Section 5.13)
  2. Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal
  3. 3.0 3.1 Transcript of the Prime Minister. The Hon John Howard MP. Address at the launch of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006
  4. Melbourne pips competition The Courier Mail, July 23, 2006
  5. Melbourne and Vancouver are the world’s best cities to live in Economist Intelligence Unit (2002).
  6. Vancouver Melbourne and Vienna named worlds most liveable cities Economist Intelligence Unit (2005).
  7. City of Melbourne - History and heritage - Settlement – foundation and surveying. City of Melbourne. Retrieved on 7 October, 2006.
  8. Melbourne the city's history and development, 2nd ed pg 5, Miles Lewis, 1995
  9. Elias, David Tell Melbourne it's over, we won Sydney Morning Herald, December 31, 2003
  10. Marino, Melissa; Colebatch, Tim Melbourne's population booms The Age, March 24, 2005 accessed November 7, 2006
  11. City of Monash:Background Information accessed November 7, 2006
  12. Waldon, Steve and Medew, Julia, 'Snow misses CBD lunch appointment' article from The Age dated August 10, 2005, accessed November 7, 2006
  13. Snow falls in Melbourne Sydney Moring Herald, August 10, 2005 accessed online November 7, 2006
  14. Rain hits the target from the Herald Sun
  15. Waldon and Medew, loc. cit.
  16. Record heat and stupidity as Melbourne swelters, The Age, January 25 2003
  17. Dunstan, David The evolution of 'Clown Hall', The Age, November 12, 2004, accessed online November 7, 2006
  18. Local Government Act 1989
  19. Business Victoria
  20. Industry Snapshot from Multimedia Victoria
  21. Melbourne Airport Passenger Figures Strongest on Record
  22. Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs
  23. Melbourne religion profile, 2001 census
  24. The variant spelling 'Melbournian' is sometimes found but is considered grammatically incorrect. The term 'Melbournite' is also sometimes used. Right Words: A Guide to English Usage in Australia. Stephen Murray-Smith. 2nd ed. Ringwood, Vic. Viking, 1989
  25. ~ GOLD ~. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved on 8 October, 2006.
  26. The Snowy Mountains Scheme and Multicultural Australia
  27. Linking a Nation: Australia's Transport and Communications 1788 - 1970
  28. 20th Century Urbanization in Comparative Perspective, Professor Owen Gutfreund
  29. Holocaust Remembrance in Australian Jewish Communities Judith Berman
  30. The Kadimah & Yiddish Melbourne in the 20th Century. Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library: "Kadima".
  31. Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme 1954, p. 23
  32. Australian Bureau of Statistics 1961
  33. Australian Bureau of Statistics 1971
  34. Melbourne Social Atlas, 1976 (ABS)
  35. Social Atlas, 1981
  36. Soc. Atlas/"Supermap" Census Data, 1986
  37. Social Atlas/Supermap, 1991
  38. Department of Infrastructure, 1998
  39. The Resurgence of Marvellous Melbourne Trends in Population Distribution in Victoria, 1991-1996. Article by John O'Leary. Monash University Press
  40. "ANU up there with the best", Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 2005. Retrieved on 12 October.
  41. Australian Bureau of Statistics - Schools, 2005
  42. Schools get VCE report cards. The Age. Retrieved on 8 October, 2006.
  43. Schools inequality calls for bold reform, The Age, October 17, 2003
  44. Melbourne and Vancouver are the world’s best cities to live in Economist Intelligence Unit (2002).
  45. Vancouver Melbourne and Vienna named worlds most liveable cities Economist Intelligence Unit (2005).
  46. Antipodes Festival Melbourne. Retrieved on 9 January, 2007.
  47. Designers front up to world stage
  48. | title = MCG – Article | work = MCG | accessdate = 5 October | accessyear = 2006}}
  49. We are world's sports capital. Retrieved on 28 November, 2006.
  50. Europe on a plate Article from the Adelaide Advertiser
  51. Dance Trance Article from the Age
  52. The Premier of Victoria
  53. Melbourne public hospitals and Metropolitan Health Services Victorian Department of Health
  54. The cars that ate Melbourne article from the Age
  55. Bid to end traffic chaos
  56. Melbourne's traffic on the move? article from the ABC
  57. Trial by public transport: why the system is failing article from The Age
  58. Melbourne and scenes in Victoria 1925-1926 from Victorian Government Railways From the National Library of Australia
  59. 59.0 59.1 Most Liveable and Best Connected? The Economic Benefits of Investing in Public Transport in Melbourne, by Jan Scheurer, Jeff Kenworthy, and Peter Newman
  60. History of the Port
  61. Melbourne Water
  62. Official Website of the City of Melbourne; accessed 2 November 2006

External links

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Canberra Sydney Darwin Brisbane Adelaide Hobart Melbourne Perth
Other Australian cities
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