Melbourne facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsMelbourne
Map of Melbourne, Australia, printable and editable
|Population||5,096,298 (2021) (2nd)|
|• Density||509.987/km2 (1,320.86/sq mi)|
|Established||30 August 1835|
|Elevation||31 m (102 ft)|
|Area||9,993 km2 (3,858.3 sq mi)(GCCSA)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10)|
|• Summer (DST)||AEDT (UTC+11)|
|LGA(s)||31 Municipalities across Greater Melbourne|
|County||Grant, Bourke, Mornington|
|State electorate(s)||55 electoral districts and regions|
|Federal Division(s)||23 Divisions|
Melbourne ( MEL-bərn) (Boonwurrung: Naarm) is the capital and most-populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second-most populous city in both Australia and Oceania. Its name generally refers to a 9,993 km2 (3,858 sq mi) metropolitan area known as Greater Melbourne, comprising an urban agglomeration of 31 local municipalities, although the name is also used specifically for the local municipality of City of Melbourne based around its central business area. The city occupies much of the northern and eastern coastlines of Port Phillip Bay and spreads into the Mornington Peninsula and the hinterlands towards the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges. It has a population over 5 million (19% of the population of Australia, as per 2020), mostly residing to the east side of the city centre, and its inhabitants are commonly referred to as "Melburnians".
The area of Melbourne has been home to Aboriginal peoples for over 40,000 years and serves as an important meeting place for local Kulin nation clans. The name Naarm is commonly used by the broader Aboriginal community to refer to the city, being the traditional Boon wurrung name for Port Phillip Bay. A short-lived penal settlement was built at Port Phillip, then part of the British colony of New South Wales, in 1803, but it was not until 1835, with the arrival of free settlers from Van Diemen’s Land (modern-day Tasmania), that Melbourne was founded. It was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837, and named after the then British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. In 1851, four years after Queen Victoria declared it a city, Melbourne became the capital of the new colony of Victoria. During the 1850s Victorian gold rush, the city entered a lengthy boom period that, by the late 1880s, had transformed it into one of the world's largest and wealthiest metropolises. After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as the interim seat of government of the new nation until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927. Today, it is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks 23rd globally in the 2021 Global Financial Centres Index.
Melbourne is home to many of Australia's best-known landmarks, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. Noted for its cultural heritage, the city gave rise to Australian rules football, Australian impressionism and Australian cinema, and has more recently been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a global centre for street art, live music and theatre. It hosts major annual international events, such as the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open, and also hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, along with a number of regional areas of Victoria. It was host to the 1880 World's Fair. Melbourne consistently ranked as the world's most liveable city for much of the 2010s.
Melbourne Airport, also known as the Tullamarine Airport, is the second-busiest airport in Australia, and the Port of Melbourne is the nation's busiest seaport. Its main metropolitan rail terminus is Flinders Street station and its main regional rail and road coach terminus is Southern Cross station. It also has Australia's most extensive freeway network and the largest urban tram network in the world.
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Early history and foundation
Before the arrival of white settlers, humans had occupied the area for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years. At the time of European settlement, it was inhabited by under 2000 hunter-gatherers from three indigenous regional tribes: the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong. The area was an important meeting place for the clans of the Kulin nation alliance and a vital source of food and water.
The first European settlement in Victoria was established by Colonel David Collins in October 1803, at Sullivan Bay, near present-day Sorrento, but this settlement was relocated to what is now Hobart, Tasmania, in February 1804, due to a perceived lack of resources. It would be 30 years before another settlement was attempted.
In May and June 1835, the area which is now central and northern Melbourne was explored by John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association in Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania), who claimed to have negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres (2,400 km2) with 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". Batman then returned to Launceston in Tasmania. In early August 1835 a different group of settlers, including John Pascoe Fawkner, left Launceston on the ship Enterprize. Fawkner was forced to disembark at Georgetown, Tasmania, because of outstanding debts. The remainder of the party continued and arrived at the mouth of the Yarra River on 15 August 1835. On 30 August 1835 the party disembarked and established a settlement at the site of the current Melbourne Immigration Museum. Batman and his group arrived on 2 September 1835 and the two groups ultimately agreed to share the settlement.
Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by the New South Wales governor (who at the time governed all of eastern mainland Australia), with compensation paid to members of the association. 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 city, the Hoddle Grid, in 1837. The settlement was named Batmania after Batman. However, later that year the settlement was named "Melbourne" after the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose seat was Melbourne Hall in the market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire. On 13 April 1837 the settlement's general post office officially opened with that name.
Between 1836 and 1842 Victorian Aboriginal groups were largely dispossessed of their land by European settlers. By January 1844, there were said to be 675 Aborigines resident in squalid camps in Melbourne. The British Colonial Office appointed five Aboriginal Protectors for the Aborigines of Victoria, in 1839, however their work was nullified by a land policy that favoured squatters to take possession of Aboriginal lands. By 1845, fewer than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licences then issued in Victoria and became a powerful political and economic force in Victoria for generations to come.
On 1 July 1851 the Port Phillip District became the separate Colony of Victoria, with Melbourne as its capital.
Victorian gold rush
The discovery of gold in Victoria in mid-1851 led to a gold rush, and Melbourne, which served as the major port and provided most services for the region, experienced rapid growth. Within months, the city's population had increased from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. Thereafter, growth was exponential and by 1865, Melbourne had overtaken Sydney as Australia's most populous city.
An influx of intercolonial and overseas migrants, particularly Irish, German and Chinese, saw the establishment of slums including a temporary "tent city" on the southern banks of the Yarra. Chinese migrants founded Chinatown in 1851, which remains the longest continuous Chinese settlement outside Asia. In the aftermath of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion, mass public support for the plight of the miners resulted in major political changes to the colony, including improvements in working conditions across mining, agriculture, manufacturing and other local industries. The various nationalities involved in the rebellion give some indication of immigration flows at the time.
With the wealth brought on by the gold rush and the subsequent need for public buildings, a program of grand civic construction soon began. The 1850s and 1860s saw the commencement of Parliament House, the Treasury Building, the Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria Barracks, the State Library, University, General Post Office, Customs House, the Melbourne Town Hall, St Patrick's cathedral, though many remained uncompleted for decades, with some still not finished.
The layout of the inner suburbs on a largely one-mile grid pattern, cut through by wide radial boulevards and parklands surrounding the central city was largely established in the 1850s and 1860s. These areas were rapidly filled by the ubiquitous terrace house, as well as detached houses and grand mansions, while some of the major roads developed as shopping streets. Melbourne quickly became a major finance centre, home to several banks, the Royal Mint, and Australia's first stock exchange in 1861. In 1855 the Melbourne Cricket Club secured possession of its now famous ground, the MCG. Members of the Melbourne Football Club codified Australian football in 1859, and Yarra rowing clubs and "regattas" became popular about the same time. In 1861 the Melbourne Cup was first run. In 1864 Melbourne acquired its first public monument—the Burke and Wills statue.
With the gold rush largely over by 1860, Melbourne continued to grow on the back of continuing gold mining, as the major port for exporting the agricultural products of Victoria, especially wool, and a developing manufacturing sector protected by high tariffs. An extensive radial railway network spreading into the countryside was established from the late 1850s. Further major public buildings were begun in the 1860s and 1870s such as the Supreme Court, Government House, and the Queen Victoria Market. The central city filled up with shops and offices, workshops, and warehouses. Large banks and hotels faced the main streets, with fine townhouses in the east end of Collins Street, contrasting with tiny cottages down laneways within the blocks. The Aboriginal population continued to decline with an estimated 80% total decrease by 1863, due primarily to introduced diseases, particularly smallpox, frontier violence and dispossession from their lands.
Land boom and bust
The decade of the 1880s was one of extraordinary growth, when consumer confidence, easy access to credit, and steep increases in the price of land, led to an enormous amount of construction. This 'land boom' was followed by a severe economic crash in the early 1890s which lasted until the end of the century. During the boom, Melbourne had reputedly become the richest city in the world, and the largest after London in the British Empire.
The decade began with the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880, held in the large purpose-built Exhibition Building. In 1880 a telephone exchange was established and in the same year the foundations of St Paul's, were laid; in 1881 electric light was installed in the Eastern Market, and in the following year a generating station capable of supplying 2,000 incandescent lamps was in operation. In 1885 the first line of the Melbourne cable tramway system was built, becoming one of the worlds most extensive systems by 1890.
During a visit in 1885 English journalist George Augustus Henry Sala coined the phrase "Marvellous Melbourne", which stuck long into the twentieth century and is still used today by Melburnians. Growing building activity culminated in a "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. The establishment of a hydraulic facility in 1887 allowed for the local manufacture of elevators, resulting in the first construction of high-rise buildings; most notably the APA Building, amongst the world's tallest commercial buildings upon completion in 1889. This period also saw the expansion of a major radial rail-based transport network.
In 1888, the Exhibition Building hosted a second event even larger than the first, the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition, spurring construction of numerous hotels including the 500 room Federal Hotel, The Palace Hotel in Bourke Street (both since demolished), and the doubling in size of the Grand (Windsor).
A brash boosterism that had typified Melbourne during this time ended in the early 1890s with a severe depression of the city's economy, sending the local finance and property industries into a period of chaos during which 16 small "land banks" and building societies collapsed, and 133 limited companies went into liquidation. The Melbourne financial crisis was a contributing factor in the Australian economic depression of the 1890s and the Australian banking crisis of 1893. The effects of the depression on the city were profound, with virtually no new construction until the late 1890s.
Capital of Australia
At the time of Australia's federation on 1 January 1901, Melbourne became the seat of government of the federation. The first federal parliament was convened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building, subsequently moving to the Victorian Parliament House where it was located until 1927, when it was moved to Canberra. The Governor-General of Australia resided at Government House in Melbourne until 1930 and many major national institutions remained in Melbourne well into the twentieth century.
In the immediate years after World War II, Melbourne expanded rapidly, its growth boosted by post-war immigration to Australia, primarily from Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. While the "Paris End" of Collins Street began Melbourne's boutique shopping and open air cafe cultures, the city centre was seen by many as stale—the dreary domain of office workers—something expressed by John Brack in his famous painting Collins St., 5 pm (1955).
Height limits in the Melbourne CBD were lifted in 1958, after the construction of ICI House, transforming the city's skyline with the introduction of skyscrapers. Suburban expansion then intensified, served by new indoor malls beginning with Chadstone Shopping Centre. The post-war period also saw a major renewal of the CBD and St Kilda Road which significantly modernised the city. New fire regulations and redevelopment saw most of the taller pre-war CBD buildings either demolished or partially retained through a policy of facadism. Many of the larger suburban mansions from the boom era were also either demolished or subdivided.
To counter the trend towards low-density suburban residential growth, the government began a series of controversial 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. The Bolte government sought to rapidly accelerate the modernisation of 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 during 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 resulted in several ambitious investments in Melbourne, such as Nauru House. Melbourne remained Australia's main business and financial centre until the late 1970s, when it began to lose this primacy to Sydney.
As the centre of Australia's "rust belt", Melbourne experienced an economic downturn between 1989 and 1992, following the collapse of several local financial institutions. In 1992, the newly elected Kennett government began a campaign to revive the economy with an aggressive development campaign of public works coupled with the promotion of the city as a tourist destination with a focus on major events and sports tourism. During this period the Australian Grand Prix moved to Melbourne from Adelaide. Major projects included the construction of a new facility for the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Crown Casino and the CityLink tollway. Other strategies included the privatisation of some of Melbourne's services, including power and public transport, and a reduction in funding to public services such as health, education and public transport infrastructure.
Since the mid-1990s, Melbourne has maintained significant population and employment growth. There has been substantial international investment in the city's industries and property market. Major inner-city urban renewal has occurred in areas such as Southbank, Port Melbourne, Melbourne Docklands and more recently, South Wharf. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Melbourne sustained the highest population increase and economic growth rate of any Australian capital city in the three years ended June 2004. These factors have led to population growth and further suburban expansion through the 2000s.
From 2006, the growth of the city extended into "green wedges" and beyond the city's urban growth boundary. Predictions of the city's population reaching 5 million people pushed the state government to review the growth boundary in 2008 as part of its Melbourne @ Five Million strategy. In 2009, Melbourne was less affected by the late-2000s financial crisis in comparison to other Australian cities. At this time, more new jobs were created in Melbourne than any other Australian city—almost as many as the next two fastest growing cities, Brisbane and Perth, combined, and Melbourne's property market remained highly priced, resulting in historically high property prices and widespread rent increases.
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 River towards the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong 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 reaches 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 south west of the CBD. The Little River, and the township of the same name, marks the border between Melbourne and neighbouring Geelong city.
Melbourne's major bayside beaches are located in the various suburbs along the shores of Port Phillip Bay, in areas like Port Melbourne, Albert Park, St Kilda, Elwood, Brighton, Sandringham, Mentone, Frankston, Altona, Williamstown and Werribee South. 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 temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) with warm summers and cool winters. 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 cool 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. Winters, on the other hand, are usually very stable, but rather damp and often cloudy.
Port Phillip is often warmer than the surrounding oceans and/or the land mass, particularly in spring and autumn; this can set up a "bay effect" similar to the "lake effect" seen in colder climates where showers are intensified leeward of the bay. Relatively narrow streams of heavy showers can often affect the same places (usually the eastern suburbs) for an extended period, while the rest of Melbourne and surrounds stays dry. Overall, Melbourne is, owing to the rain shadow of the Otway Ranges, nonetheless drier than average for southern Victoria. Within the city and surrounds, however, rainfall varies widely, from around 425 millimetres (17 in) at Little River to 1,250 millimetres (49 in) on the eastern fringe at Gembrook. Melbourne receives 48.6 clear days annually. Dewpoint temperatures in the summer range from 9.5 °C (49.1 °F) to 11.7 °C (53.1 °F).
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 they pass through very quickly at times with a rapid clearing trend to sunny and relatively calm weather and the temperature rising back to what it was before the shower. This often occurs in the space of minutes and can be repeated many times in a day, giving Melbourne a reputation for having "four seasons in one day", a phrase that is part of local popular culture and familiar to many visitors to the city. The lowest temperature on record is −2.8 °C (27.0 °F), on 21 July 1869. The highest temperature recorded in Melbourne city was 46.4 °C (115.5 °F), on 7 February 2009. While snow is occasionally seen at higher elevations in the outskirts of the city, it has not been recorded in the Central Business District since 1986.
|Climate data for Melbourne Regional Office|
|Record high °C (°F)||45.6
|Average high °C (°F)||26.3
|Average low °C (°F)||15.6
|Record low °C (°F)||5.5
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||45.1
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||8.7||6.6||9.3||10.5||12.2||13.5||14.4||15.3||14.0||13.3||11.3||10.0||139.1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||47||47||49||51||58||62||60||54||51||48||48||47||52|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||266.6||228.8||223.2||186.0||142.6||120.0||136.4||164.3||183.0||223.2||225.0||263.5||2,362.6|
|Source 1: Bureau of Meteorology 1981-2010 averages, records 1855-2016|
|Source 2: Sunshine hours taken from Melbourne Airport, 1999-2016|
Environment and pollution
Melbourne's air quality is generally good and has improved significantly since the 1980s. Like many urban environments, the city faces significant environmental issues, many of them relating to the city's large urban footprint and urban sprawl and the demand for infrastructure and services. One such issue is the impact of drought on water supply. Periodic droughts and consistently high summer temperatures deplete Melbourne water supplies, and climate change may exacerbate the long-term impact of these factors on Melbourne's water supplies. During the Millennium drought, the Bracks Government implemented water restrictions and a range of other options including water recycling, incentives for household water tanks, greywater systems, water consumption awareness initiatives, and other water saving and reuse initiatives. However, as water storages continued to fall further measures were required; in June 2007 the Bracks Government announced the construction of the $3.1 billion Wonthaggi desalination plant, and the so-called North-South Pipeline from the Goulburn Valley in Victoria's north to Melbourne. Neither project was used extensively before the drought broke during 2010, and therefore both have been criticised as 'white elephants'.
In response to attribution of recent climate change, the City of Melbourne, in 2002, set a target to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2020 and Moreland City Council established the Zero Moreland program, however not all metropolitan municipalities have followed, with the City of Glen Eira notably deciding in 2009 not to become carbon neutral. Melbourne has one of the largest urban footprints in the world due to its low density housing, resulting in a vast suburban sprawl, with a high level of car dependence and minimal public transport outside of inner areas. Much of the vegetation within the city are non-native species, most of European origin, and in many cases plays host to invasive species and noxious weeds. Significant introduced urban pests include the common myna, feral pigeon, brown rat, European wasp, common starling and red fox. Many outlying suburbs, particularly towards the Yarra Valley and the hills to the north-east and east, have gone for extended periods without regenerative fires leading to a lack of saplings and undergrowth in urbanised native bushland. The Department of Sustainability and Environment partially addresses this problem by regularly burning off. Several national parks have been designated around the urban area of Melbourne, including the Mornington Peninsula National Park, Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park and Point Nepean National Park in the south east, Organ Pipes National Park to the north and Dandenong Ranges National Park to the east. There are also a number of significant state parks just outside Melbourne. Responsibility for regulating pollution falls under the jurisdiction of the EPA Victoria and several local councils. Air pollution, by world standards, is classified as being good. Summer and autumn are the worst times of year for atmospheric haze in the urban area.
Another recent environmental issue in Melbourne was the Victorian government project of channel deepening Melbourne Ports by dredging Port Phillip Bay—the Port Phillip Channel Deepening Project. It was subject to controversy and strict regulations among fears that beaches and marine wildlife could be affected by the disturbance of heavy metals and other industrial sediments. Other major pollution problems in Melbourne include levels of bacteria including E. coli in the Yarra River and its tributaries caused by septic systems, as well as litter. Up to 350,000 cigarette butts enter the storm water runoff every day. Several programs are being implemented to minimise beach and river pollution. In February 2010, The Transition Decade, an initiative to transition human society, economics and environment towards sustainability, was launched in Melbourne.
Melbourne is an international cultural centre, with cultural endeavours spanning major events and festivals, drama, musicals, comedy, music, art, architecture, literature, film and television. The climate, waterfront location and nightlife make it one of the most vibrant destinations in Australia. For five years in a row (as of 2015[update]) it has held the top position in a survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit of the world's most liveable cities on the basis of a number of attributes which include its broad cultural offerings. The city celebrates a wide variety of annual cultural events and festivals of all types, including Australia's largest free community festival—Moomba, the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The culture of the city is an important drawcard for tourists, of which just under two million international overnight visitors and 57.7 million domestic overnight visited during the year ending March 2014.
Melbourne's rich and diverse literary history was recognised in 2008 when it became the second UNESCO City of Literature. The State Library of Victoria is one of Australia's oldest cultural institutions and one of many public and university libraries across the city. Melbourne also has Australia's widest range of bookstores, as well the nation's largest publishing sector. The city is home to significant writers' festivals, most notably the Melbourne Writers Festival. Several major literary prizes are open to local writers including the Melbourne Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. Significant novels set in Melbourne include Fergus Hume's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, Helen Garner's Monkey Grip and Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap. Notable writers and poets from Melbourne include Thomas Browne, C. J. Dennis, Germaine Greer and Peter Carey.
Established in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria is Australia's oldest public art museum. The Heidelberg School, also known as Australian Impressionism, grew out of Melbourne's rural suburbs in the 1880s. The city is also home to the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Melbourne is regarded as one of the world's major street art centres; readers of Lonely Planet voted the city's street art and laneways as Australia's most popular cultural attraction.
Melbourne's live performance institutions date from the foundation of the city, with the first theatre, the Pavilion, opening in 1841. The city's East End Theatre District includes theatres that similarly date from the 1850s to the 1920s, including the Princess Theatre, Regent Theatre, Her Majesty's Theatre, Forum Theatre, Comedy Theatre, and the Athenaeum Theatre. The Melbourne Arts Precinct in Southbank is home to Arts Centre Melbourne, which includes the State Theatre, Hamer Hall, the Playhouse and the Fairfax Studio. The Melbourne Recital Centre and Southbank Theatre (principal home of the MTC, which includes the Sumner and Lawler performance spaces) are also located in Southbank. The Sidney Myer Music Bowl, which dates from 1955, is located in the gardens of Kings Domain; and the Palais Theatre is a feature of the St Kilda Beach foreshore.
The national ballet company, the Australian Ballet is based in Melbourne, as are the state based companies, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), and the Victorian Opera. Melbourne is also the second home of the national Opera Australia after it merged with the defunct Victoria State Opera in 1996.
The Story of the Kelly Gang, the world's first feature film, was shot in Melbourne in 1906. Melbourne filmmakers continued to produce bushranger films until they were banned by Victorian politicians in 1912 for the perceived promotion of crime, thus contributing to the decline of one of the silent film era's most productive industries. A notable film shot and set in Melbourne during Australia's cinematic lull is On the Beach (1959). The 1970s saw the rise of the Australian New Wave and its Ozploitation offshoot, instigated by Melbourne-based productions Stork and Alvin Purple. Picnic at Hanging Rock and Mad Max, both shot in and around Melbourne, achieved worldwide acclaim. 2004 saw the construction of Melbourne's largest film and television studio complex, Docklands Studios Melbourne, which has hosted many domestic productions, as well as international features. Melbourne is also home to the headquarters of Village Roadshow Pictures, Australia's largest film production company. Famous modern day actors from Melbourne include Cate Blanchett, Rachel Griffiths, Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush and Eric Bana.
As of 2013[update], Melbourne is home to at least 460 music venues, and its live music industry contributes A$1 billion per annum to the Victorian economy. Bands and musicians that have emerged from the Melbourne music scene include Clare Bowditch, Adalita, Vika & Linda Bull, Emma Donovan, The Wolfgramm Sisters, Kimbra, Kate Ceberano, Kylie Auldist, Missy Higgins, Deborah Conway, Ruby Hunter, Kylie Minogue, Tina Arena, Courtney Barnett, Marcie Jones, Meg Mac, Pikelet, Jen Cloher, Paul Kelly, Gotye, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Hiatus Kaiyote, Crowded House, TISM, The Living End, Augie March, Men at Work and The Temper Trap. Melbourne was named as a top music city in the world by IFPI.com in a white paper it released in conjunction with Music Canada.
The city is recognised for its mix of modern architecture which intersects with an extensive range of nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings. Some of the most architecturally noteworthy historic buildings include the World Heritage Site-listed Royal Exhibition Building, constructed over a two-year period for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880, A.C. Goode House, a Neo Gothic building located on Collins Street designed by Wright, Reed & Beaver (1891), William Pitt's Venetian Gothic style Old Stock Exchange (1888), William Wardell's Gothic Bank (1883) which features some of Melbourne's finest interiors, the incomplete Parliament House, St Paul's Cathedral (1891) and Flinders Street Station (1909), which was the busiest commuter railway station in the world in the mid-1920s.
The city also features the Shrine of Remembrance, which was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. The now demolished Queen Anne style APA Australian Building (1889), the world's 3rd tallest building at the time of completion, is said to have anticipated the skyscraper race in New York City and Chicago.
In 2012, the city contained a total of 594 high-rise buildings, with 8 under construction, 71 planned and 39 at proposal stage making the city's skyline the second largest in Australia. The CBD is dominated by modern office buildings including the Rialto Towers (1986), built on the site of several grand classical Victorian buildings, two of which — the Rialto Building (1889) designed by William Pitt and the Winfield Building (1890) designed by Charles D'Ebro and Richard Speight — still remain today and more recently high-rise apartment buildings including Eureka Tower (2006), which is listed as the 13th tallest residential building in the world in January 2014.
Residential architecture is not defined by a single architectural style, but rather an eclectic mix of houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartment buildings in the metropolitan area (particularly in areas of urban sprawl). Free standing dwellings with relatively large gardens are perhaps the most common type of housing outside inner city Melbourne. Victorian terrace housing, townhouses and historic Italianate, Tudor revival and Neo-Georgian mansions are all common in neighbourhoods such as Toorak.
As of June 2020, the population of the Melbourne metropolitan area was 5,159,211. This marks an increase of 80,088 from the previous year.
Although Victoria's net interstate migration has fluctuated, the population of the Melbourne statistical division has grown by about 70,000 people a year since 2005. Melbourne has now attracted the largest proportion of international overseas immigrants (48,000) finding it outpacing Sydney's international migrant intake on percentage, along with having strong interstate migration from Sydney and other capitals due to more affordable housing and cost of living.
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. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Melbourne was on track to overtake Sydney in population by 2028. The ABS has projected in two scenarios that Sydney will remain larger than Melbourne beyond 2056, albeit by a margin of less than 3% compared to a margin of 12% today.
After a trend of declining population density since World War II, the city has seen increased density in the inner and western suburbs, aided in part by Victorian Government planning, such as Postcode 3000 and Melbourne 2030, which have aimed to curtail urban sprawl. As of 2018, the CBD is the most densely populated area in Australia with more than 19,000 residents per square kilometre, and the inner city suburbs of Carlton, South Yarra, Fitzroy and Collingwood make up Victoria's top five.
Ancestry and immigration
At the 2016 census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:
Melbourne has the 10th largest immigrant population among world metropolitan areas. In Greater Melbourne at the 2016 census, 63.3% of residents were born in Australia. The other most common countries of birth were India (3.6%), Mainland China (3.5%), England (3%), Vietnam (1.8%) and New Zealand (1.8%).
As of the 2016 census, 62% of Melburnians speak only English at home. Mandarin (4.1%), Greek (2.4%), Italian (2.3%), Vietnamese (2.3%), and Cantonese (1.7%) were the most common foreign languages spoken at home by residents of Melbourne as of 2016.
Melbourne has a wide range of religious faiths, the most widely held of which is Christianity. This 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. In recent years, Greater Melbourne's irreligious community has grown to be one of the largest in Australia.
According to the 2016 Census, the largest responses on religious belief in Melbourne were no religion (31.9%), Catholic (23.4%), none stated (9.1%), Anglican (7.6%), Eastern Orthodox (4.3%), Islam (4.2%), Buddhism (3.8%), Hinduism (2.9%), Uniting Church (2.3%), Presbyterian and Reformed (1.6%), Baptist (1.3%), Sikhism (1.2%) and Judaism (0.9%).
Over 180,000 Muslims live in Melbourne. Muslim religious life in Melbourne is centred on more than 25 mosques and a large number of prayer rooms at university campuses, workplaces and other venues.
As of 2000[update], Melbourne had the largest population of Polish Jews in Australia. The city was also home to the largest number of Holocaust survivors of any Australian city, indeed the highest per capita outside Israel itself. Reflecting this vibrant 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 has a wide range of religious faiths, the most widely held of which is Christianity. This 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.
According to the 2011 Census, the largest responses on religious belief in Melbourne were Roman Catholic (27.2%), no religion (23.5%), Anglican (10.8%), Eastern Orthodox (5.5%), Buddhist (4.0%), Muslim (3.5%), Jewish (2.5%) and Hindu (2.0%).
Nearly 150,000 Muslims live in Melbourne. Muslim religious life in Melbourne is centred on more than 25 mosques and a large number of prayer rooms at university campuses, workplaces and other venues.
As of 2000[update], Melbourne had the largest population of Polish Jews in Australia. The city was also home to the largest number of Holocaust survivors of any Australian city, indeed the highest per capita 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 has six international sister cities. According to the City of Melbourne council, "the city as a whole has been nourished by their influence, which extends from educational, cultural and sporting exchanges to unparalleled business networking opportunities." The recognised cities are:
Melbourne has a highly diversified economy with particular strengths in finance, manufacturing, research, IT, education, logistics, transportation and tourism. Melbourne houses the headquarters of many of Australia's largest corporations, including five of the ten largest in the country (based on revenue), and five of the largest seven in the country (based on market capitalisation) ANZ, BHP, the National Australia Bank, CSL and Telstra, as well as such representative bodies and think tanks as the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Melbourne's suburbs also have the head offices of Coles Group (owner of Coles Supermarkets) and Wesfarmers companies Bunnings, Target, K-Mart and Officeworks. The city is home to Australia's second busiest seaport, after Port Botany in Sydney. Melbourne Airport provides an entry point for national and international visitors, and is Australia's second busiest airport.
Melbourne is also an important financial centre. In the 2018 Global Financial Centres Index, Melbourne was ranked as having the 15th most competitive financial centre in the world. Two of the big four banks, the ANZ and National Australia Bank, are headquartered in Melbourne. The city has carved out a niche as Australia's leading centre for superannuation (pension) funds, with 40% of the total, and 65% of industry super-funds including the AU$109 billion-dollar Federal Government Future Fund. The city was rated 41st within the top 50 financial cities as surveyed by the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index (2008), second only to Sydney (12th) in Australia. Melbourne is Australia's second-largest industrial centre.
It is the Australian base for a number of significant manufacturers including Boeing Australia, truck-makers Kenworth and Iveco, Cadbury as well as Alstom and Jayco, among many others. It is also home to a wide variety of other manufacturers, ranging from petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals to fashion garments, paper manufacturing and food processing. The south-eastern suburb of Scoresby is home to Nintendo's Australian headquarters. The city also has a research and development hub for Ford Australia, as well as a global design studio and technical centre for General Motors and Toyota Australia respectively.
CSL, one of the world's top five biotech companies, and Sigma Pharmaceuticals have their headquarters in Melbourne. The two are the largest listed Australian pharmaceutical companies. Melbourne has an important ICT industry that employs over 60,000 people (one third of Australia's ICT workforce), with a turnover of AU$19.8 billion and export revenues of AU615 million. In addition, tourism also plays an important role in Melbourne's economy, with about 7.6 million domestic visitors and 1.88 million international visitors in 2004. Melbourne has been attracting an increasing share of domestic and international conference markets. Construction began in February 2006 of an AU$1 billion 5000-seat international convention centre, Hilton Hotel and commercial precinct adjacent to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre to link development along the Yarra River with the Southbank precinct and multibillion-dollar Docklands redevelopment.
The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Melbourne as the fourth most expensive city in the world to live in according to its worldwide cost of living index in 2013.
Melbourne is the second most visited city in Australia and the seventy-third most visited city in the world. In 2018, 10.8 million domestic overnight tourists and 2.9 million international overnight tourists visited Melbourne. The most visited attractions are Federation Square, Queen Victoria Market, Crown Casino, Southbank, Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne Aquarium, Docklands, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Observation Deck, Arts Centre Melbourne, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Luna Park, a theme park modelled on New York's Coney Island and Seattle's Luna Park, is also a popular destination for visitors. In its annual survey of readers, the Condé Nast Traveler magazine found that both Melbourne and Auckland were considered the world's friendliest cities in 2014. The magazine highlighted the connection the city inhabitants have to public art and the many parks across the city. Its high liveability rankings make it one of the safest world cities for travellers.
Some of Australia's most prominent and well-known schools are based in Melbourne. Of the top twenty high schools in Australia according to the My Choice Schools Ranking, five are in Melbourne. There has also been a rapid increase in the number of International students studying in the city. Furthermore, Melbourne was ranked the world's fourth top university city in 2008 after London, Boston and Tokyo in a poll commissioned by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Eight public universities operate in Melbourne: the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology, Deakin University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University), La Trobe University, Australian Catholic University (ACU) and Victoria University (VU).
Melbourne universities have campuses all over Australia and some internationally. Swinburne University and Monash University have campuses in Malaysia, while Monash has a research centre based in Prato, Italy. The University of Melbourne, the second oldest university in Australia, was ranked first among Australian universities in the 2016 THES international rankings. In 2018 Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the University of Melbourne the 32nd best university in the world which is higher than the rankings in 2016 and 2017, Monash University was ranked 80th best. Both are members of the Group of Eight, a coalition of leading Australian tertiary institutions offering comprehensive and leading education.
As of 2017 RMIT University is ranked 17th in the world in art & design, and 28th in architecture. The Swinburne University of Technology, based in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn, was as of 2014 ranked 76th–100th in the world for physics by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Deakin University maintains two major campuses in Melbourne and Geelong, and is the third largest university in Victoria. 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 for them. Education in Melbourne is overseen by the Victorian Department of Education (DET), whose role is to 'provide policy and planning advice for the delivery of education'.
In 2012, Mercer Consulting ranked Melbourne's infrastructure 34th in the world, behind Sydney (ranked 8th in the world), and Perth (ranked 25th in the world) .
Like many Australian cities, Melbourne has a high dependency on the automobile for transport, particularly in the outer suburban areas where the largest number of cars are bought, with a total of 3.6 million private vehicles using 22,320 km (13,870 mi) of road, and one of the highest lengths of road per capita in the world. The early 20th century saw an increase in popularity of automobiles, resulting in large-scale suburban expansion and a tendency towards the development of urban sprawl–like all Australian cities, inhabitants would live in the suburbs and commute to the city for work. By the mid 1950s there was just under 200 passenger vehicles per 1000 people, and by 2013 there was 600 passenger vehicles per 1000 people. Today it has an extensive network of freeways and arterial roadways used by private vehicles including freight as well as public transport systems including buses and taxis. Major highways feeding into the city include the Eastern Freeway, Monash Freeway and West Gate Freeway (which spans the large West Gate Bridge), whilst other freeways circumnavigate the city or lead to other major cities, including CityLink (which spans the large Bolte Bridge), Eastlink, the Western Ring Road, Calder Freeway, Tullamarine Freeway (main airport link) and the Hume Freeway which links Melbourne and Sydney.
Melbourne has an integrated public transport system based around extensive train, tram, bus and taxi systems. 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. From the 1940s, public transport use in Melbourne declined due to a rapid expansion of the road and freeway network, with the largest declines in tram and bus usage. This decline quickened in the early 1990s due to large public transport service cuts. The operations of Melbourne's public transport system was privatised in 1999 through a franchising model, with operational responsibilities for the train, tram and bus networks licensed to private companies. After 1996 there was a rapid increase in public transport patronage due to growth in employment in central Melbourne, with the mode share for commuters increasing to 14.8% and 8.4% of all trips. A target of 20% public transport mode share for Melbourne by 2020 was set by the state government in 2006. Since 2006 public transport patronage has grown by over 20%.
The Melbourne rail network dates back to the 1850s gold rush era, and today consists of 218 suburban stations on 16 lines which radiate from the City Loop, a mostly-underground subway system around the CBD. Flinders Street station, Australia's busiest rail hub, serves the entire network, and remains a prominent Melbourne landmark and meeting place. The city has rail connections with regional Victorian cities, as well as direct interstate rail services which depart from Melbourne's other major rail terminus, Southern Cross station, in Docklands. The Overland to Adelaide departs twice a week, while the XPT to Sydney departs twice daily. In the 2017–2018 financial year, the Melbourne rail network recorded 240.9 million passenger trips, the highest ridership in its history. Many rail lines, along with dedicated lines and rail yards, are also used for freight.
Melbourne's tram network dates from the 1880s land boom and, as of 2021, consists of 250 km (155.3 mi) of double track, 475 trams, 25 routes, and 1,763 tram stops, making it the largest in the world. In 2017–2018, 206.3 million passenger trips were made by tram. Around 75 per cent of Melbourne's tram network shares road space with other vehicles, while the rest of the network is separated or are light rail routes. Melbourne's trams are recognised as iconic cultural assets and a tourist attraction. Heritage trams operate on the free City Circle route, intended for visitors to Melbourne, and heritage restaurant trams travel through the city and surrounding areas during the evening. Melbourne's bus network consists of almost 300 routes which mainly service the outer suburbs and fill the gaps in the network between rail and tram services. 127.6 million passenger trips were recorded on Melbourne's buses in 2013–2014, an increase of 10.2 percent on the previous year.
Ship transport is an important component of Melbourne's transport system. The Port of Melbourne is Australia's largest container and general cargo port and also its busiest. The port handled two million shipping containers in a 12-month period during 2007, making it one of the top five ports in the Southern Hemisphere. Station Pier on Port Phillip Bay is the main passenger ship terminal with cruise ships and the Spirit of Tasmania ferries which cross Bass Strait to Devonport, Tasmania docking there. Ferries and water taxis run from berths along the Yarra River as far upstream as South Yarra and across Port Phillip Bay.
Melbourne has four airports. Melbourne Airport, at Tullamarine, is the city's main international and domestic gateway and second busiest in Australia. The airport, which comprises four terminals, is home base for passenger airline Jetstar and cargo airlines Australian airExpress and Toll Priority, and is a major hub for Qantas and Virgin Australia. Avalon Airport, located between Melbourne and Geelong, is a secondary hub of Jetstar. It is also used as a freight and maintenance facility. Buses and taxis are the only forms of public transport to and from the city's main airports. Air Ambulance facilities are available for domestic and international transportation of patients. Melbourne also has a significant general aviation airport, Moorabbin Airport in the city's southeast that also handles a small number of passenger flights. Essendon Airport, which was once the city's main airport also handles passenger flights, general aviation and some cargo flights.
The city also has a bicycle sharing system that was established in 2010 and uses a network of marked road lanes and segregated cycle facilities.
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 as well as the Wonthaggi desalination plant and North–South Pipeline. Water is stored in a series of reservoirs located within and outside the Greater Melbourne area. The largest dam, the Thomson River Dam, located in the Victorian Alps, is capable of holding around 60% of Melbourne's water capacity, while smaller dams such as the Upper Yarra Dam, Yan Yean Reservoir, and the Cardinia Reservoir carry secondary supplies.
Gas is provided by three distribution companies:
- AusNet Services, which provides gas from Melbourne's inner western suburbs to southwestern Victoria.
- Multinet Gas, which provides gas from Melbourne's inner eastern suburbs to eastern Victoria. (owned by SP AusNet after acquisition, but continuing to trade under the brand name Multinet Gas)
- Australian Gas Networks, which provides gas from Melbourne's inner northern suburbs to northern Victoria, as well as the majority of southeastern Victoria.
Electricity is provided by five distribution companies:
- Citipower, which provides power to Melbourne's CBD, and some inner suburbs
- Powercor, which provides power to the outer western suburbs, as well as all of western Victoria (Citipower and Powercor are owned by the same entity)
- Jemena, which provides power to the northern and inner western suburbs
- United Energy, which provides power to the inner eastern and southeastern suburbs, and the Mornington Peninsula
- AusNet Services, which provides power to the outer eastern suburbs and all of the north and east of Victoria.
Numerous telecommunications companies provide Melbourne with terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services and wireless internet services and at least since 2016 Melbourne offers a free public WiFi which allows for up to 250 MB per device in some areas of the city.
Images for kids
A large crowd outside the Victorian Supreme Court, celebrating the release of the Eureka rebels in 1855
Melbourne's CBD as viewed from above the Shrine of Remembrance, with Southbank and the Hoddle Grid visible.
"Melbourne Style" terrace houses are common in the inner suburbs and have undergone gentrification.
Known for its bars, street art and coffee culture, the inner city's network of laneways and arcades is a popular cultural attraction.
Parliament House with W-Class heritage tram in foreground.
An X'Trapolis 100 train crosses an E-class tram in the Melbourne CBD. The city's tram network consists of 475 trams and is the largest in the world.
In Spanish: Melbourne para niños
Melbourne Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.