Quick facts for kidsVictoria
|Slogan or nickname||The Garden State
The Place to Be
The Education State
|Motto(s)||Peace and Prosperity|
Other Australian states and territories
|• Governor||Linda Dessau|
|• Premier||Daniel Andrews (ALP)|
|• Colony established||1851|
| • Responsible
|• Australia Act||3 March 1986|
|• Total||237,639 km² (6th)
91,753 sq mi
|• Land||227,420 km²
87,807 sq mi
|• Water||10,213 km² (4.3%)
3,943 sq mi
|• Population||6,039,100 (2nd)|
|• Density||26.55/km² (2nd)
68.8 /sq mi
|• Highest point||Mount Bogong
1,986 m (6,516 ft)
|Gross state product
|• Product ($m)||$370,504 (2nd)|
|• Product per capita||$54,774 (6th)|
|Time zone(s)||UTC+10 (AEST)
|• House seats||37/150|
|• Senate seats||12/76|
|• ISO 3166-2||AU-VIC|
|• Floral||Pink heath|
|• Animal||Leadbeater's possum|
|• Bird||Helmeted honeyeater|
|• Fish||Weedy seadragon|
|• Mineral or gemstone||Gold|
|• Colours||Navy blue and silver|
Victoria (abbreviated as Vic) is a state in southeast Australia. Victoria is Australia's most densely populated state and its second-most populous state overall. Most of its population is concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Geographically the smallest state on the Australian mainland, Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.
Prior to British European settlement, the area now constituting Victoria was inhabited by a large number of Aboriginal peoples, collectively known as the Koori. With Great Britain having claimed the entire Australian continent east of the 135th meridian east in 1788, Victoria was included in the wider colony of New South Wales. The first settlement in the area occurred in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, and much of what is now Victoria was included in the Port Phillip District in 1836, an administrative division of New South Wales. Victoria was officially created as a separate colony in 1851, and achieved self-government in 1855. The Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and 1860s significantly increased both the population and wealth of the colony, and by the Federation of Australia in 1901, Melbourne had become the largest city and leading financial centre in Australasia. Melbourne also served as federal capital of Australia until the construction of Canberra in 1927, with the Federal Parliament meeting in Melbourne's Parliament House and all principal offices of the federal government being based in Melbourne.
Politically, Victoria has 37 seats in the Australian House of Representatives and 12 seats in the Australian Senate. At state level, the Parliament of Victoria consists of the Legislative Assembly (the lower house) and the Legislative Council (the upper house). Victoria is currently governed by the Labor Party, with Daniel Andrews the current Premier. The personal representative of the Queen of Australia in the state is the Governor of Victoria, currently Linda Dessau. Local government is concentrated in 79 municipal districts, including 33 cities, although a number of unincorporated areas still exist, which are administered directly by the state.
The economy of Victoria is highly diversified: service sectors including financial and property services, health, education, wholesale, retail, hospitality and manufacturing constitute the majority of employment. Victoria's total gross state product (GSP) is ranked second in Australia, although Victoria is ranked fourth in terms of GSP per capita because of its limited mining activity. Culturally, Melbourne is home to a number of museums, art galleries and theatres and is also described as the "sporting capital of Australia". The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the largest stadium in Australia, and the host of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The ground is also considered the "spiritual home" of Australian cricket and Australian rules football, and hosts the grand final of the Australian Football League (AFL) each year, drawing crowds of approximately 100,000. Victoria has eight public universities, with the oldest, the University of Melbourne, having been founded in 1853.
The state of Victoria was originally home to many Aboriginal Australian nations that had occupied the land for tens of thousands of years before European settlement. According to Gary Presland, Aboriginal people have lived in Victoria for about 40,000 years, living a semi-nomadic existence of fishing, hunting and gathering, and farming eels.
At the Keilor Archaeological Site a human hearth excavated in 1971 was radiocarbon-dated to about 31,000 years BP, making Keilor one of the earliest sites of human habitation in Australia. A cranium found at the site has been dated at between 12,000 and 14,700 years BP.
Archaeological sites in Tasmania and on the Bass Strait Islands have been dated to between 20,000 – 35,000 years ago, when sea levels were 130 metres below present level allowing Aborigines to move across the region of southern Victoria and on to the land bridge of the Bassian plain to Tasmania by at least 35,000 years ago.
During the Ice Age about 20,000 years BP, the area now the bay of Port Phillip would have been dry land, and the Yarra and Werribee river would have joined to flow through the heads then south and south west through the Bassian plain before meeting the ocean to the west. Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands became separated from mainland Australia around 12,000 BP, when the sea level was approximately 50m below present levels. Port Phillip was flooded by post-glacial rising sea levels between 8000 and 6000 years ago.
Oral history and creation stories from the Wada wurrung, Woiwurrung and Bun wurrung languages describe the flooding of the bay. Hobsons Bay was once a kangaroo hunting ground. Creation stories describe how Bunjil was responsible for the formation of the bay, or the bay was flooded when the Yarra river was created (Yarra Creation Story.)
After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788, Australia was divided into an eastern half named New South Wales and a western half named New Holland, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney. The first British settlement in the area later known as Victoria was established in October 1803 under Lieutenant-Governor David Collins at Sullivan Bay on Port Phillip. It consisted of 402 people (five government officials, nine officers of marines, two drummers, and 39 privates, five soldiers' wives and a child, 307 convicts, 17 convicts' wives, and seven children). They had been sent from England in HMS Calcutta under the command of Captain Daniel Woodriff, principally out of fear that the French, who had been exploring the area, might establish their own settlement and thereby challenge British rights to the continent.
In 1826, Colonel Stewart, Captain Samuel Wright, and Lieutenant Burchell were sent in HMS Fly (Captain Wetherall) and the brigs Dragon and Amity, took a number of convicts and a small force composed of detachments of the 3rd and 93rd regiments. The expedition landed at Settlement Point (now Corinella), on the eastern side of Western Port Bay, which was the headquarters until the abandonment of Western Port at the insistence of Governor Darling about 12 months afterwards.
Victoria's next settlement was at Portland, on the south west coast of what is now Victoria. Edward Henty settled Portland Bay in 1834.
Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman, who set up a base in Indented Head, and John Pascoe Fawkner. From settlement, the region around Melbourne was known as the Port Phillip District, a separately administered part of New South Wales. Shortly after, the site now known as Geelong was surveyed by Assistant Surveyor W. H. Smythe, three weeks after Melbourne. And in 1838, Geelong was officially declared a town, despite earlier European settlements dating back to 1826.
On 6 June 1835, just under two years before Melbourne was officially recognised as a settlement, John Batman, the leader of the Port Phillip Association presented Wurundjeri Elders with a land use agreement. This document, now referred to as the Batman treaty, was later given to the British government to claim that local Aboriginal people had given Batman access to their land in exchange for goods and rations. Today, the meaning and interpretation of this treaty is contested. Some argue it was pretence for taking Aboriginal land in exchange for trinkets, while others argue it was significant in that it sought to recognise Aboriginal land rights.
The exact location of the meeting between Batman and the Kulin Ngurungaeta (head clan-men) with whom he made the treaty is unknown, although it is believed to have been by the Merri Creek. According to historian Meyer Eidelson, it is generally believed to have occurred on the Merri near modern-day Rushall Station.
|British Crown Colony|
|• Type||Self-governing colony|
|Charles La Trobe (first)|
|Thomas Brassey (last)|
• independence from the New South Wales colony
On 1 July 1851, writs were issued for the election of the first Victorian Legislative Council, and the absolute independence of Victoria from New South Wales was established proclaiming a new Colony of Victoria. Days later, still in 1851 gold was discovered near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power. In 10 years, the population of Victoria increased sevenfold from 76,000 to 540,000. All sorts of gold records were produced, including the "richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world" and the largest gold nugget. In the decade 1851–1860 Victoria produced 20 million ounces of gold, one-third of the world's output.
Immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold, especially from Ireland and China. By 1857, 26,000 Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particularly strong in Bendigo and its environs.
In 1854 at Ballarat, an armed rebellion against the government of Victoria was made by miners protesting against mining taxes (the "Eureka Stockade"). This was crushed by British troops, but the confrontation persuaded the colonial authorities to reform the administration of mining concessions (reducing the hated mining licence fees) and extend the electoral franchise.The following year, the Imperial Parliament granted Victoria responsible government with the passage of the Colony of Victoria Act 1855. Some of the leaders of the Eureka rebellion went on to become members of the Victorian Parliament.
In 1857, reflecting the growing presence of Irish Catholic immigrants, John O'Shanassy became the colony's second Premier with the former Young Irelander, Charles Gavan Duffy as his deputy. Melbourne's Protestant establishment was ill-prepared "to countenance so startling a novelty". In 1858–59, Melbourne Punch cartoons linked Duffy and O'Shanassy to the terrors of the French Revolution.
In 1862 Duffy's Land Act attempted, but failed, through a system of extended pastoral licences, to break the land-holding monopoly of the so-called "squatter" class. In 1871, having led, on behalf of small farmers, opposition to Premier Sir James McCulloch's land tax, Duffy, himself, was briefly Premier.
In 1893 widespread bank failures brought to an end a sustained period of prosperity and of increasingly wild speculation in land and construction. Melbourne nonetheless retained, as the legacy of the gold rush, its status as Australia's primary financial centre and largest city.
estimates for Victoria
|Source: Dept of Planning and
The 2011 Australian census reported that Victoria had 5,354,042 people resident at the time of the census. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that the population may well reach 7.2 million by 2050.
Victoria's founding Anglo-Celtic population has been supplemented by successive waves of migrants from southern and eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and, most recently, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Victoria's population is ageing in proportion with the average of the remainder of the Australian population.
About 72% of Victorians are Australian-born. This figure falls to around 66% in Melbourne but rises to higher than 95% in some rural areas in the north west of the state. Around two-thirds of Victorians claim Scottish, English or Irish ancestry. Less than 1% of Victorians identify themselves as Aboriginal. The largest groups of people born outside Australia came from the British Isles, China, Italy, Vietnam, Greece and New Zealand.
More than 75% of Victorians live in Melbourne, located in the state's south. The greater Melbourne metropolitan area is home to an estimated 4.17 million people. Leading urban centres outside Melbourne include Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Warrnambool, Wodonga and the Latrobe Valley.
Victoria is Australia's most urbanised state: nearly 90% of residents living in cities and towns. State Government efforts to decentralise population have included an official campaign run since 2003 to encourage Victorians to settle in regional areas, however Melbourne continues to rapidly outpace these areas in terms of population growth.
Age structure and fertility
- See also: Birth rate and fertility rate in Australia
The government predicts that nearly a quarter of Victorians will be aged over 60 by 2021. The 2011 census reveals that Australian median age has crept upward from 35 to 37 since 2001, which reflects the population growth peak of 1969–72. In 2011, Victoria recorded a TFR of 1.88, the highest after 1978.
About 61.1% of Victorians describe themselves as Christian. Roman Catholics form the single largest religious group in the state with 26.7% of the Victorian population, followed by Anglicans and members of the Uniting Church. Buddhism is the state's largest non-Christian religion, with 168,637 members as of the most recent census. Victoria is also home of 152,775 Muslims and 45,150 Jews. Hinduism is the fastest growing religion. Around 20% of Victorians claim no religion. Amongst those who declare a religious affiliation, church attendance is low.
In 2012 the proportion of couples marrying in a church had dropped to 28.2%; the other 71.7% registered their marriage with a civil celebrant.
Geology and geography
Victoria's northern border follows a straight line from Cape Howe to the start of the Murray River and then follows the Murray River as the remainder of the northern border. On the Murray River, the border is the southern bank of the river. This precise definition was not established until 1980, when a ruling by Justice Ninian Stephen of the High Court of Australia settled the question as to which state had jurisdiction in the unlawful death of a man on an island in the middle of the river. The ruling clarified that no part of the watercourse is in Victoria. The border also rests at the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, which stretches along the east coast and terminates west of Ballarat. It is bordered by South Australia to the west and shares Australia's shortest land border with Tasmania. The official border between Victoria and Tasmania is at 39°12' S, which passes through Boundary Islet in the Bass Strait for 85 metres.
Victoria contains many topographically, geologically and climatically diverse areas, ranging from the wet, temperate climate of Gippsland in the southeast to the snow-covered Victorian alpine areas which rise to almost 2,000 m (6,600 ft), with Mount Bogong the highest peak at 1,986 m (6,516 ft). There are extensive semi-arid plains to the west and northwest. There is an extensive series of river systems in Victoria. Most notable is the Murray River system. Other rivers include: Ovens River, Goulburn River, Patterson River, King River, Campaspe River, Loddon River, Wimmera River, Elgin River, Barwon River, Thomson River, Snowy River, Latrobe River, Yarra River, Maribyrnong River, Mitta River, Hopkins River, Merri River and Kiewa River. The state symbols include the pink heath (state flower), Leadbeater's possum (state animal) and the helmeted honeyeater (state bird).
The state's capital, Melbourne, contains about 70% of the state's population and dominates its economy, media, and culture. For other cities and towns, see list of localities (Victoria) and local government areas of Victoria.
|Average monthly maximum
temperatures in Victoria
|January||25.8 (78)||32.8 (91)|
|February||25.8 (78)||32.7 (91)|
|March||23.8 (75)||29.3 (85)|
|April||20.2 (68)||24.1 (75)|
|May||16.6 (62)||19.6 (67)|
|June||14.0 (57)||16.0 (61)|
|July||13.4 (56)||15.4 (60)|
|August||14.9 (59)||17.7 (64)|
|September||17.2 (63)||21.1 (70)|
|October||19.6 (67)||25.0 (77)|
|November||21.8 (71)||29.0 (84)|
|December||24.1 (75)||31.7 (89)|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Victoria has a varied climate despite its small size. It ranges from semi-arid temperate with hot summers in the north-west, to temperate and cool along the coast. Victoria's main land feature, the Great Dividing Range, produces a cooler, mountain climate in the centre of the state. Winters along the coast of the state, particularly around Melbourne, are relatively mild (see chart at right).
Victoria's southernmost position on the Australian mainland means it is cooler and wetter than other mainland states and territories. The coastal plain south of the Great Dividing Range has Victoria's mildest climate. Air from the Southern Ocean helps reduce the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Melbourne and other large cities are located in this temperate region. The autumn months of April/May are mild and bring some of Australia's colourful foliage across many parts of the state.
The Mallee and upper Wimmera are Victoria's warmest regions with hot winds blowing from nearby semi-deserts. Average temperatures exceed 32 °C (90 °F) during summer and 15 °C (59 °F) in winter. Except at cool mountain elevations, the inland monthly temperatures are 2–7 °C (4–13 °F) warmer than around Melbourne (see chart). Victoria's highest maximum temperature since World War II, of 48.8 °C (119.8 °F) was recorded in Hopetoun on 7 February 2009, during the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave.
The Victorian Alps in the northeast are the coldest part of Victoria. The Alps are part of the Great Dividing Range mountain system extending east–west through the centre of Victoria. Average temperatures are less than 9 °C (48 °F) in winter and below 0 °C (32 °F) in the highest parts of the ranges. The state's lowest minimum temperature of −11.7 °C (10.9 °F) was recorded at Omeo on 13 June 1965, and again at Falls Creek on 3 July 1970. Temperature extremes for the state are listed in the table below:
|Climate data for Victoria|
|Record high °C (°F)||47.2
|Record low °C (°F)||-3.9
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Victoria is the wettest Australian state after Tasmania. Rainfall in Victoria increases from south to the northeast, with higher averages in areas of high altitude. Mean annual rainfall exceeds 1,800 millimetres (71 inches) in some parts of the northeast but is less than 280 mm (11 in) in the Mallee.
Rain is heaviest in the Otway Ranges and Gippsland in southern Victoria and in the mountainous northeast. Snow generally falls only in the mountains and hills in the centre of the state. Rain falls most frequently in winter, but summer precipitation is heavier. Rainfall is most reliable in Gippsland and the Western District, making them both leading farming areas. Victoria's highest recorded daily rainfall was 375 mm (14.8 in) at Tanybryn in the Otway Ranges on 22 March 1983.
- See also: Transport in Melbourne
Victoria has the highest population density in any state in Australia, with population centres spread out over most of the state; only the far northwest and the Victorian Alps lack permanent settlement.
The Victorian road network services the population centres, with highways generally radiating from Melbourne and other major cities and rural centres with secondary roads interconnecting the highways to each other. Many of the highways are built to freeway standard ("M" freeways), while most are generally sealed and of reasonable quality.
Rail transport in Victoria is provided by several private and public railway operators who operate over government-owned lines. Major operators include: Metro Trains Melbourne which runs an extensive, electrified, passenger system throughout Melbourne and suburbs; V/Line which is now owned by the Victorian Government, operates a concentrated service to major regional centres, as well as long distance services on other lines; Pacific National, CFCL Australia which operate freight services; Great Southern Rail which operates The Overland Melbourne—Adelaide; and NSW TrainLink which operates XPTs Melbourne—Sydney.
There are also several smaller freight operators and numerous tourist railways operating over lines which were once parts of a state-owned system. Victorian lines mainly use the 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) broad gauge. However, the interstate trunk routes, as well as a number of branch lines in the west of the state have been converted to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge. Two tourist railways operate over 760 mm (2 ft 6 in) narrow gauge lines, which are the remnants of five formerly government-owned lines which were built in mountainous areas.
Melbourne has the world's largest tram network, currently operated by Yarra Trams. As well as being a popular form of public transport, over the last few decades trams have become one of Melbourne's major tourist attractions. There are also tourist trams operating over portions of the former Ballarat and Bendigo systems. There are also tramway museums at Bylands and Haddon.
Melbourne Airport is the major domestic and international gateway for the state. Avalon Airport is the state's second busiest airport, which complements Essendon and Moorabbin Airports to see the remainder of Melbourne's air traffic. Hamilton Airport, Mildura Airport, Mount Hotham and Portland Airport are the remaining airports with scheduled domestic flights. There are no fewer than 27 other airports in the state with no scheduled flights.
The Port of Melbourne is the largest port for containerised and general cargo in Australia, and is located in Melbourne on the mouth of the Yarra River, which is at the head of Port Phillip. Additional seaports are at Westernport, Geelong, and Portland.
As of October 2013, smoking tobacco is prohibited in the sheltered areas of train stations, and tram and bus stops—between 2012 and 2013, 2002 people were issued with infringement notices. The state government announced a plan in October 2013 to prohibit smoking on all Victorian railway station platforms and raised tram stops.
Victoria's major utilities include a collection of brown-coal-fired power stations, particularly in the Latrobe Valley. One of these is Hazelwood Power Station, which is number 1 in the worldwide List of least carbon efficient power stations.
Victoria's water infrastructure includes a series of dams and reservoirs, predominantly in Central Victoria, that hold and collect water for much of the state. The water collected is of a very high quality and requires little chlorination treatment, giving the water a taste more like water collected in a rainwater tank. In regional areas however, such as in the west of the state, chlorination levels are much higher.
The Victorian Water Grid consists of a number of new connections and pipelines being built across the State. This allows water to be moved around Victoria to where it is needed most and reduces the impact of localised droughts in an era thought to be influenced by climate change. Major projects already completed as part of the Grid include the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline and the Goldfields Superpipe.
Images for kids
The University of Melbourne, ranked as one of the best universities in Australia and in the Southern Hemisphere, is Victoria's oldest university.
Victoria (Australia) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.