Read about the city
Melbourne is the capital and the largest city in the state of Victoria. The urban area today has around 5 million inhabitants and Melbourne has thereby experienced significant growth since its founding in 1835, when settlers from Tasmania came here.
Many of Australia's famous institutions and buildings can be seen in Melbourne. You can see the exhibition building Royal Exhibition Building, which is on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Another place is famous the railway station on Flinders Street and visit the National Gallery of Victoria as well.
Melbourne's famous trams drive on a loop and other lines in the city where there are many different activities to enjoy. The nightlife thrives on the banks of the Yarra River, and once a year watch grand slam tennis when the Australia Open is played in town.
The surrounding area of Melbourne is beautiful with plenty of opportunities. A drive on Great Ocean Road is unforgettable and the famous penguins on Phillip Island are highly worth the trip. You can also take the ferry to Tasmania from the capital of Victoria.
- The Block Arcade: In Melbourne there are a number of beautiful historic retail arcades, of which the 1892 Block Arcade is the most beautiful. The place is still full of shops.
- Melbourne Observation Deck: Melbourne Observation Deck is one of the city's best viewing points. It is located on the 55th floor of the Rialto Towers, built as the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Melbourne Museum: At this museum there is a large and interesting collection describing Australia's flora, fauna and culture. The museum also has a special exhibition on the history of Melbourne.
- Flinders Street Station: Melbourne's railway station in Flinders Street is the oldest of Australia's major station buildings. Built in a lavish palace style, the railway station is one of Australia's busiest.
- Melbourne Park and Olympic Park: This is the city's largest area for sports matches, concerts, etc. For example, it is where the Australian Open is played in tennis, and this is where the central parts of the Olympic Games were held in 1956.
- St. Paul's Cathedral: St. Paul's is Melbourne's Anglican Cathedral. The building was inaugurated in 1891, and it was the tallest building in Melbourne at the time, so it naturally dominated the city skyline.
- River Boat Tour: A boat trip on the Yarra River is a wonderful experience. The river flows through some of Melbourne's many green areas, the modern downtown neighborhoods and on to the newly developed area, Docklands.
- National Gallery of Victoria: The State Gallery of Victoria has been exhibiting works of art for the citizens of Melbourne since 1861. This is the museum's primary exhibition building, featuring international art by Monet, Magritte, Rembrandt and many more.
- Royal Botanic Gardens: Melbourne's royal botanical gardens is considered to be one of the most beautifully landscaped in the world, and it is also the impression you get on a tour of the garden's wealth of various plants, large lawns and beautiful lakes.
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The city founded
The Melbourne area, like the rest of Australia, has been inhabited for a long time by the country's indigenous population, the Aborigines.
The European presence in the area of present-day Melbourne began with George Bass' exploration at sea in 1797, and three years later James Grant also sailed around the south-east Australian coasts. In 1801, Captain John Murray was the first to enter Port Phillip Bay, and two years later the entire bay was explored by Charles Robbins and Charles Grimes. On that occasion, they also sailed up the Yarra River, bringing them to the area that now forms Melbourne's central neighborhoods.
1803 was also the year in which the first European settlement was established. It happened at the current Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. However, the place was evacuated after a short time, and it was not until 1834 before the next settlement took place in Victoria and it was at Portland.
In 1835, Australian farmer and businessman John Batman sailed from Tasmania to the mouth of the Yarra River, where he purchased 2,430 km²/938 sq mi of land from the Aborigines. Along with British John Pascoe Fawkner, Batman founded Melbourne, named after British Prime Minister William Lamb, who had the title 2nd Viscount Melbourne.
The First Town Plan
In 1837 Robert Hoddle established a town plan, he constructed the new city according to a rigorous pattern with carefully measured and perpendicular streets. Governor Gipp's idea for this was to get ready and sell land for construction as soon as possible. A curiosity of the town plan is the missing squares, which were left out according to Gipp's order. He believed squares could be used to gatherings and thus promote democratic thoughts.
The following years went by quickly. Land sales were repeatedly made in the city, and in 1838 the port was opened, which started a substantial immigration. Within the next decade, several public institutions were established, including a hospital. In 1836, about 200 people lived here, while the numbers reached 25,000 in 1850.
The colony of Victoria and gold fever
1851 became a landmark year for Melbourne. With the city as the central part, Victoria was separated from New South Wales, thereby becoming an independent colony. Immediately after, gold was found in Ballarat west of Melbourne, triggering a colossal gold fever and rush to the area.
The gold fever led to explosive growth in immigration, and after a few years of migration more than 250,000 people lived here. During this time, a third of the world's gold was mined in the state of Victoria.
The development came with the population and prosperity of not least the gold finds. Gasworks opened in 1852 and two years later the first Flinders Street railroad station was constructed. University, state library, telegraph and a town hall were just some of the many state buildings built in the 1850s.
Melbourne also expanded greatly in the cultural field. The city's museum was founded in 1855, and six years later the first horse race, the Melbourne Cup, was held. That same year, the city set the frame for the state of Victoria's major exhibition.
The last decades of the 19th century continued as an almost unbroken period of growth. The population increased, and new large public and private buildings were constantly being built. In 1885 the first tram line was launched and today Melbourne is known for its many trams. In the period, Melbourne was the industrial and economic center, and it is the place for the leading political administration of the Australian colonies.
Australia is founded
The new nation, the Commonwealth of Australia, was established in 1901 with the accession of all the Australian states. Both Sydney, which had grown strongly and enjoyed increasing commercial success and population growth, and Melbourne claimed to become the country's capital. As a compromise, Canberra was chosen, which is between the two major cities. New government buildings were to be constructed in Canberra, and until Parliament was ready in 1927, Melbourne was the working capital.
The first half of the 20th century was a tougher time than before for the city and the country. The state sent more than 100,000 soldiers into combat in World War I, and the economic depression era followed, which was again followed by World War II, when Australian soldiers once again came in combat in large numbers.
After the end of World War II, a new wave of immigration hit Melbourne. In the 1950s and 1960s many Greeks and Italians came to the city in particular, and they continue to make their mark on Melbourne. In addition to internationalization with major immigration, Melbourne also came into focus when the Olympic Games were held here in 1956.
From the 1970s many Asians arrived to Melbourne, and in recent years especially people from North Africa have settled in the now very international city, which has a population of 3.5 million.
In the late 1900s, work began on transforming the old and slightly run-down port areas, Docklands, into a modern and exciting environment with activities and a variety of dining and shopping options. Modern high-rise buildings were also built several places in the city, including along the Yarra River. Today, these are just some of many lovely places in Melbourne's open and bustling neighborhoods.
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