Melbourne

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Cities; Oceania (Australasia)

Melbourne
Victoria

Melbourne's Central Business District and Southbank
Population: 3,806,092  ( 2nd)
Density: 1566/km² (4,055.9/sq mi) (2006)
Established: 30 August 1835
Area: 8806 km² (3,400.0 sq mi)
Time zone:

 • Summer ( DST)

AEST ( UTC+10)

AEDT ( UTC+11)

Location:
LGA: various (31)
County: Bourke
State District: various (54)
Federal Division: various (23)
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Rainfall
19.8 °C
68 °F
10.2 °C
50 °F
646.9 mm
25.5 in

Melbourne (pronounced /ˈmelbən/) is the second most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 3.8 million (2007 estimate). Located around Port Phillip Bay in Australia's south-east, Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria. A person from Melbourne is called a Melburnian.

Melbourne is a major centre of commerce, industry and cultural activity. The city is often referred to as Australia's 'sporting and cultural capital' and it is home to many of the nation's most significant cultural and sporting events and institutions. It has been recognised as a gamma world city by the Loughborough University group's 1999 inventory. Melbourne is notable for its mix of Victorian and contemporary architecture, its extensive tram network and Victorian parks and gardens, as well as its diverse, multicultural society. It was the host city of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. In 1981, it hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. In 2006, the city hosted the G20 Summit, in which the leaders of the world's nineteen largest economies met.

Melbourne was founded by free settlers in 1835, 47 years after the first European settlement of Australia, as a pastoral settlement situated around the Yarra River. Transformed rapidly into a major metropolis by the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s, 'Marvellous Melbourne' became Australia's largest and most important city by 1865, but was overtaken by Sydney as the largest city in Australia during the early 20th century.

Melbourne served as the federal seat of government from the time of the new nation's federation in 1901, until Federal Parliament moved to the purpose-built capital, Canberra, in 1927.

History

Melbourne Landing, 1840; watercolour by W. Liardet (1840).
Melbourne Landing, 1840; watercolour by W. Liardet (1840).
Lithograph of the original plans for Parliament House, Melbourne.  Construction began in 1855 but later stalled and the proposed reading room dome and wings were never completed.
Lithograph of the original plans for Parliament House, Melbourne. Construction began in 1855 but later stalled and the proposed reading room dome and wings were never completed.
Lithograph of the Royal Exhibition Building (now a World Heritage site) built to host the World's Fair of 1880.  The main building has hosted several such fairs and later hosted the opening of the first Parliament of Australia.  The area of the rear wings pictured is now parkland.
Lithograph of the Royal Exhibition Building (now a World Heritage site) built to host the World's Fair of 1880. The main building has hosted several such fairs and later hosted the opening of the first Parliament of Australia. The area of the rear wings pictured is now parkland.
The Federal Coffee Palace, a temperance hotel was the largest and tallest building in Melbourne, but one of many built in 1888.  The Windsor Hotel is the largest survivor of this era.
The Federal Coffee Palace, a temperance hotel was the largest and tallest building in Melbourne, but one of many built in 1888. The Windsor Hotel is the largest survivor of this era.
Flinders Street Station, intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets in 1927 when it was the world's busiest passenger station.
Flinders Street Station, intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets in 1927 when it was the world's busiest passenger station.
Melbourne and the Yarra in 1928.  The Yarra was a major transport hub.  The turning basin at Queensbridge was no longer the major a port, the river's course was modified and widened and South Melbourne (now Southbank) opposite the CBD was a major industrial area
Melbourne and the Yarra in 1928. The Yarra was a major transport hub. The turning basin at Queensbridge was no longer the major a port, the river's course was modified and widened and South Melbourne (now Southbank) opposite the CBD was a major industrial area
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 River and Port Phillip that is now Melbourne was originally inhabited by the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. It is believed that the area was occupied by indigenous Australians for at least 40,000 years. The first British penal colony in the Port Phillip district was established in 1803 on Sullivan Bay, but this settlement was abandoned after a few months.

In May and June 1835, the area that is now central and northern Melbourne was explored by John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association, who negotiated a transaction for 600,000 acres (2,400 km²) of land from eight Wurundjeri chiefs. He selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that "this will be the place for a village", and returned to Launceston in Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land). However, by the time a settlement party from the Association arrived to establish the new village, a separate group led by John Pascoe Fawkner had already arrived aboard the Enterprize and established a settlement at the same location, on 30 August 1835. The two groups ultimately agreed to share the settlement. Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by the New South Wales government (then governing all of eastern mainland Australia), which compensated the Association. Although this meant the settlers were now trespassing on Crown land, the government reluctantly accepted the settlers' fait accompli and allowed the town (known at first by various names, including 'Bearbrass') to remain.

In 1836 Governor Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, and commissioned the first plan for the Hoddle Grid in 1837 and later that year the settlement was named Melbourne after the British Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, who resided in the village of Melbourne in Derbyshire. Melbourne was declared a city by letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847.

The state of 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. During the optimistic 1850s and 1860s, the construction of many of Melbourne's institutional buildings began, including Parliament House, Treasury Buildings, State Library, Supreme Court, University, General Post Office, Government House as well as St Paul's and St Patrick's cathedrals. The city's inner suburbs were planned, linked by boulevards and gardens. Melbourne had become a major finance centre, home to several banks and to Australia's first stock exchange (founded in 1861).

By the 1880s, Melbourne's boom escalated. The city had become one of the largest in the British Empire, and reputedly the richest in the world. During this prosperous decade, Melbourne hosted five international exhibitions in the large purpose built Exhibition Building. Journalist George Augustus Henry Sala, during an 1885 visit, coined the phrase 'Marvellous Melbourne' to describe the booming city, which stuck long into the twentieth century. Growing building activity culminated in the "Land Boom" which in 1888 reached a peak of speculative development fuelled by optimism and escalating property prices. As a result of the boom, high-rise offices, commercial buildings, coffee palaces, terrace housing and palatial mansions proliferated in the city. Subsequent development has seen most of the taller CBD buildings (assisted by council fire regulations) and larger mansions from this era demolished, however Victorian architecture still abound in Melbourne. This period also saw the expansion of a major radial rail based transport network.

The brash boosterism which typified Melbourne during this time came to a halt in 1891 when the start of a severe depression hit the city's economy, sending the local finance and property industries into chaos during which 16 small banks and building societies collapsed and 133 limited companies went into liquidation. The Melbourne financial crisis helped trigger the Australian economic depression of 1890s and the Australian banking crisis of 1893. The effects of the depression on the city were profound, although it did continue to grow slowly during the early twentieth century.

At the time of Australia's Federation on 1 January 1901, Melbourne was specified as the temporary seat of government. The first Federal parliament was convened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building. In 1927, Federal parliament was moved to the planned city of Canberra, however the Governor-General of Australia remained at Government House until 1930 and many major national institutions remained in Melbourne well into the 20th Century.

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 in 1956. During the subsequent decades, major freeway development and a significant increase in private car use helped the city to sprawl outwards and urban renewal projects in the inner city significantly modernised the city. Australia's finance and mining booms between 1969 and 1970 proved beneficial to Melbourne, with the headquarters of many of the major companies ( BHP and Rio Tinto, among others and the Reserve Bank of Australia) 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.

As the centre of Australia's " rust belt", Melbourne experienced the worst of Victoria's economic slump between 1989 to 1992, following the collapse of several of its financial institutions. In 1992 the newly elected Kennett Coalition government began a campaign to revive the economy with an aggressive development campaign of public works centred on Melbourne and the promotion of the city as a tourist destination with a focus on major events and sports tourism, attracting the Australian Grand Prix to the city. Major projects included the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Crown Casino and CityLink tollway. Other strategies included the privatisation of some of Melbourne's services including power and public transport, and a reduction in funding to public services such as health and education.

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.

Geography

Topography

Map of greater Melbourne
Map of greater Melbourne
The view of the central business district across Hobsons Bay from Williamstown
The view of the central business district across Hobsons Bay from Williamstown

Melbourne is located in the south-eastern part of mainland Australia. 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.

Melbourne extends along the Yarra through the Yarra Valley toward the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Ranges to the east. It extends northward through the undulating bushland valleys of the Yarra's tributaries - Moonee Ponds Creek (toward Tullamarine Airport), Merri Creek and Plenty River to the outer suburban growth corridors of Craigieburn and Whittlesea. The city sprawls south-east through Dandenong to the growth corridor of Pakenham, Victoria towards West Gippsland. The suburbs sprawl southward through the Patterson River, 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 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 volcanic peaks and Geelong as part of the greater metropolitan area to the south-west.

Melbourne's major bayside beaches are mostly located along the shores of Port Phillip Bay along south eastern suburbs of the city, in areas like Port Melbourne, Albert Park, St Kilda, Elwood, Brighton, Sandringham, Mentone and Frankston although there are beaches at Altona and Williamstown in the west. The nearest metropolitan surf beaches are located 85 kilometres (53 mi) away from the CBD in the back-beaches of Rye, Sorrento and Portsea.

Environment

Like many urban environments, Melbourne faces some significant environmental issues. Melbourne has one of the highest urban footprints in the world due to its low density housing, suburban sprawl, and car dependence due to minimal public transport outside of the inner city. 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, Rock Pigeon, Common Starling, Brown Rat, European Wasp, and Red Fox. Many outlying suburbs, particularly those in 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 urbanized native bushland, the Department of Sustainability partially addresses this problem by regularly burning off. National parks nearby to the urban area include 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.

Like many large cities, pollution in Melbourne presents a major problem. 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, however summer and autumn are the worst times of year for atmospheric haze in the urban area.

The biggest current environmental issue facing Melbourne is the Victorian government project to deepen the channel to Melbourne Ports by dredging Port Phillip Bay is subject to controversy and strict regulations among fears that beaches and marine wildlife could be effected 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 up to 350,000 cigarette butts entering the storm water runoff every day. Several programs are being implemented to minimise beach and river pollution.

Climate

Climate chart for Melbourne
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temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: Bureau of Meteorology

Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate ( Köppen climate classification Cfb). and is notorious 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 Dandenong Ranges 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 other mainland Australian capital cities in the winter. The lowest maximum on record is 4.4 °C (39.9 °F), on July 4, 1901. However, snowfalls are extremely rare: the most recent occurrence of sleet in the CBD was on July 25, 1986 and the most recent snowfalls in the outer eastern suburbs and Mount Dandenong were on August 10, 2005, November 15, 2006 and December 25, 2006. More commonly, Melbourne experiences frosts and fog in winter.

During the spring, Melbourne commonly enjoys extended periods of mild weather and clear skies. Melbourne is also known to have extremely hot, and dry summers, with maximum temperatures above 40 °C (104 °F).

In recorded history, Melbourne has experienced a number of highly unusual weather events and extremes of climate. In 1891, the great flood caused the Yarra to swell to 305 metres (1,000 ft) in width. In 1897, a great fire destroyed an entire city block between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street as well as gutting a 43-metre (140 ft) office building which was the city's tallest building of the time. In 1908, a heatwave struck Melbourne. On 2nd February 1918, the Brighton tornado, an F3 class and the most intense tornado to hit a major Australian city struck the bayside suburb of Brighton. In 1934, storms caused widespread damage. On 13 January 1939 Melbourne had its hottest temperature on record, 45.6 °C (114.1 °F), during a four-day nationwide heat wave in which the Black Friday bushfires destroyed townships that are now Melbourne suburbs. In 1951 it snowed in both the CBD and suburbs with moderate cover recorded. In February 1972, the CBD was flooded as the natural watercourse of Elizabeth Street became a raging torrent. On 8 February 1983, the city was enveloped by a massive dust storm, which turned day to night. On 16 February in 1983, Melbourne was encircled by an arc of fire as the Ash Wednesday fires encroached on the city. In 1997, Melbourne was hit by a heatwave with a minimum temperature over a 24 hour period of 28.8. Freak storms struck in January 2004 and February 2005. On December 9, 2006 some of the thickest bushfire smoke in recorded history blanketed the city sky. A heatwave struck in 2008 and bushfires threatened the suburbs.

Other daily elements
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
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

Urban structure

Victorian terrace style housing is common in Melbourne's inner suburbs and has been the subject of gentrification
Victorian terrace style housing is common in Melbourne's inner suburbs and has been the subject of gentrification
Victoria Avenue, Canterbury is one of many London Plane Tree lined streets in Melbourne.
Victoria Avenue, Canterbury is one of many London Plane Tree lined streets in Melbourne.
Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens.
Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens.

The original city (known today as the central business district or CBD) is laid out in the 1 mile (1.6 km) by half mile (0.8 km) Hoddle Grid, its southern edge fronting onto the Yarra. The city centre is well known for its historic and attractive lanes and arcades (the most notable of which are Block Place and Royal Arcade) which contain a variety of shops and cafes. The CBD and surrounds contain many historic buildings such as the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Town Hall and Parliament House. Although the area is described as the centre, it is not actually the demographic centre of Melbourne at all, due to an urban sprawl to the south east, the demographic centre being located at Bourne St, Glen Iris.

Melbourne is typical of Australian capital cities in that after the turn of the 20th century, it expanded 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 was once 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.

The extensive area covered by urban Melbourne is formally divided into hundreds of suburbs (for addressing and postal purposes), and administered as local government areas.

The Melbourne CBD contains five of the six tallest buildings in Australia, the tallest being the Eureka Tower.

Culture

The Federation Square cultural precinct
The Federation Square cultural precinct
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the home of cricket and Australian rules football
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the home of cricket and Australian rules football
The Shrine of Remembrance is an important cultural landmark
The Shrine of Remembrance is an important cultural landmark

Melbourne is widely known as the Australian cultural and sport capital. It 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, 2004 and 2005. In recent years rising property prices have led to Melbourne being named the sixtieth least affordable city in the world and the second least affordable in Australia.

The city celebrates a wide variety of annual cultural events, performing arts and architecture. Melbourne is also considered to be Australia's live music capital with a large proportion of successful Australian artists emerging from the Melbourne live music scene. Melbourne has become popular for its street art (see Melbourne street art) with the lonely planet guides listing it as a major attraction. The city is also admired as one of the great cities of the Victorian Age (1837-1901) and a vigorous city life intersects with an impressive range of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings.

In recent years, the city has claimed the SportsBusiness title "World's Ultimate Sports City". The city is home to the National Sports Museum, which until 2006 was located outside the members pavilion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and reopened in 2008 in the Great Northern Stand.

Australian rules football and cricket are the most popular sports in Melbourne and also the spiritual home of these two sports in Australia and both are mostly played in the same stadia in the city and its suburbs. The first ever official cricket Test match in Australia was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March 1877 and the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the largest cricket ground in the world. The first Australian rules football matches were played in Melbourne in 1858 and the Australian Football League is headquartered at the Telstra Dome. Nine of its teams are based in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the five Melbourne AFL matches per week attract an average 40,000 people per game.. Additionally, the city annually hosts the AFL Grand Final.

The city is also home to several professional franchises in national competitions including the Melbourne Storm (rugby league), who play in the NRL competition, Melbourne Victory (Association football) who play in the A-league, netball team Melbourne Vixens who play in the trans-Tasman trophy ANZ Championship and basketball team Melbourne Tigers who play in the National Basketball League.

Melbourne is home to the three major annual international annual sporting events in the Australian Open (tennis), Melbourne Cup ( horse racing) and the Australian Grand Prix (formula 1).

Economy

Darker green areas indicate areas of higher household incomes.  Suburbs immediately east of the centre tend to be more affluent
Darker green areas indicate areas of higher household incomes. Suburbs immediately east of the centre tend to be more affluent
The Hoddle Grid, Melbourne's original Central Business District
The Hoddle Grid, Melbourne's original Central Business District
Southbank.  One of the adjacent urban renewal areas, along with St Kilda Road and Melbourne Docklands where the expansion of Melbourne's CBD has recently overflowed.
Southbank. One of the adjacent urban renewal areas, along with St Kilda Road and Melbourne Docklands where the expansion of Melbourne's CBD has recently overflowed.

Melbourne is home to Australia's busiest seaport and much of Australia's automotive industry, which include Ford and Toyota manufacturing facilities, and the engine manufacturing facility of Holden. It is home to many other manufacturing industries, along with being a major business and financial centre. In mid-November 2006, the city was host to the G20 summit, amid violent protests. International freight is an important industry. The city's port, Australia's largest, handles more than $75 billion in trade every year and 39% of the nation's container trade.

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

Melbourne retains a significant presence of being a financial centre for Asia-Pacific. Two of the big four banks, NAB and ANZ, are headquartered in Melbourne. The city has carved out a niche as Australia’s leading centre for superannuation (pension) funds, with 40 per cent of the total, and 65 per cent of industry super-funds. Melbourne is also home to the $40 billion-dollar Federal Government Future Fund, and could potentially be home to the world's largest company should the proposed merger between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group be carried out.

Tourism plays an important role in Melbourne's economy, with approximately 7.6 million domestic visitors and 1.88 million international visitors in 2004. In 2008, Melbourne overtook Sydney as the nation's leading tourism destination.

The city is headquarters for many of Australia's largest corporations, including five of the ten largest in the country (based on revenue) ( ANZ, BHP Billiton, the National Australia Bank, Rio Tinto and Telstra); as well as such representative bodies and thinktanks as the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Melbourne rated 34th within the top 50 financial cities as surveyed by the Mastercard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index (2007), between Barcelona and Geneva, and second only to Sydney (14th) in Australia.

Most recent major infrastructure projects, such as the redevelopment of Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station), have been centred around the 2006 Commonwealth Games, which were held in the city from 15 March to 26 March 2006. The centrepiece of the Commonwealth Games projects was the redevelopment of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the stadium used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The project involved rebuilding the northern half of the stadium and laying a temporary athletics track at a cost of $434 million.

Melbourne has also been attracting an increasing share of domestic and international conference markets. 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.

Demographics

China (red), India (brown), Vietnam (yellow), Turkey (purple), Italy (light green) and (former states of) Yugoslavia (dark green). Based on 2006 Census data">Demographic map of Melbourne. Each dot indicates 100 persons born in Britain (dark blue), Greece (light blue), China (red), India (brown), Vietnam (yellow), Turkey (purple), Italy (light green) and (former states of) Yugoslavia (dark green). Based on 2006 Census data
Demographic map of Melbourne. Each dot indicates 100 persons born in Britain (dark blue), Greece (light blue), China (red), India (brown), Vietnam (yellow), Turkey (purple), Italy (light green) and (former states of) Yugoslavia (dark green). Based on 2006 Census data


Significant overseas born populations
Place of Birth Population (2006)
United Kingdom 156,457
Italy 73,801
Vietnam 57,926
Mainland China 54,726
New Zealand 52,453
Greece 52,279
India 50,686
Sri Lanka 30,594
Malaysia 29,174
Philippines 24,568
Germany 21,182
Malta 18,951
South Africa 17,317
Rep. Macedonia 17,287
Hong Kong 16,917
Poland 16,439
Croatia 15,367
Lebanon 14,645
Netherlands 14,581
Turkey 14,124

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. Melbourne has the second largest Asian population in Australia, which includes the largest Vietnamese, Indian and Sri Lankan communities in the country.

The earliest inhabitants of the broad area that later became known as Melbourne were Indigenous Australians — specifically, the Bunurong, Wurundjeri and Wathaurong peoples. Melbourne is still a centre of Aboriginal life — consisting of local groups and indigenes from other parts of Australia — with the Aboriginal community in the city numbering over 20,000 persons (0.6 per cent of the population).

The first European settlers in Melbourne were British and Irish. These two groups accounted for nearly all arrivals before the gold rush, and supplied the predominant number of immigrants to the city until the Second World War. Melbourne was transformed by the 1850s gold rush; within months of the discovery of gold in August 1852, the city's population had increased by nearly three-quarters, from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. Thereafter, growth was exponential and by 1865, Melbourne had overtaken Sydney as Australia's most populous city. Large numbers of Chinese, German and United States nationals were to be found on the goldfields and subsequently in Melbourne. The various nationalities involved in the Eureka Stockade revolt nearby give some indication of the migration flows in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Post war immigration

Melbourne's Chinatown, established in 1854, is the oldest in Australia and one of the oldest worldwide
Melbourne's Chinatown, established in 1854, is the oldest in Australia and one of the oldest worldwide

In the aftermath of the Second World War, Melbourne experienced unprecedented inflows from Mediterranean Europe, primarily Greece and Italy, but also Cyprus and Turkey. According to the 2001 Census, there were 151,785 ethnic Greeks in the metropolitan area. 47% of all Greek Australians live in Melbourne. Ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese also maintain significant presences.

Melbourne enjoys comparatively high levels of migrant integration to the other capital cities, however some ethnic groups are associated with the suburb in which they first settled – Italians ( Carlton and Brunswick); Macedonians ( Thomastown); Indians and Sri Lankans (south eastern suburbs such as Hampton Park and Narre Warren); Greeks ( Oakleigh, Northcote and Hughesdale); Vietnamese ( Richmond, Springvale and Footscray); Maltese ( Sunshine); Serbs ( St Albans); Turks ( Coburg); Lebanese ( Broadmeadows); Russians ( Carnegie); Spaniards ( Fitzroy); North Africans ( Flemington); Sub-Saharan Africans ( Noble Park). The cities of Dandenong, Monash, Casey and Whittlesea on Melbourne's fringe are particular current migrant hotspots.

Melbourne exceeds the national average in terms of proportion of residents born overseas: 34.8 per cent compared to a national average of 23.1 per cent. In concordance with national data, Britain is the most commonly reported country of birth, with 4.7 per cent, followed by Italy (2.4 per cent), Greece (1.9 per cent) and then China (1.3 per cent). Melbourne also features substantial Vietnamese, Indian and Sri Lankan-born communities, in addition to recent South African and Sudanese influxes.

Over two-thirds of people in Melbourne speak only English at home (68.8 per cent). Italian is the second most common home language (4.0 per cent), with Greek third and Chinese fourth, each with over 100,000 speakers.

Religion

St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne (the foundation stone was laid in 1858)
St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne (the foundation stone was laid in 1858)

The 2006 Census records show some 28.3% (1,018,113) of Melbourne residents list their religious affiliation as Catholic. The next highest response was No Religion (20.0%, 717,717), Anglican (12.1%, 433,546), Eastern Orthodox (5.9%, 212,887) and the Uniting Church (4.0%, 143,552). Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Hindus collectively account for 7.5 per cent of the population. Four out of ten Australian Jews call Melbourne home. The city is also residence to the largest number of Holocaust survivors of any Australian city, indeed the highest per capita concentration outside Israel itself.

The city has 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.

Population density and growth

Melbourne
population by year
1836 177
1854 123,000 (gold rush)
1880 280,000 (property boom)
1956 1,500,000
1981 2,806,000
1991 3,156,700 (economic slump)
2001 3,366,542
2006 3,744,373
2011 3,872,918 (projected)
2021 4,253,367 (projected)
2031 4,591,846 (projected)
Melbourne
urban area density
(people/ ha)
1951 23.4
1961 21.4
1971 18.1
1981 15.9
1986 16.05
1991 16.8
1996 17.9
1999 17.05
2001 15.9

Although Victoria's net interstate migration has fluctuated, the Melbourne statistical division has grown by approximately 50,000 people a year since 2003. Melbourne has now attracted the largest proportion of international overseas immigrants (48,000) finding it outpacing Sydney's international migrant intake, along with having strong interstate migration from Sydney and other capitals due to more affordable housing and cost of living, which have been two recent key factors driving Melbourne's growth. 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. It has been suggested that if population growth continues at its current rate, Melbourne could become Australia's largest city once again by 2028.

Melbourne's population density declined following the Second World War, with the private motor car and the lures of space and property ownership causing a suburban sprawl, mainly eastward. After much discussion both at general public and planning levels in the 1980s, the decline has reversed since the recession of the early 1990s. 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.

Governance

The South Melbourne Town Hall, one among many surviving civic buildings from the Victorian era
The South Melbourne Town Hall, one among many surviving civic buildings from the Victorian era

The Melbourne City Council governs the City of Melbourne, which takes in the CBD and a few adjoining inner suburbs. However the head of the Melbourne City Council, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, is frequently treated as a representative of greater Melbourne (the entire metropolitan area), particularly when interstate or overseas. The Lord Mayor is John So, who was crowned the 2006 World Mayor.

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), such as urban planning and waste management.

Most city-wide government activities are controlled by the Victorian state government, which governs from Parliament House in Spring Street. These include public transport, main roads, traffic control, policing, education above preschool level, 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 citywide governmental bodies, which would tend to rival the state government. The semi-autonomous Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works was abolished in 1992 for this reason. This is not dissimilar to other Australian states where State Governments have similar powers in greater metropolitan areas.

Education

State Library of Victoria La Trobe Reading Room (5th floor view)
State Library of Victoria La Trobe Reading Room (5th floor view)

Education is overseen statewide by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), whose role is to 'provide policy and planning advice for the delivery of education'. It acts as advisor to two state ministers, that for Education and for Children and Early Childhood Development.

Preschool, primary and secondary

Primary and secondary assessment, curriculum development and educational research initiatives throughout Melbourne and Victoria is undertaken by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), which offers the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) and Achievement Improvement Monitor (AIM) certificates from years Prep through Year 10, and the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) as part of senior secondary programs (Years 11 to 12).

Many high schools in Melbourne are called 'Secondary Colleges', a legacy 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'.

Although non-tertiary public education is free, 35 per cent of students attend a private primary or secondary school. The most numerous private schools are Catholic, and the rest are independent (see Public and Private Education in Australia).

Tertiary and vocational

Ormond College (1879), University of Melbourne
Ormond College (1879), University of Melbourne

Melbourne's two largest universities are the University of Melbourne (also called Melbourne University) and Monash University, the largest university in Australia. Both are members of the Group of Eight. Melbourne University ranked second among Australian universities in the 2006 THES international rankings. While The Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the University of Melbourne as the 22nd best university in the world, Monash University was ranked the 38th best university in the world. Melbourne was ranked the world's fourth top university city in 2008 after London, Boston and Tokyo.

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.

Other universities located in Melbourne include La Trobe University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University and the St Patrick's campus of the Australian Catholic University. 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 to full fee paying students.

Infrastructure

Health

The Government of Victoria's Department of Human Services oversees approximately 30 public hospitals in the Melbourne metropolitan region, and 13 health services organisations. 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 St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, 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 the Australian Synchrotron.

Transport

The centre of public transport in the Melbourne CBD, Flinders Street Station
The centre of public transport in the Melbourne CBD, Flinders Street Station
The Bolte Bridge is part of the CityLink tollway system
The Bolte Bridge is part of the CityLink tollway system
Melbourne Airport is the second busiest in Australia
Melbourne Airport is the second busiest in Australia

Melbourne has an integrated public transport system promoted under the Metlink brand. Originally laid out late in the 19th century when trains and trams were the primary methods of travelling to the suburbs, the 1950s saw an increase in private vehicles and freeway construction. This trend has continued with successive governments despite relentless traffic congestion, with a resulting drop in public transport modeshare from the 1940s level of around 25 per cent to the current level of around 9 per cent. Melbourne's public transport system was privatised in 1999. Between 1999 and 2008, funding for road expansion was five times greater than public transport extension.

Melbourne's tram network is the largest tram network in the world. Melbourne's is Australia's only tram network to comprise more than a single line. Sections of the tram network are on road, others are separated or light rail routes. Trams are not only a form of transport, but a tourist icon and cultural asset. Visitors are served by a free City Circle Tram, as well as fleet of restaurant trams.

A mostly-electric train network serves Melbourne with 19 lines, all of them radiating from a loop which circles the Central Business District. Flinders Street Station is Melbourne's busiest railway station. In 1926 it was the world's busiest passenger station. It remains a prominent Melbourne landmark and meeting place.

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.

There are almost 300 bus routes which mainly service the outer suburbs fill the gaps in the network between rail and light rail services.

Melbourne has a high dependency on private cars for transport, with 7.1 per cent of trips made by public transport. However there has been a significant rise in patronage in the last two years mostly due to higher fuel prices, since 2006, public transport patronage has grown by over 20%. The largest number of cars are bought in the outer suburban area, while the inner suburbs with greater access to train and tram services (Met zone 1 and 2) enjoy higher public transport patronage. Melbourne has 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. Major highways feeding into the city include the Eastern Freeway, Monash Freeway and West Gate Freeway (which spans the large Westgate Bridge), whilst other freeways circumnavigate the city or lead to other major cities, including CityLink, Eastlink, the Western Ring Road, Calder Freeway, Tullamarine Freeway (main airport link) and the Hume Freeway which links Melbourne and Sydney.

The Port of Melbourne is Australia's largest container and general cargo port and also its busiest. In 2007, the port handled two million shipping containers in a 12 month period, making it one of the top five ports in the Southern Hemisphere. Station Pier in Port Phillip Bay handles cruise ships and the Spirit of Tasmania ferries which cross Bass Strait to Tasmania.

Melbourne has four airports. Melbourne Airport located at Tullamarine is the city's main international and domestic gateway. The airport is home base for passenger airlines Jetstar and Tiger Airways Australia and cargo airlines Australian air Express and Toll Priority and is a major hub for Qantas and Virgin Blue. Avalon Airport, located between Melbourne and Geelong, is a secondary hub of Jetstar and may soon offer international flights to Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia X. It is also used as a freight and maintenance facility. This makes Melbourne the only city in Australia to have a second commercial airport. Moorabbin Airport is a significant general aviation airport in the city's south east as well as handling a limited number of passenger flights. Essendon Airport, which was once the city's main airport before the construction of the airport at Tullamarine, handles passenger flights, general aviation and some cargo flights.

Utilities

Newport Power Station dominates the surrounding suburbs
Newport Power Station dominates the surrounding suburbs

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, while smaller dams such as the Upper Yarra Dam and the Cardinia Reservoir carry secondary supplies.

Water restrictions are in place and the state government has considered water recycling schemes for the city. In June 2007, the Bracks Government announced a $4.9 billion water plan to secure the future of water supplies in Melbourne, including the construction of a $3.1 billion desalination plant on Victoria's south-east coast, capable of treating 150 billion litres of water per year. Other projects included in this package is a 70 km (43 mi) pipeline from the Goulburn area in Victoria's north to Melbourne and a new water pipeline linking Melbourne and Geelong. These projects will be run and managed by Melbourne Water.

Supply of town gas to Melbourne was initially provided by private companies such as the Melbourne Metropolitan Gas Company from the 1850s, with gasworks being scattered throughout the suburbs. The Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria was formed in 1951 to manage gas supply state wide, and to build a centralised gasworks at Morwell. The discovery of natural gas in Bass Strait in the 1960s saw gas supplies converted to the new fuel by the 1970s. The Gas and Fuel Corporation was privatised in the late 1990s.

The first electricity supplies to Melbourne were also provided by private companies, with a number of small power stations such as those at Spencer Street and Richmond operating. These small operations were merged into the State Electricity Commission of Victoria that was formed in 1921, the SECV also building the first of many brown coal fired power stations at Yallourn in the Latrobe Valley. The responsibilities of the SECV were privatised between 1995 and 1999. In the urban area, the largest powerstation is the Newport Power Station, located close to the mouth of the Yarra River the stack of which dominates the skyline of the inner western suburbs.

Numerous telecommunications companies operate in Melbourne providing terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services.

Melbourne Docklands - Yarra’s Edge at twilight
Melbourne Docklands - Yarra’s Edge at twilight

Sister cities

Melbourne
Thessaloniki

The City of Melbourne has six sister cities. They are:

Some other local councils in the Melbourne metropolitan area have sister city relationships; see Local Government Areas of Victoria.

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