MELBOURNE

Melbourne City is wonderfully altered since I last saw it. There are some very fair buildings in it now, and things are a little cheaper than they used to be.

~William John Wills

Melbourne, at the head of Port Phillip Bay, is Australia‘s second largest city and the capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria.

Melbourne city is Australia’s cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theatres, and large parks and gardens. Its 4-million residents are both multicultural and sports-mad.

Australia’s best base for seeing wildlife in the wild, Melbourne is surrounded by national parks and natural areas that are home to Australia’s most iconic animals – koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, cockatoos, and kookaburras. Australia’s best bird watching site is in Melbourne’s suburbs – the Western Treatment Plant – but other locations are equally satisfying and more accessible: the You Yangs, the Dandenong Ranges, the Royal Botanic Gardens (both in the city and at Cranbourne), Serendip Sanctuary, Banyule Flats Reserve and Bunyip State Park.

Reasons to visit Melbourne include major sporting events, using it as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as the Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, East Gippsland and visiting Phillip Island to view the penguin parade.

History of Melbourne City

The settlement of Melbourne commenced in 1835 when settlers from Tasmania” purchased” land on Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River from the local Aboriginal tribes. The streets of central Melbourne were carefully laid out in 1837, with some streets 30 meters wide.

The settlement was named “Melbourne” after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the British Prime Minister at that time. The year 1851 was a landmark for Melbourne — the colony of Victoria was separated from New South Wales and very soon after, gold was discovered in Victoria, sparking a huge goldrush. Aspects of the gold rush history can be seen at the Gold Treasury Museum, housed in the Treasury Building built in 1858.

In 1888, the property boom collapsed and Victoria suffered the depression of the 1890s. Throughout the gold and building booms, Melbourne managed to retain its many spacious parks and gardens and these remain to this day.

In 1901, the British colonies of Australia became an independent federation and Melbourne the temporary capital of Australia. After World War II, Melbourne grew rapidly, with its mainly Anglo-Celtic population boosted by immigration from Europe, particularly from Greece and Italy. Melbourne has had a Chinese population since the gold rush of the 1850s and Chinatown has existed from that time but the population of Chinese and other East Asians has also been boosted by immigration in recent years.

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