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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: Melbourne

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Melbourne’s Central Business District and Southbank
Population: 3,806,092 [1] (2nd)
• Density: 430/km² (1113.7/sq mi)
Established: 30 August 1835
Area: 8831 km² (3409.7sq mi)
Time zone:

• Summer (DST)



  • 723 km (449 mi) from Adelaide
  • 876 km (544 mi) from Sydney
  • 1658 km (1030 mi) from Brisbane
  • 3412 km (2120 mi) from Perth
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).[1]

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.[2]

Melbourne is a major centre of commerce, industry and cultural activity. The city is often referred to as Australia’s ‘sporting and cultural capital’[3] 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.[4] 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.

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.[5] 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,[6] but was overtaken by Sydney as the largest city in Australia during the early 20th century.[7]

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.[8]



Melbourne Landing, 1840; watercolour by W. Liardet (1840).

Melbourne Landing, 1840; watercolour by W. Liardet (1840).

The Windsor Hotel, one of the surviving grand buildings from the 1880s boom.

The Windsor Hotel, one of the surviving grand buildings from the 1880s boom.

Flinders Street Station, intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets, 1927.

Flinders Street Station, intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets, 1927.

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.

Main article: History of Melbourne
See also: Timeline of Melbourne history
See also: History of Victoria

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.[5] 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.[9]

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.[5] 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.[5] 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’[5]) 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. The settlement was named Melbourne in the same year 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.[10]

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. The city became a major finance centre, home to several banks and to Australia’s first stock exchange (founded in 1861). During the 1880s Melbourne was one of the largest cities in the British Empire, and reputedly the richest city in the world.[11] This period saw the construction of many high-rise Victorian buildings, Coffee Palaces, terrace housing, grand boulevards and gardens throughout the city. Examples of this Victorian architecture still abound in Melbourne. 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.

The brash boosterism which typified Melbourne during this time came to a halt in 1891 when a world economic depression hit the city’s economy, sending the finance and property industries into chaos. 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 and remained the national capital until 1927, when the Federal parliament was moved to the planned city of Canberra. The first Federal parliament was convened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building.

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. Australia’s mining boom between 1969 and 1970 proved beneficial to Melbourne, with the headquarters of many of the major companies (BHP and Rio Tinto, among others) 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.[12]

Melbourne experienced the worst of Victoria’s economic slump between 1989 to 1992. In 1992 the newly elected Kennett Coalition government began a campaign to revive the economy with an aggressive development campaign of public works and major events centred on Melbourne and the promotion of the city as a tourist destination. 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.[13]


Map of greater Melbourne

Map of greater Melbourne

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[14] and Holocene sand accumulation to the southeast along Port Phillip. The city’s suburbs extend along the Yarra Valley toward the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges to the east, down towards the Mornington Peninsula and the city of Frankston, along the Maribyrnong River and its tributaries north towards the foothills of the Macedon Ranges, and along the flat volcanic plain country towards Werribee and Geelong to the south-west.

Looking across Hobsons Bay towards the central business district

Looking across Hobsons Bay towards the central business district

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 is typical of Australian capital cities in that after the turn of the 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.

The original city (known today as the central business district or CBD) is laid out in the mile-by-half-a-mile Hoddle Grid, its southern edge fronting onto the Yarra. The city centre is well known for its historic and attractive lanes and arcades which contain a variety of shops and cafes.[15] The CBD and surrounds contain many historic buildings such as the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Town Hall and Parliament House.

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.


Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb).[16] 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.[17]

Melbourne is colder than most other Australian capital cities in the winter. The lowest maximum on record is 4.4 degrees Celsius, on July 4, 1901.[18] 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 Dandenongs were on August 10, 2005,[19] November 15, 2006 and December 25th 2006[20] There has not been a major snowfall in Melbourne since 1951, when moderate cover was recorded in both the CBD and suburbs.[21] 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 degrees Celsius. The hottest temperature on record was 45.6 degrees Celsius on 13 January 1939 during a four-day nationwide heat wave.[22] On 8 February 1983, the city was enveloped by a massive dust storm, which turned day to night.

Weather averages for Melbourne
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25.8 (78) 25.8 (78) 23.8 (75) 20.3 (69) 16.7 (62) 14.0 (57) 13.4 (56) 14.9 (59) 17.2 (63) 19.6 (67) 21.9 (71) 24.2 (76) 19.8 (68)
Average low °C (°F) 14.2 (58) 14.5 (58) 13.2 (56) 10.7 (51) 8.6 (47) 6.9 (44) 6.0 (43) 6.6 (44) 7.9 (46) 9.5 (49) 11.1 (52) 12.9 (55) 10.2 (50)
Precipitation mm (inches) 48.0 (1.9) 47.7 (1.9) 50.1 (2) 57.7 (2.3) 56.3 (2.2) 49.4 (1.9) 47.7 (1.9) 50.2 (2) 58.5 (2.3) 66.8 (2.6) 59.5 (2.3) 59.0 (2.3) 650.9 (25.6)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[23] Sept 2007
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


The Federation Square cultural precinct

The Federation Square cultural precinct

Main article: Culture of Melbourne
The Melbourne Cricket Ground

The Melbourne Cricket Ground

Melbourne is widely known as the Australian cultural and sport capital. In recent years, the city has claimed the SportsBusiness title “World’s Ultimate Sports City”.[24]. It is considered the spiritual home of Australian cricket and Australian rules football – the most popular sports in Australia. Nine teams (Not including Geelong) from the Australian Football League are based in Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs. The first ever official cricket Test match was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March 1877. The city is also home to a Rugby League and Soccer team, the Melbourne Storm,[25] who play in the NRL competition, Melbourne Victory 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 NBL Hummer Championship

It has thrice shared top position[26] 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,[27] 2004 and 2005.[28] However, in recent years rising property prices have led to Melbourne being named one of the least affordable cities in the world.[29]

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.


Southbank, a new icon of Melbourne

Southbank, a new icon of Melbourne

The Hoddle Grid, Melbourne's original Central Business District

The Hoddle Grid, Melbourne’s original Central Business District

Melbourne GPO building on the corner of  Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street in the heart of the Melbourne CBD

Melbourne GPO building on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street in the heart of the Melbourne CBD

Melbourne Yarra Twilight

Melbourne Yarra Twilight

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.[30] 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.[31][32]

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.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35]

Tourism plays an important role in Melbourne’s economy, with approximately 7.6 million domestic visitors and 1.88 million international visitors in 2004.[36]

The city is headquarters for many of Australia’s largest corporations, including five of the ten largest in the country (based on revenue)[37] (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),[38] 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.[39]

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.[40]


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

Significant overseas born populations[41]
Country 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

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.[42] Melbourne has the second largest Asian population in nation, which includes the largest Vietnamese, Indian and Sri Lankan communites in the country. Overall, citizens of Asian heritage represent approximately 18% of Melbournes population, compared to 7% of Australia’s population.

The earliest inhabitants of the broad area that later became 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).[43]

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.[44] Thereafter, growth was exponential and by 1865, Melbourne had overtaken Sydney as Australia’s most populous city.[6] 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.

In 2007, demographer Bernard Salt predicted that if current trends continue, Melbourne will again become the most populous city in Australia by 2028.[45]

Postwar immigration

In the first half of the twentieth century, Melbourne saw influxes of Italians and Greeks.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, Melbourne experienced unprecedented inflows from Mediterranean Europe, primarily Greece and Italy, but also Cyprus and Turkey. Ever larger Greek and Italian migrant numbers soon led to Melbourne being referred to as ‘largest Greek city out side of Greece’ and ‘Little Italy’.[citation needed] According to the 2001 Census, there were 151,785 ethnic Greeks in the metropolitan area.[citation needed] Nearly half of all Greek Australians live in Melbourne.[citation needed] Ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese also maintain significant presences.

Melbourne enjoys comparatively high levels of migrant integration to the other capital cities. Many ethnic groups are associated with the suburb in which they first settled – Italians in Carlton and Brunswick, Macedonians in Thomastown, Indians and Sri Lankans in the South-Eastern suburbs such as Hampton Park and Narre Warren , Greeks in Oakleigh, Northcote and Hughesdale, Vietnamese in Richmond, Springvale and Footscray, Maltese in Sunshine, Serbs in St Albans, Turks in Coburg, Lebanese in Broadmeadows, Russians in Carnegie, Spaniards in Fitzroy, North Africans in Flemington and Sub-Saharan Africans in Noble Park. The cities of Dandenong, Monash, Casey and Whittlesea on Melbourne’s fringe are particular current migrant hotspots.[46]

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.

Linguistically, Melbourne is one of Australia’s most diverse urban centres, though according to 2001 Census data, 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 the Chinese languages fourth, each with over 100,000 speakers. Of foreign-born Melburnians who spoke English exclusively, 84.2 per cent reported speaking it either ‘very well’ or ‘well’.


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[47]. 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)[48]. However the largest churches in Melbourne are generally Assemblies of God[citation needed]: CityLife Church (4,600 weekly attendance)[citation needed], Planetshakers City Church (3,000)[citation needed] and Faith! Christian Church (2,000)[citation needed]. In its outskirts is a large Baptist church called Crossway Baptist Church (4500)[citation needed]. It is the seat of both the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Anglican Diocese of 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
2021 4,500,000 (projected)
2030 5,000,000 (projected)
Urban area density
1951 23.4[49]
1961 21.4[50]
1971 18.1[51]
1981 15.9[52]
1986 16.05[53]
1991 16.8[54]
1996 17.9[55]
1999 17.05[56]
2001 15.9[57]

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,[58] indeed the highest per capita concentration outside Israel itself.[59]

Population growth

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. The Resurgence of Marvellous Melbourne Trends in Population Distribution in Victoria, 1991-1996. [60] 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.[61]

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.


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),[62] particularly when interstate or overseas. The Lord Mayor is John So, who was crowned the 2006 World Mayor[63].

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 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[64]), 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.


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’.[65] 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[66] 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).[67]

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’.[68][69]

Although non-tertiary public education is free, 35 per cent of students attend a private primary or secondary school.[70] 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.[71] 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 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.[72]

Further information: List of schools in Victoria



The Government of Victoria’s Department of Human Services oversees approximately 30 public hospitals in the Melbourne metropolitan region, and 13 health services organisations.[73] 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.


Main article: Transport in Melbourne
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

The Bolte Bridge

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.[74] This trend has continued with successive governments despite relentless traffic congestion,[75][76] 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.[77] Melbourne’s public transport system was privatised in 1999.[78]

Melbourne’s tram network is the largest tram network in the world.[79] 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.[80] 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.[81] However there has been a significant rise in patronage in the last two years mostly due to higher fuel prices.[82][83] Since 2006, public transport patronage has grown by over 20%.[84] 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 of road, and one of the highest lengths of road per capita.[81] Major highways feeding into the city include the Eastern Freeway, Monash Freeway and West Gate Freeway (which spans the large Westgate Bridge), whilst other road systems include CityLink and 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.[85] 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 International Airport located at Tullamarine is the city’s main international and domestic (Qantas, Virgin Blue and Jetstar) gateway. Tullamarine is the headquarters for low cost airlines Jetstar and Tiger Airways Australia. Avalon Airport, located between Melbourne and Geelong, is a secondary hub of Jetstar. It is also used as a freight and maintenance facility. Moorabbin Airport is a significant general aviation airport in the city’s south east. Essendon Airport, which was once the city’s main airport before the construction of the airport at Tullamarine, handles general aviation and some cargo flights.


The Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance

The Royal Exhibition Building, World Heritage Site and the modern Melbourne Museum

The Royal Exhibition Building, World Heritage Site and the modern Melbourne Museum

See also: Energy in Victoria

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,[86] 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.[87] Other projects included in this package is a 70 km 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.[88]

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.[89] 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,[90] 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.

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

Saint Petersburg

The City of Melbourne has six sister cities.[91] They are:

  • Flag of Japan Osaka, Japan, 1978
  • Flag of the People's Republic of China Tianjin, China, 1980
  • Flag of Greece Thessaloniki, Greece, 1984
  • Flag of the United States Boston, United States, 1985
  • Flag of Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1989
  • Flag of Italy Milan, Italy, 2004

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

See also

Find more about Melbourne on Wikipedia’s sister projects:
Dictionary definitions
Source texts
Images and media
News stories
Learning resources
  • Timeline of Melbourne history
  • Melbourne tourism
  • List of Melburnians
  • List of Melbourne suburbs
  • List of Mayors and Lord Mayors of Melbourne
  • Local Government Areas of Victoria
  • Crime in Melbourne
  • List of songs about Melbourne
  • List of heritage listed buildings in Melbourne
  • Australian architectural styles
  • Melway — the native street directory and general information source in Melbourne.
  • Hook turn — driving manoeuvre that is common in the inner city area.
  • World’s Most Livable Cities — Melbourne has twice been ranked equal first with Vancouver.
  • Large Cities Climate Leadership Group


Photo Gallery of Melbourne

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