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Alternate meanings: Melbourne (disambiguation)

Melbourne is the capital and largest city of the state of Victoria, and the second largest city in Australia, with a population of 3,366,542 (census 2001). The city's name is pronounced "MEL-buhn" (SAMPA: ["mElb@n], IPA: [ˈmɛlbən]) and sometimes mispronounced as "mel-BORN".

The locals are known as 'Melburnians'. Interestingly, this word is derived from the Latin name of Melbourne, and contains no letter 'o'.

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 Culture and Sport
3 History
4 Public transport
5 Landmarks and tourist information
6 Melbourne in fiction and music
7 Media
8 Famous Melburnians
9 Snippets
10 Related articles


Melbourne is located in the south-eastern corner of mainland Australia, and is the southernmost mainland capital city. It looks out on to Port Phillip Bay, its suburbs sprawling to the east, following the Yarra River out to the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges, south-east to the mouth of the bay, and following the Maribyrnong River and its tributaries west and north to flat farming country. The central business district (the original city) is laid out in the famous mile-by-half-a-mile Hoddle Grid, its southern edge fronting on to the Yarra.

Melbourne is a large commercial and industrial centre, with many of Australia's largest companies, and many multinational corporations (approximately one-third of the 100 largest multinationals operating in Australia as of 2002) headquartered there. It is home to Australia's largest seaport, several prominent universities (the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Deakin University, Victoria University, La Trobe University, RMIT University, and Swinburne University), and much of Australia's automotive industry (including the engine manufacturing facility of Holden, and the Ford and Toyota manufacturing facilities) amongst many other manufacturing industries.

The outer north-western suburb of Tullamarine hosts Melbourne's International Airport, from which most commercial flights into and out of Melbourne operate. A secondary airport is located at Avalon, to the south-west between Melbourne and Geelong. A cut-price airline has recently commenced using Avalon for its flights to Sydney and Brisbane. Melbourne's first major airport, Essendon Airport, is no longer used for scheduled international or domestic flights.

Culture and Sport

While having a large and vibrant arts and cultural life (notably including the yearly Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival), Melbourne is perhaps best known as one of the most sports-obsessed cities in the world. Melbourne is home to nine of the sixteen teams in the Australian Football League, whose five Melbourne games per week attract an average 35,000 people per game. Melbourne hosts the Australian Open tennis, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments; the Melbourne Cup - the most prestigious handicap horse race in the world; the hugely popular 'Boxing Day' cricket test match held each year from 26-30 December at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (a massive arena that can hold up to 100,000 spectators); the Australian Grand Prix Formula One championship. In 2003 it also co-hosted the Rugby Union World Cup, including many pool matches as well as a quarter final - all of which were played at the Telstra Dome. Melbourne has also broken new ground in the major events industry being the first city outside the United States to host the World Police and Fire Games 1995), and the President's Cup golf tournament (1999); and the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to host the World Cup Polo Championship (2001). The newest major sporting event to be brought to the city will be the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Melbourne was the only city in the Southern Hemisphere in which the Three Tenors (Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras) performed on their world tour in 1997.

To do: culture other than sport


Main article: History of Melbourne

Melbourne was founded in 1834 by a group of free settlers led by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, unlike many of Australia's capital cities which were founded as penal colonies (Adelaide is another notable exception). With the discovery of gold in central Victoria in the 1850s, leading to the Victorian gold rush, Melbourne quickly grew as a port to service the necessary trade. During the 1880s, Melbourne was the second largest city in the British Empire, and came to be known as "Marvellous Melbourne". Melbourne today is home to the largest number of surviving Victorian Era buildings of any city in the world other than London.

Melbourne became Australia's national capital at Federation on 1 January 1901. The first Federal parliament was opened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building. The seat of government and the national capital remained in Melbourne until 9 May 1927 when the provisional Parliament House was opened in the new capital city of Canberra.

Melbourne continued to expand steadily throughout the first half of the 20th century, particularly with the post-World War II influx of immigrants and the prestige of hosting the Olympic Games in 1956. This was the first time the Olympic Games had ever been held in the Southern Hemisphere (the only other time was when Sydney hosted the Games in 2000). Throughout the 1990s, the Victorian state government of Premier Jeff Kennett (Liberal) began a campaign with aggressive development of new public buildings (such as the Crown Casino, the Melbourne Museum, and the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre) and publicising Melbourne's merits both to outsiders and Melburnians. This has continued under the government of current Premier Steve Bracks (Labor).

Melbourne is split into various Local Government Areas each with their own Councils. One of these is the City of Melbourne - covering the central business district. The City's current Lord Mayor is John So, who was inaugurated in 2001, after the first direct election of a Lord Mayor for the city.

Melbourne is built on the land of the Kulin nation, the original Aboriginal inhabitants of the area.

See also: Timeline of Melbourne history.

Public transport

Melbourne's public transport is operated by one tram and one train company under a franchise from the State Government. The system was government-run until the late 1990s. There are many dozens of bus companies operating throughout the city. The system is currently being rebranded under the moniker 'Metlink'.

See the Metlink website for information on using Melbourne's public transport.

See also: List of Melbourne railway stations, List of Melbourne tram routes, Trams in Melbourne, Australia, and List of Melbourne bus routes

Landmarks and tourist information

While definitely lacking the natural beauty of Sydney's Harbour, or the beaches of the Gold Coast, Melbourne attracts large numbers of tourists, particularly young backpackers. It also hosts a disproportionate number of spectator sports.

Popular sites and events include:

See also: Tall buildings in Melbourne.


Melbourne's restaurants are numerous, and are generally of reasonable quality and good value. Below are some of the major restaurant strips, however there are many other restaurants not in these locations which offer similar or better-quality food and usually at lower cost. The Age newspaper produces two "Good Restaurant" guides - one for low-cost eating and another for more elaborate restaurants.

Cafes and nightlife

As one would expect from a city its size, Melbourne contains all manner of pubs, bars, and nightclubs. The CBD contains a wide variety of venues, from the ubiquitous faux-Irish pubs proliferating around the world, to some very upmarket establishments (such as the Supper Club, which offers all manner of exclusive wines at exclusive prices), serious jazz venues on Bennetts Lane, fashionable nightclubs and dance venues, and massive pickup joints (of which The Metro on Bourke Street is perhaps the biggest). The restaurant strips, particularly Brunswick Street have their own barss, some of which are the best rock venues in Melbourne. King Street, on the southern side of the CBD, was traditionally a nightclub strip and still hosts several, but many are now exotic dancing venues (a final note on this topic, small brothels are legal in Victoria and are found discreetly dotted throughout the suburbs). Chapel Street, Prahran, is perhaps the trendiest, most upmarket (and most expensive) nightlife strip. Another area of note is St Kilda, background for the TV show The Secret Life of Us, which is the home of several huge music venues including the famous Esplanade Hotel (known as 'the Espy'), the Prince of Wales, and The Palace. On its beachside setting, it also combines the upmarket with the grungy.

The recent influx of city-dwellers have given rise to the numerous underground bars and sidewalk cafes in the alleys between Flinders Street - Flinders Lane and Bourke Street - Lonsdale Street Notable alleys include Block Arcade/Block Place (off Little Collins Street), Degraves Street (off Flinders Lane), and Hardware Lane (between Bourke and Lonsdale Streets).

Melbourne is a reasonably cheap and easy place to shop. There are innumerable clothing shops for every budget, though bargain hunters may wish to try the outlet stores in Bridge Road, Richmond.

Close to Melbourne

There are a variety of interesting things to see outside Melbourne proper but still within a day trip of Melbourne:

To do: finish dining and nightlife areas, mention some of the day trips (Surf Coast, Phillip Island, Yarra Ranges, Winery Tours)

See also: Urban walks in Melbourne.

Melbourne in fiction and music

Melbourne has been the setting for many novels, television dramas, and films. Perhaps the best-known internationally is Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach. In 1959, it was made into a film starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and directed by Stanley Kramer. The film depicted the denizens of Melbourne quietly slipping off into eternity as the last victims of a global nuclear holocaust. Filmed on location in and around Melbourne (a huge novelty for Melbourne at the time), it is perhaps best remembered for a comment Ms. Gardner never made - describing Melbourne as 'the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world', commenting on the dreary conservatism of Melbourne in the late 1950s. The purported quote was invented by journalist Neil Jillett. Similar filming was undertaken when a 2000 television movie remake was produced.

Perhaps better known to a contemporary audience is the daily soap opera Neighbours, which presents a whitewashed microcosm of suburban Australian life. Other contemporary television shows set in Melbourne include Stingers (a police drama), The Secret Life of Us, and MDA.

Singer Paul Kelly has written several well-known songs about aspects of the city close to the heart of many Melburnians, notably "Leaps and Bounds" and "Saint Kilda to Kings Cross".

Although not set in Melbourne, the film Queen of the Damned was filmed in and around the city.


Melbourne's daily newspapers include the "small-l liberal" broadsheet The Age, and the Murdoch tabloid Herald Sun.

The three commercial television channels and the ABC produce a nightly news bulletin in Melbourne, and the Seven network produces one edition of its current affairs show Today Tonight there. The ABC also produces a weekly state-based current affairs show, Stateline, in Melbourne. The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) provides world news coverage, as well as an assortment of foreign film and television. Channel 31 is a public access which screens mostly foreign-language television for migrant communities, and amateur lifestyle programs. Melbourne has a wide range of radio stations. In terms of current affairs radio, the most notable locally-produced stations are ABC Local Radio (774 3LO) and 1278 3AW, both featuring extensive local news coverage and talkback. Australia's most successful community radio station, 3RRR, is a Melbourne institution. For years, JJJ has been extremely popular with Melbourne's youth, featuring mostly alternative or experimental music, and local talent. SYN FM, at 90.7 FM is another youth station, with its unique policy of having no person at the station older than 26; it is staffed entirely by youth and students, and the shows are presented by the same.

See also: List of Australian television channels, List of Australian radio stations.

Famous Melburnians


An Arctic Tern was found in October 1982 on Melbourne's beach. Ringed as a young chick not yet able to fly on the Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK in late June 1982, it had completed the 22,000km (shortest sea route) journey in no more than 3 months.

Related articles

Capital cities of Australia
Canberra Sydney Darwin Brisbane Adelaide Hobart Melbourne Perth
Other Australian cities