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" . The city's motto is the Latin "Vires acquirit eundo" which means "we gather strength as we go".
Melbourne has twice ranked first in a survey by The Economist of "The World's Most Livable Cities", once in 2002, and again in 2004.
Melbourne Facts & Figures
Central Business District (CBD)*
Area 2.52 sq.km
Total Resident Population
(31 December 1996 estimate) 2488
Total Floor Area (1992) 9 048 869 m²
Total Employment (1992) 142 252
Tallest Building Rialto, 505 -535 Collins Street (66 Levels/251 metres)
Oldest Building Mitre Tavern, 5-9 Bank Place (1837)
City of Melbourne*
Area 36.5 sq. km.
Total Resident Population (31 December 1996 estimate) 39 100
Total Length of Roads 315 km
Total Area of Parkland 563 ha.
Area 7 826.5 sq. km.
Estimated Resident Population (June 1996) 3 248 811
Brief facts about Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria, Australia. Covering an area of 7,280 sq kilometre, it is home to 3.2 million people from diverse backgrounds and interests.
Melbourne's economic and political centre is located within the municipal boundaries of the City of Melbourne, an area of 36.5 sq kilometres, which encompasses the Central Business District, some of Melbourne most historic suburbs, the Southbank precinct site of new residential development with its own postcode 3006, and a casino. As well as most of Melbourne's famous sporting venues and its world famous parks and gardens.
Central Equity Ltd, Melbourne leading developer of inner city apartments, has contributed the majority of the Southbank residential developments, and continues to provide quality and value added apartments for those who seeks an inner city lifestyle. Central Equity has also many developments in the South Melbourne area, a suburb that has attracted much attention with the "young and professionally mobile group" in Melbourne.
Melbourne, the Garden State, is noted for its diversity, vitality, and sophistication, all of which have made it one of the world's most liveable cities.
The government of the City of Melbourne is the Melbourne City Council, which, as Victoria's capital city council, speaks on behalf of all Melbourne local, national and international forums.
The City of Melbourne, working in conjunction with other local municipalities, is committed to ensuring that this Melbourne is one of the safest, healthiest, and cleanest in the world. It supports Melbourne's position as Australia's pre-eminent centre for arts and culture, education, fine food and dining and exciting shopping experiences.
Melbourne is the ideal location for international business, embracing a pro-business attitude. With an excellent strategic location in the Asia Pacific region, Melbourne is also the nation's transport hub a legacy for its highly developed infrastructure. It has a sophisticated industry base and skilled workforce, and offers low costs for doing business. Both the State government and the city of Melbourne actively encourage business opportunities and aim to make Melbourne the centre of business activity in the Southern Hemisphere.
Over the year of 1998/1999, Melbourne has successfully attracted 48 major conferences to Victoria, and that is an anticipated number of 45,600 delegates, which will definitely see an inflow of dollars and adds to the social growth on a whole. Melbourne has consistently ranked in the top ten of international convention destinations and is currently ranked 3 in advance bookings for the year 2001.
This is an indication that Melbourne is not only the place to live, but also for business and leisure activities. It has the infrastructures and facilities to hold large event and conduct business. Australia as a whole has abundance of entrepreneurial skills and spirit which is potentially ideal for economic growth and is geographically proximate centred relative to the rest of the states in the Australia.
Melbourne has also fostered Sister City relationships with 5 other cities in the world. The relationships are built to transcend political boundaries and celebrate and ethnic difference. The City of Melbourne's sister cities are Osaka (Japan), Tianjin (China), Thessaloniki (Greece), Boston (USA) and St Petersburg (Russia).
Leisure and Entertainment
Passionately devoted to sport, and the arts, the people of Melbourne enjoy a wealth of both in a surprising number of venues indoors and out.
The following describes Melbourne at its best (www.melbourne.vic.gov.au):
Built on two waterways, the Yarra River and the Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne has always been bother a bustling seaport and city pre-occupied with river-bank activities. On sunny summer morning's well-dressed executives from nearby city offices breakfast in groups by the water, while cyclists and joggers follow paths hugging the river's edge. With the city skyline as a backdrop, the scene is one of extraordinary beauty and tranquillity.
Some of Melbourne's sense of fun, and individual character is evident during the Spring Racing Carnival, particularly at the running of the Melbourne Cup in November, when high fashion and mad hats are the order of the day. Another fine example of Melbourne at its individual best is during the Aussie rules footy season. Played during the winter months, the Grand Final regularly attracts crowds in excess of 100,000 Melburnians, each one barracking and bawling instructions from the stands.
Melbourne has also come to be known as one of the restaurant capitals of the world. A rich multicultural population has contributed, and there is barely a cultural dish that cannot be found. A city that can play host to an international tennis match one day, and stage an outdoor concert for the Three Tenors the next, is just a taste of what is available at any one time in the "world's most livable city".
The city of Melbourne is the home, workplace and leisure centre of one of the world's most harmonious communities. Internationally renowned as a livable city, Melbourne is also regarded as one of the friendliest cities in the world.
Melbourne also offers world class education system. Australia has become a top preference for parents to send their children to obtain high standard of education. Melbourne ranks highly on the list in safety, affordability, geographically proximate compared to, say, European countries. Best of all is the balanced lifestyle with plenty to do.
Central Equity is a reputable provider of inner city living has responded to the demand of inner city apartments. Given the changing demographics, there is a general increasing trend to switch from the traditional house & land ownership in the outer suburb to a low maintenance prestigious apartment located in the "heart of the action". Also increased migration, a more mobile work force and higher international students numbers are drivers of demand.
Central Equity delivers apartments of high quality, affordable and located in Melbourne addresses that many would envy. Most apartments have spectacular views of the city and the bays, which is ideal for living and especially entertaining. As owner-occupier or investors of Central Equity apartments do reap the rewards of living so close to everything Melbourne has to offer as described earlier.
Melbourne -When to Go
Just about any time of year is a good one to visit. Melbourne's climate has an unfortunate reputation: wet, windy, unpredictable and liable to extremes - very hot or very cold and often both on the same day! On the plus side, Melbourne's multitude of parks makes it a beautiful place to witness the changing seasons: it is rarely unbearably chilly, the mercury rises above 35°C (95°F) only a few times each year and Melbourne's soggy reputation outstrips the reality - it receives only half the average rainfall of Sydney or Brisbane. In winter the average temperature ranges between a maximum of 13°C (55°F) and a low of 6°C (43°F).
With the northern states taking the brunt of tourism down under, Melbourne is a best-kept secret year round. The shoulder seasons are the gems. While Melbourne's spring is a sight to behold, with multitudes of gardens in bloom and the festive Spring Racing Carnival heralding summer, any local will tell you that mid-autumn sees Melbourne at its most resplendent. A sturdy coat never goes astray at this time, but a little cold is worth bearing for the strolls through the amber and ochre parks.
Getting There & Away
Most international tourists will arrive via Melbourne's Tullamarine airport which is is 22km (14mi) northwest of the city centre. There are a few ways of getting into the city from the airport but a taxi or the 24-hour Skybus are the most convenient modes. A second airport, Avalon Airport, southwest of the city, opened in mid-2004 and the Sunbus service meets all flights that arrive there.
Bus travel within Australia is fairly cheap but Australia is a big country and what you save in dollars you pay for in boredom, as journeys can be agonisingly long. Trains are much quicker and more comfortable but the network is less extensive. Of course, there's always the option of hiring a car and taking to the wide open road by hitting the (largely excellent) highways between cities.
The country's train system is less extensive than the bus network and train travel is more expensive, but it's often quicker and almost always more pleasant than slogging it out on a bus. Interstate rail services really only operate between capital cities. Major centres in Victoria are serviced by trains, and the areas that don't have train lines can be reached by V/Line (the train company) bus.
The interstate train station (Spencer St) and the main metropolitan station (Flinders St) are both in the city centre.
Bus travel is the cheapest way to get around, but Australia is a big country and it can be slow and tedious. Buses tend to travel the major highways, which can make the trip even more boring. Buses arrive in Melbourne from other Australian capitals, Victorian towns and tourist favourites like Alice Springs and Cairns. Small bus companies travel slower, more scenic routes such as the Great Ocean Road, through the Victorian High Country, along the east coast and through central Australia.
If you're driving yourself, the main highways into Melbourne are the Hume (inland) or the Princes (coastal) from Sydney, and the Western (inland) or Princes (coastal) from Adelaide. Driving is on the left.
Two ferries run between Melbourne and Devonport, in northern Tasmania.
Dividing the year into seasons, summer sees outdoor evening performances of plays, Carols by Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, cricket at the MCG, the Australian Open tennis championship, the Summer Music Festival at the Victorian Arts Centre, horse races at Hanging Rock, the St Kilda Festival, the Victoria St Lunar Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, the three-week long gay and lesbian Midsumma Festival, the Australian Grand Prix and the Moomba family festival. Autumn features the Greek Antipodes Festival, Garden Week, football, the International Comedy Festival, more football and Heritage Week.
Winter brings even more football and the International Film Festival. Spring sees the football finals (phew), the Melbourne International Festival, the Royal Melbourne Show, Oktoberfest, the Spring Racing Carnival (including the Melbourne Cup), the Italian Lygon St Festa and the Hispanic Community Festival.
Melbourne's an easy city to navigate unless you need to be in the suburbs, which can get confusing. It's designed in the classic mould: the thoroughfares fan out like the spokes of a wheel from the central business district. Public transport consists of trams, trains and buses and tends to be efficient and useful - as long as your trip is along one of the spokes of the wheel. Public transport across suburbs can be a problem.
Melbourne's metropolitan train lines fan out into the surrounding suburbs and operate an efficient service. Last trains leave the city around midnight.
Buses are clean and efficient and include the 'Nightrider' bus service, which runs from the city to the outlying suburbs from midnight to dawn and is aimed at getting revellers home safely.
You can hire a car from the usual car-rental places or the rent-a-bomb variety. Be aware that driving in Melbourne can be confusing, particularly with the unique hook turns necessary in the city centre; traffic turning right must often do so from the left lane to avoid blocking tram tracks. If you are driving alongside a tram, you must stop when trams pull up to a tram stop, leaving the tram doorways clear for passengers to disembark safely. If you are using Melbourne's tollway road, CityLink, in the east (South-Eastern Fwy) and west (Tullamarine Fwy), ensure you have a day pass or an electronic pass ('e-Tag'), or you may be fined.
Melbourne has a plethora of cabs, which can be hailed on the street or booked by phone. There is a designated taxi rank at Flinders Street Station.
Melbourne's generally flat terrain makes cycling a popular option for getting around, and there are good bike tracks, but watch out for those tram tracks and make sure your wheels don't get caught.
Melbourne's trams are a source of city pride and run on a fairly efficient and broad network within the city and the inner city suburbs. Coin-only ticket machines are installed on trams.
Events in Melbourne
Summer in Melbourne sees outdoor evening performances of plays, Carols by Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, cricket at the MCG, the Australian Open tennis championship, St Kilda Festival, Victoria Street Lunar Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations and the three-week-long gay and lesbian Midsumma Festival. Autumn features the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, the Moomba Family Festival, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the Greek Antipodes Festival, the start of the football season, the International Flower and Garden Show and the International Comedy Festival.
Winter brings football, the Melbourne International Film Festival and the Melbourne Writers' Festival. Spring sees the football finals (phew), Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Royal Melbourne Show, Oktoberfest, Spring Racing Carnival (including the Melbourne Cup), Italian Lygon St Festa and Hispanic Community Festival.
1 Jan - New Year's Day
26 Jan - Australia Day
Mar - 1st or 2nd Mon - Labour Day
Mar/Apr - Good Friday
Mar/Apr - Easter Monday
25 Apr - Anzac Day
2nd Mon in Jun - Queen's Birthday
1st Tue in Nov - Melbourne Cup Day
25 Dec - Christmas Day
26 Dec - Boxing Day
Although mystery surrounds many aspects of Australian prehistory, it seems certain that the first humans came here across the sea from southeast Asia around 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. There were about 38 tribal groups living around Victoria when white people arrived. Aborigines were traditionally tribal people living in extended family groups and using the environment sustainably. It is believed that Aboriginal people were the first to make polished, edge-ground, stone tools, to cremate their dead and to engrave and paint representations of themselves and animals. Although their society was technologically simple, it was culturally sophisticated, using complex ceremonies which integrated religion, history, law, art and codes of behaviour.
Aboriginal people around Victoria resisted white settlement (which began in 1803), and although some settlements had to be abandoned, the original inhabitants were really just postponing the inevitable. Soon after white settlement, the Aboriginal people were dispossessed of their lands, struck down by introduced diseases and massacred in their thousands. Estimates suggest that the pre-contact Victorian Aboriginal population was between 60,000 and 100,000. Between 1834 and 1860, this figure dropped from 15,000 to 2000, and by the 1880s there were just over 800 Aborigines left in the state.
Melbourne was established in 1835 by a group of Tasmanian entrepreneurs, and is the youngest city of its size in the world. Although the settlement was not named until 1837, its characteristic grid layout was imposed by military surveyor Robert Hoddle the same year, and by 1840 over 10,000 people had been attracted to the area. The colony of Victoria was formed in 1851, with Melbourne as its capital, neatly coinciding with the discovery of gold, which swiftly and inexorably transformed them both.
The gold-rush brought a huge influx of immigrants from around the world, and the wealth it generated created a city of extravagant proportions. In 30 years the designs of the city's architects, the skills of its many European tradespeople and the designation of large areas of the city for public parkland had established what was known as 'Marvellous Melbourne - the Paris of the Antipodes'. This progress was, however, temporarily halted in 1890 by the first of the many devastating financial crashes that have afflicted the city.
The ethnic mix of Melbourne's population has always been an important influence on the city's character: the Chinese and Irish diggers attracted by gold in the 19th century and the postwar wave of refugees and migrants from all over Europe (particularly Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, Turkey and Poland), and more recently from Vietnam and Cambodia, have all contributed elements of their cultures to what could otherwise have been a conservative, passionless English society. These influences are witnessed in Melbourne's robust and varied architecture, restaurants, festivals and entertainment.
After WWII, Melbourne went into a long period of stable, occasionally complacent, conservative government. Although the city's political establishment liked to think it was the centre of national gravity, in fact Sydney gradually took precedence on the national scale until it became clear, by the 1960s, that Melbourne's star had been eclipsed. A strong rivalry between the two cities still occasionally surfaces.
Conservative dominance continued until the '80s, when the Labor party took office and the city hit boom times. Land prices just kept going up, and so did buildings, until 1990 when the whole thing fell in a heap. In 1992 radical conservative autocrat Jeff Kennett took the reins, provoking ire and admiration in seemingly equal doses. Under Kennett, Melbourne waved goodbye to social services and healthcare, and hello to the Grand Prix and the Crown Casino.
Kennett's Liberal government was comprehensively ousted in 1999's state election, and a refurbished Labor party is now busily reinventing Victoria in the Blairite mould of moderately progressive, strongly pro-business centre-left government. Large construction projects have continued unabated, fuelling another one of those regular property booms that have created and decimated fortunes ever since the city was established. Many of the holes in the inner city business district are being redeveloped; one of the newest developments is Federation Square, an architecturally innovative if controversial use of public cultural space.
The city continues to support a healthy cultural scene, especially in the fields of cinema and contemporary music.
There are so many interesting places in Melbourne including the Yarra River, Old Melbourne Gaol, the "G" better known as the MCG, home to the 1956 Olympic Games and Australian Rules Football.
The city centre consists of a 7 sq km (3 sq mi) rectangular grid of streets bordered by the Yarra to the south, the Spencer St railway station to the west and the Fitzroy Gardens to the east. Two of Melbourne's most obvious central landmarks are the recently renovated Flinders St Station and the neo-Gothic St Paul's Cathedral. North of these buildings lies the continuing saga that is the badly planned city square (construction of a hotel/apartment/shopping complex on the verge of completion), the boom-years' Town Hall, the domed and pillared building containing the State Library and the flamboyant City Baths.
Other city attractions include the bustling Queen Victoria Market on the northern fringe of the CBD; views from the 35th floor of the Sofitel Hotel at the eastern end of Collins St (especially from the toilets!); the mammoth Treasury and State Parliament House buildings; Scots and St Michael's churches; the 19th-century Block Arcade, which runs between Collins and Elizabeth Sts; the collection of Gothic-revival banks on the corner of Collins and Queen Sts; and the landmark Rialto Towers (now boasting an observation deck) at the western end of Collins St. At the top end of Russell St there's the atmospheric Old Melbourne Gaol. Other historic buildings include the Old Customs House, St James Cathedral and the Old Royal Mint.
The focus of Melbourne is slowly shifting to the south bank of the Yarra, which has seen large scale construction and the influx of huge sums of money and political will. The Victorian Arts Centre buildings and the National Gallery of Victoria are both on the south bank. The aliens-are-coming spire of the arts centre's theatre building is probably Melbourne's most famous landmark.
Opposite the arts precinct are the Royal Botanic Gardens - considered to be among the finest in the world - and Kings Domain, which contains the Shrine of Remembrance, Governor La Trobe's Cottage and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. The Southgate complex of shops, wine bars, snack stalls and restaurants line the Yarra's bank. Melbourne's gigantic Crown Casino entertainment complex is nearby.
The inner suburbs of Carlton, Fitzroy and Richmond are all recommended for their architecture, restaurants and atmosphere. Carlton is the Italian centre, full of pasta & spaghetti bars, muscle cars and slick Italian clothing stores. Victoria St in Richmond is the vibrant Vietnamese centre, chock full of budget restaurants, and the focus of the Lunar New Year celebrations in January-February. Fitzroy is now a magnet for the urban cool, cafe dwellers and property renovators, but was once the working-class heart of Melbourne.
St Kilda is a day trip in itself. For years it was Melbourne's sex and sin centre - drunks, drugs, girls, shady deals and shady characters abounded - but the suburb is slowly being rejuvenated. Fitzroy St retains traces of its former tarnished character, although today you're more likely to be sipping a crisp white and dining on rocket salad than slugging a beer and looking for action. There is a string of average beaches running from St Kilda back into the city, including Middle Park, Albert Park and Port Melbourne. Luna Park, near St Kilda Beach, is an old-fashioned fairground that's fun for kids and coltish adults.
The City of Melbourne has been awarded two distinguished awards, "Best city in the world" and "Most live-able city in the world". Melbournians come from almost every country in the world creating a vibrant and diverse city of people proud to call Melbourne home.
Planning to live in Melbourne?
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