Capital of the state of Victoria, Australia; population (2001 est) 3,366,500. Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne is situated on the southeast coast of Australia, on Port Philip Bay, at the mouth of the River Yarra. It is separated from Tasmania by the Bass Strait. Industries include engineering, shipbuilding, electronics (including major production of computers), papermaking and printing, oil refining, food processing, brewing, flour-milling, and the manufacture of chemicals, cars, furniture, plastics, textiles, and clothing. The port of Melbourne at the mouth of the Yarra River is the largest handler of general cargo and the largest receiver of container vessels in Australia.
History Melbourne was founded in 1835 and named, in 1837, after the British prime minister, Lord Melbourne. The first settlement in 1835 was by John Batman, a sheep farmer from Tasmania, who, with John Pascoe Fawkner, purchased 44,000 ha/109,000 acres from Aborigines and began to farm on ground that is now covered by the city. Melbourne was created a city by letters patent of Queen Victoria, dated 25 June 1847 and issued when it was made the see of a bishop of the Church of England. It became state capital in 1851.
The city grew rapidly after the discovery of gold at Ballarat and Bendigo in the early 1850s; it was the capital of Australia from 1901 to 1927, when Parliament moved to the newly created national capital, Canberra. During World War II, the city was the Allied forces' headquarters for the South Pacific. Melbourne was the first port in Australia to build specialist facilities for container ships, in 1969.
Features The city's characteristic grid layout was imposed by military surveyor Robert Hoddle in 1837. Much of central Melbourne was designed by Robert Russell, a pupil of John Nash, and has many fine 19th-century buildings. Notable buildings include Melbourne Town Hall (1867–70), rebuilt after a fire in 1924; the Treasury Building (1861); the Customs House (1872); the Public Library (1854), the oldest public library in Australia; the Exhibition Building, opened in 1880 for the Great Melbourne International Exhibition, and the Centennial Exhibition in 1888; Parliament House (1856). Other features include the Shrine of Remembrance (1934), St Paul's Anglican Cathedral (opened in 1891, with spires added in 1926–31). The Royal Botanic Gardens (founded 1845) were designed by the German botanist Baron Frederick von Müller, who established relations with similar institutions all over the world. They cover 52 ha/128 acres and contain 10,000 species of plants, representing 2,000 genera. They include a national herbarium which is the most complete extant collection of Australian dried plants. Melbourne also has a zoo (opened in 1862), the oldest existing zoo in Australia.
Melbourne has seven universities, including the University of Melbourne (1853), Monash University (1961, the largest university in Australia), La Trobe University (1964), Deakin University (1992), Victoria University of Technology (1994), and Swinburne Institute of Technology (granted university status in 1992). The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (established in 1887) was also granted university status in 1992. The Australian Mint used to be in Melbourne, but is now in Canberra.
A music conservatory was founded in 1910 and endowed by Dame Nellie Melba. The Victorian Arts Centre (opened in 1982) has a concert hall, three theatres, and a performing arts centre, and is the base of the Australian Ballet. There is also an art gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria (opened in 1968), and the Melbourne art museum opened in 2000.
Melbourne Cricket Ground dates from 1853; it was the venue in 1877 for the first Australia–England 11-player cricket match. The Melbourne Cup horse race, first run in 1861, is held annually in November at Flemington racecourse. The first official Australian Rules Football match was played in Melbourne in 1858 and a century later in 1956 the city hosted the Olympic Games.
Melbourne's principal airport is Tullamarine Airport, an international and domestic terminal (opened in 1970). The smaller Essondon airport opened in 1921 and is still in use. Trams were first introduced in 1873, and apart from Geelong, Melbourne is the only Australian city to retain a tram service.
Demography Melbourne has a significant concentration of immigrants from Greece (3.5% of the population), Italy (3.8%), and the former Yugoslavia (2%).
City of Melbourne
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