Melbourne, the capital city of the state of Victoria, is the second most populous city in Australia. Located in the south-eastern quarter of the mainland, Melbourne geologically rests on the confluence of lava flows, mudstones and sand accumulation, all part of the violent action by volcanoes over several millennia in the past.
The south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne sit on the Selwyn fault that transects Cranbourne and Mount Martha.
Extending along the Yarra River towards the valley, Melbourne’s City Centre is situated near the northernmost point of the estuary of the Yarra. The metropolitan area and major bayside beaches are all situated along the shores of Port Phillip Bay. The municipalities number about 30 and each fronting suburbs are many, Albert Park, Brighton, Elwood, Frankston, Mentone, Port Melbourne and Sandringham are some of them.
A leading financial centre of the country and in the Asia Pacific region, Melbourne’s eastern and western suburbs has consistently been ranked among the ‘world’s most livable cities’ over the past decade. Melbourne is ranked very high across many areas of development, chiefly, development, education, entertainment, financial, healthcare, research, sports and tourism and is tied with Oslo as the world’s fourth most expensive city.
The airport in Melbourne is the second busiest terminal for passenger traffic and the Port of Melbourne is the busiest harbor and sea terminal for cargo and container traffic. The world’s largest tram network still functions in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s history and its federation into the British Commonwealth
The city was founded in 1835 by settlers from Launceston, UK and incorporated as a Crown Settlement. Named Melbourne in honor of the British Prime Minister, the 2nd Viscount Melbourne William Lamb, it was declared a city in 1847 by Queen Victoria; in 1851 it became the capital of the Colony of Victoria.
Australia became a federation of the Commonwealth in 1901 and Melbourne became the seat of government. From 1901 till 1927 parliaments were convened here till it was moved to Canberra. The Governor-General’s office and many other national institutions functioned out of Melbourne till 1930 and beyond, before Canberra was declared the new capital.
The Victorian Gold Rush
The Victorian Gold Rush began in 1851 and Melbourne suddenly found itself at the forefront of trade providing services for the region and many parts of the world. Within no time, the population doubled as gold rushers were quick to seize the opportunity and by 1865 Melbourne’s population overtook that of Sydney.
The post-war years after World War II, Melbourne’s expansion became phenomenal as people from southern Europe and the Mediterranean migrated to the southern hemisphere to escape the harsh realities of the war that many European countries were struggling to cope with. Economy was sluggish, industry was stagnating and Australia seemed like the place to be in. Many regulations were relaxed to allow development on all fronts; soon skyscrapers, malls and many outlets in fashion and food from the West appeared in Melbourne, making it thrive and boom.
Melbourne has seen significant population increase and employment opportunities rise over the last two to three decades. The city’s industries and property markets are witnessing substantial overseas investment and the suburbs and rapidly expanding as more and more urban areas get included. The financial meltdown of the mid 2000s did not affect Melbourne as much as it did some other Australian cities, boosting its image as the first choice of emigration for foreigners wishing to settle and work there.
Often referred to as Australia’s culture capital, its reputation as an international centre for arts held good for many years. In more recent times, it has received recognition as a UNESCO City of Literature, Performing and Visual Arts. Many old and iconic institutions and landmarks dot the city – Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Cricket Ground, National Gallery of Victoria and the Royal Exhibition Building.
The city of Melbourne is made up of distinct division of a city centre and a number of city suburbs called precincts. The city centre is home to a number of businesses, personal establishments, entertainment and tourist facilities which operate on 24-hour basis. Several precincts dot the city, like Greek, Italian and Chinatown, with their own varied and unique charm, character and color.