Home to Indigenous Australians
for over 40,000 years, the Melbourne area served as a popular meeting place for local Kulin nation
clans. A short-lived penal settlement
was built at Port Phillip, then part of the British colony
of New South Wales
, in 1803, but it was not until 1835, with the arrival of free settlers from Van Diemen’s Land
), that Melbourne was founded.
It was incorporated as a Crown
settlement in 1837, and named after the then British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
In 1851, four years after Queen Victoria
declared it a city, Melbourne became the capital of the new colony of Victoria.
During the 1850s Victorian gold rush
, the city entered a lengthy boom period that, by the late 1880s, had transformed it into one of the world's largest and wealthiest metropolises.
After the federation of Australia
in 1901, it served as the interim seat of government
of the new nation until Canberra
became the permanent capital in 1927.
Today, it is a leading financial centre
in the Asia-Pacific
region and ranks 27th globally in the 2020 Global Financial Centres Index
Early history and foundation
In May and June 1835, John Batman
, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association
in Van Diemen's Land, explored the Melbourne area, and later claimed to have negotiated a purchase
of 600,000 acres (2,400 km2
) with eight Wurundjeri elders.
Batman selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River
, declaring that "this will be the place for a village" before returning to Van Diemen's Land.
In August 1835, another group of Vandemonian settlers arrived in the area and established a settlement at the site of the current Melbourne Immigration Museum
. Batman and his group arrived the following month and the two groups ultimately agreed to share the settlement, initially known by the native name of Dootigala.
Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by Richard Bourke
, the Governor of New South Wales
(who at the time governed all of eastern mainland Australia), with compensation paid to members of the association.
In 1836, Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District
of New South Wales, and commissioned the first plan for its urban layout, the Hoddle Grid
, in 1837.
Known briefly as Batmania,
the settlement was named Melbourne on 10 April 1837 by Governor Richard Bourke
after the British Prime Minister
, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
, whose seat
was Melbourne Hall
in the market town
. That year, the settlement's general post office
officially opened with that name.
Between 1836 and 1842, Victorian Aboriginal groups were largely dispossessed of their land by European settlers.
By January 1844, there were said to be 675 Aborigines resident in squalid camps in Melbourne.
The British Colonial Office appointed five Aboriginal Protectors
for the Aborigines of Victoria, in 1839, however, their work was nullified by a land policy that favoured squatters
who took possession of Aboriginal lands.
By 1845, fewer than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licences then issued in Victoria and became a powerful political and economic force in Victoria for generations to come.
Victorian gold rush
South Melbourne's "Canvas Town" provided temporary accommodation for the thousands of migrants who arrived each week during the 1850s gold rush.
A large crowd outside the Victorian Supreme Court, celebrating the release of the Eureka rebels
The discovery of gold in Victoria in mid-1851 sparked a gold rush
, and Melbourne, the colony's major port, experienced rapid growth. Within months, the city's population had nearly doubled from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants.
Exponential growth ensued, and by 1865 Melbourne had overtaken Sydney
as Australia's most populous city.
An influx of intercolonial and international migrants, particularly from Europe and China, saw the establishment of slums, including Chinatown
and a temporary "tent city" on the southern banks of the Yarra. In the aftermath of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion
, mass public support for the plight of the miners resulted in major political changes to the colony, including improvements in working conditions across mining, agriculture, manufacturing and other local industries. At least twenty nationalities took part in the rebellion, giving some indication of immigration flows at the time.
With the wealth brought in from the gold rush and the subsequent need for public buildings, a program of grand civic construction soon began. The 1850s and 1860s saw the commencement of Parliament House
, the Treasury Building
, the Old Melbourne Gaol
, Victoria Barracks
, the State Library
, University of Melbourne
, General Post Office
, Customs House
, the Melbourne Town Hall
, St Patrick's
cathedral, though many remained uncompleted for decades, with some still not finished as of 2018.
The layout of the inner suburbs on a largely one-mile grid pattern, cut through by wide radial boulevards and parklands surrounding the central city, was largely established[by whom?]
in the 1850s and 1860s. These areas rapidly filled with the ubiquitous terrace houses, as well as with detached houses and grand mansions, while some of the major roads developed as shopping streets. Melbourne quickly became a major finance centre, home to several banks, the Royal Mint
, and (in 1861) Australia's first stock exchange
In 1855, the Melbourne Cricket Club
secured possession of its now famous ground, the MCG
. Members of the Melbourne Football Club
codified Australian football
and in 1861, the first Melbourne Cup
race was held. Melbourne acquired its first public monument, the Burke and Wills
statue, in 1864.
With the gold rush largely over by 1860, Melbourne continued to grow on the back of continuing gold-mining, as the major port for exporting the agricultural products of Victoria (especially wool) and with a developing manufacturing sector protected by high tariffs. An extensive radial railway network spread into the countryside from the late 1850s. Construction started on further major public buildings in the 1860s and 1870s, such as the Supreme Court
, Government House
, and the Queen Victoria Market
. The central city filled up with shops and offices, workshops, and warehouses. Large banks and hotels faced the main streets, with fine townhouses in the east end of Collins Street, contrasting with tiny cottages down laneways within the blocks. The Aboriginal population continued to decline, with an estimated 80% total decrease by 1863, due primarily to introduced diseases (particularly smallpox
), frontier violence and dispossession of their lands.
Land boom and bust
lined with buildings from the "Marvellous Melbourne" era
The 1880s saw extraordinary growth: consumer confidence, easy access to credit, and steep increases in land prices led to an enormous amount of construction. During this "land boom", Melbourne reputedly became the richest city in the world,
and the second-largest (after London) in the British Empire
The decade began with the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880, held in the large purpose-built Exhibition Building
. A telephone exchange was established that year, and the foundations of St Paul's
were laid. In 1881, electric light was installed in the Eastern Market
, and a generating station capable of supplying 2,000 incandescent lamps was in operation by 1882.
The Melbourne cable tramway system
opened in 1885 and became one of the world's most extensive systems by 1890.
In 1885, visiting English journalist George Augustus Henry Sala
coined the phrase "Marvellous Melbourne", which stuck long into the twentieth century and has come to refer to the opulence and energy of the 1880s,
during which time large commercial buildings, grand hotels, banks, coffee palaces
, terrace housing
and palatial mansions proliferated in the city.
The establishment of a hydraulic facility in 1887 allowed for the local manufacture of elevators, resulting in the first construction of high-rise buildings
such as the 12-story APA Building
, among the world's tallest commercial buildings upon completion in 1889.
This period also saw the expansion of a major radial rail-based transport network.
Melbourne's land-boom peaked in 1888,
the year it hosted the Centennial Exhibition. A brash boosterism
that had typified Melbourne during this time ended in the early 1890s with a severe economic depression, sending the local finance- and property-industries into a period of chaos.
Sixteen small "land banks" and building societies collapsed, and 133 limited companies went into liquidation. The Melbourne financial crisis was a contributing factor in the Australian economic depression of the 1890s
and in the Australian banking crisis of 1893
. The effects of the depression on the city were profound, with virtually no new construction until the late 1890s.
De facto capital of Australia
, a symbol of progress and modernity in post-war Melbourne
Height limits in the CBD were lifted in 1958, after the construction of ICI House
, transforming the city's skyline with the introduction of skyscrapers. Suburban expansion then intensified, served by new indoor malls beginning with Chadstone Shopping Centre
The post-war period also saw a major renewal of the CBD and St Kilda Road
which significantly modernised the city.
New fire regulations and redevelopment saw most of the taller pre-war CBD buildings either demolished or partially retained through a policy of facadism
. Many of the larger suburban mansions from the boom era were also either demolished or subdivided.
To counter the trend towards low-density suburban residential growth, the government began a series of controversial public housing projects in the inner city by the Housing Commission of Victoria
, which resulted in the demolition of many neighbourhoods and a proliferation of high-rise towers.
In later years, with the rapid rise of motor vehicle ownership, the investment in freeway and highway developments greatly accelerated the outward suburban sprawl and declining inner-city population. The Bolte
government sought to rapidly accelerate the modernisation of Melbourne. Major road projects including the remodelling of St Kilda Junction
, the widening of Hoddle Street
and then the extensive 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan
changed the face of the city into a car-dominated environment.
Australia's financial and mining booms during 1969 and 1970 resulted in establishment of the headquarters of many major companies (BHP Billiton
and Rio Tinto
, among others) in the city. Nauru
's then booming economy resulted in several ambitious investments in Melbourne, such as Nauru House
Melbourne remained Australia's main business and financial centre until the late 1970s, when it began to lose this primacy to Sydney.
Melbourne experienced an economic downturn between 1989 and 1992, following the collapse of several local financial institutions. In 1992, the newly elected Kennett
government began a campaign to revive the economy with an aggressive development campaign of public works coupled with the promotion of the city as a tourist destination with a focus on major events and sports tourism.
During this period the Australian Grand Prix
moved to Melbourne from Adelaide. Major projects included the construction of a new facility for the Melbourne Museum
, Federation Square
, the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre
, Crown Casino
and the 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, education and public transport infrastructure.
Since the mid-1990s, Melbourne has maintained significant population and employment growth. There has been substantial international investment in the city's industries and property market. Major inner-city urban renewal has occurred in areas such as Southbank
, Port Melbourne
, Melbourne Docklands
and more recently, South Wharf
. Melbourne sustained the highest population increase and economic growth rate of any Australian capital city from 2001 to 2004.
From 2006, the growth of the city extended into "green wedges" and beyond the city's urban growth boundary
. Predictions of the city's population reaching 5 million people pushed the state government to review the growth boundary in 2008 as part of its Melbourne @ Five Million strategy.
In 2009, Melbourne was less affected by the late-2000s financial crisis
in comparison to other Australian cities. At this time, more new jobs were created in Melbourne than any other Australian city—almost as many as the next two fastest growing cities, Brisbane and Perth, combined,
and Melbourne's property market remained highly priced,
resulting in historically high property prices and widespread rent increases.
In 2020, Melbourne was classified as an Alpha city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network
Out of all major Australian cities, Melbourne has been worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
A panoramic view of the Docklands and city skyline from Waterfront City, looking across Victoria Harbour
Map of Melbourne and Geelong
Melbourne's major bayside beaches are in the various suburbs along the shores of Port Phillip Bay, in areas like Port Melbourne
, Albert Park
, St Kilda
and Werribee South. The nearest surf
beaches are 85 kilometres (53 mi) south of the Melbourne CBD in the back-beaches of Rye
at Brighton Beach
after an autumn rain storm. Melbourne is said to have "four seasons in one day" due to its changeable weather.
Melbourne has a temperate oceanic climate
(Köppen climate classification Cfb
) with warm to hot summers and mild winters.
Melbourne is well known for its changeable weather conditions
, mainly due to it being located on the boundary of hot inland areas and the cool southern ocean. This temperature differential is most pronounced in the spring and summer months and can cause strong cold fronts
to form. These cold fronts can be responsible for varied forms of severe weather from gales
, large temperature drops and heavy rain. Winters, however, are usually very stable, but rather damp and often cloudy.
is often warmer than the surrounding oceans and/or the land mass, particularly in spring and autumn; this can set up a "bay effect", similar to the "lake effect
" seen in colder climates, where showers are intensified leeward of the bay. Relatively narrow streams of heavy showers can often affect the same places (usually the eastern suburbs) for an extended period, while the rest of Melbourne and surrounds stays dry. Overall, Melbourne is, owing to the rain shadow
of the Otway Ranges
, nonetheless drier than average for southern Victoria. Within the city and surrounds, rainfall varies widely, from around 425 millimetres (17 in) at Little River
to 1,250 millimetres (49 in) on the eastern fringe at Gembrook
. Melbourne receives 48.6 clear days annually. Dewpoint temperatures in the summer range from 9.5 to 11.7 °C (49.1 to 53.1 °F).
Melbourne is also prone to isolated convective showers forming when a cold pool crosses the state, especially if there is considerable daytime heating. These showers are often heavy and can include hail, squalls, and significant drops in temperature, but they often pass through very quickly with a rapid clearing trend to sunny and relatively calm weather and the temperature rising back to what it was before the shower. This can occur in the space of minutes and can be repeated many times a day, giving Melbourne a reputation for having "four seasons in one day",
a phrase that is part of local popular culture
The lowest temperature on record is −2.8 °C (27.0 °F), on 21 July 1869.
The highest temperature recorded in Melbourne city was 46.4 °C (115.5 °F), on 7 February 2009
While snow is occasionally seen at higher elevations in the outskirts of the city, it has not been recorded in the Central Business District since 1986.
The average temperature of the sea ranges from 14.6 °C (58.3 °F) in September to 18.8 °C (65.8 °F) in February;
at Port Melbourne
, the average sea temperature range is the same.
Melbourne's urban area
is approximately 2,453 km2
, slightly larger than that of London and Mexico City
while its metropolitan area
is 9,993 km2
(3,858 sq mi)–larger than Jakarta
(at 7,063 km2
), but smaller than New York City (at 11,875 km2
). The Hoddle Grid
, a grid of streets measuring approximately 1 by 1
mile (1.61 by 0.80 km), forms the nucleus of Melbourne's central business district
(CBD). The grid's southern edge fronts onto the Yarra River. More recent office, commercial and public developments in the adjoining districts of Southbank
have made these areas into extensions of the CBD in all but name. A byproduct of the CBD's layout is its network of lanes and arcades
, such as Block Arcade
and Royal Arcade
Melbourne's CBD has unrestricted height limits, unlike other Australian cities. As a result, it has become Australia's most densely populated area, with approximately 19,500 residents per square kilometre,
and is home to more skyscrapers than any other Australian city
, the tallest being Australia 108
, situated in Southbank. 
Melbourne's newest planned skyscraper, Southbank By Beulah
(also known as "Green Spine"), has recently been approved for construction and will be the tallest structure in Australia by 2025.
The CBD and surrounds also contain many significant historic buildings such as the Royal Exhibition Building
, the Melbourne Town Hall
and Parliament House
Although the area is described as the centre
, it is not actually the demographic centre of Melbourne at all, due to an urban sprawl to the south east, the demographic centre being located at Glen Iris
Melbourne is typical of Australian capital cities in that after the turn of the 20th 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
This, coupled with the popularity of the private automobile after 1945, led to the auto-centric urban structure now present today in the middle and outer suburbs. Much of metropolitan
Melbourne is accordingly characterised by low-density sprawl, whilst its inner-city areas feature predominantly medium-density, transit-oriented urban forms. The city centre, Docklands, St. Kilda Road and Southbank areas feature high-density forms.
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. Melbourne's parks are often considered the best public parks in all of Australia's major cities.
There are also many parks in the surrounding suburbs of Melbourne, such as in the municipalities of Stonnington
and Port Phillip
, south east of the central business district. Several national parks
have been designated around the urban area of Melbourne, including the Mornington Peninsula National Park
, Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park
and Point Nepean National Park
in the southeast, Organ Pipes National Park
to the north and Dandenong Ranges National Park
to the east. There are also a number of significant state parks just outside Melbourne.
The extensive area covered by urban Melbourne is formally divided into hundreds of suburbs (for addressing and postal purposes), and administered as local government areas
31 of which are located within the metropolitan area.
"Melbourne Style" terrace houses are common in the inner suburbs and have undergone gentrification.
Melbourne has minimal public housing and high demand for rental housing, which is becoming unaffordable for some.
Public housing is managed and provided by the Victorian Government's Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
, and operates within the framework of the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement, by which both federal and state governments provide funding for housing.
Melbourne is experiencing high population growth, generating high demand for housing. This housing boom has increased house prices and rents, as well as the availability of all types of housing. Subdivision
regularly occurs in the outer areas of Melbourne, with numerous developers offering house and land packages. However, since the release of Melbourne 2030
in 2002, planning policies have encouraged medium-density
development in existing areas with good access to public transport
and other services. As a result of this, Melbourne's middle and outer-ring suburbs have seen significant brownfields
Victorian era buildings on Collins Street
, preserved by setting skyscrapers back from the street
The city also features the Shrine of Remembrance
, which was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I
and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war.
Residential architecture is not defined by a single architectural style, but rather an eclectic mix of large McMansion
-style houses (particularly in areas of urban sprawl), apartment buildings, condominiums, and townhouses which generally characterise the medium-density inner-city neighbourhoods. Freestanding dwellings with relatively large gardens are perhaps the most common type of housing outside inner city Melbourne. Victorian terrace housing, townhouses and historic Italianate
, Tudor revival
mansions are all common in inner-city neighbourhoods such as Carlton, Fitzroy and further into suburban enclaves like Toorak
Often referred to as Australia's cultural capital, Melbourne is recognised globally as a centre of sport, music, theatre, comedy, art, literature, film and television.
For much of the 2010s, it held the top position in The Economist Intelligence Unit'
s list of the world's most liveable cities
, partly due to its cultural attributes.
The State Library of Victoria
, founded in 1854, is one of the world's oldest free public libraries
and, as of 2018, the fourth most-visited library globally.
Between the gold rush and the crash of 1890, Melbourne was Australia's literary capital, famously referred to by Henry Kendall
as "that wild bleak Bohemia south of the Murray
At this time, Melbourne-based writers and poets Marcus Clarke
, Adam Lindsay Gordon
and Rolf Boldrewood
produced classic visions of colonial life. Fergus Hume
's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab
(1886), the fastest-selling crime novel of the era, is set in Melbourne, as is Australia's best-selling book of poetry, C. J. Dennis
' The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke
Contemporary Melbourne authors who have written award-winning books set in the city include Peter Carey
, Helen Garner
and Christos Tsiolkas
. Melbourne has Australia's widest range of bookstores, as well as the nation's largest publishing sector.
The city is also home to the Melbourne Writers Festival
and hosts the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards
. In 2008, it became the second city to be named a UNESCO City of Literature
's play Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
is set in Carlton
and debuted in 1955, the same year that Edna Everage
, Barry Humphries
' Moonee Ponds
housewife character, first appeared on stage, both sparking international interest in Australian theatre. Melbourne's East End Theatre District
is known for its Victorian era theatres, such as the Athenaeum
, Her Majesty's
and the Princess
, as well as the Forum
and the Regent
. Other heritage-listed theatres include the art deco landmarks The Capitol
and St Kilda's Palais Theatre
, Australia's largest seated theatre with a capacity of 3,000 people.
The Arts Precinct
in Southbank is home to Arts Centre Melbourne
(which includes the State Theatre
and Hamer Hall
), as well as the Melbourne Recital Centre
and Southbank Theatre
, home of the Melbourne Theatre Company
, Australia's oldest professional theatre company.
The Australian Ballet
, Opera Australia
and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
are also based in the precinct.
Melbourne has been called "the live music capital of the world";
one study found it has more music venues per capita than any other world city sampled, with 17.5 million patron visits to 553 venues in 2016.
The Sidney Myer Music Bowl
in Kings Domain
hosted the largest crowd ever for a music concert in Australia when an estimated 200,000 attendees saw Melbourne band The Seekers
Airing between 1974 and 1987, Melbourne's Countdown
helped launch the careers of Crowded House
, Men at Work
and Kylie Minogue
, among other local acts. Several distinct post-punk
scenes flourished in Melbourne during the late 1970s, including the Fitzroy
-based Little Band scene
and the St Kilda scene
centered at the Crystal Ballroom
, which gave rise to Dead Can Dance
and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
More recent independent acts from Melbourne to achieve global recognition include The Avalanches
and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
. Melbourne is also regarded as a centre of EDM
, and lends its name to the Melbourne Bounce
genre and the Melbourne Shuffle
dance style, both of which emerged from the city's underground rave
Established in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria
is Australia's oldest and largest art museum. Several art movements originated in Melbourne, most famously the Heidelberg School
of impressionists, named after a suburb
where they camped to paint en plein air
in the 1880s.
The Australian tonalists
some of whom founded Montsalvat
, Australia's oldest surviving art colony. During World War II, the Angry Penguins
, a group of avant-garde artists, convened at a Bulleen
dairy farm, now the Heide Museum of Modern Art
. The city is also home to the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
. In the 2000s, Melbourne street art
became globally renowned and a major tourist drawcard, with "laneway galleries" such as Hosier Lane
attracting more Instagram hashtags
than some of the city's traditional attractions, such as the Melbourne Zoo
A quarter century after bushranger Ned Kelly
's execution at Old Melbourne Gaol
, the Melbourne-produced The Story of the Kelly Gang
(1906), the world's first feature-length narrative film
, premiered at the above-named Athenaeum, spurring Australia's first cinematic boom.
Melbourne remained a world leader in filmmaking until the mid-1910s, when several factors, including a ban on bushranger films
, contributed to a decades-long decline of the industry.
A notable film shot and set in Melbourne during this lull was On the Beach
Melbourne filmmakers led the Australian Film Revival
with ocker comedies
such as Stork
(1971) and Alvin Purple
Other films shot and set in Melbourne
include Mad Max
(1979), Romper Stomper
(2000) and Animal Kingdom
(2010). The Melbourne International Film Festival
began in 1952 and is one of the world's oldest film festivals. The AACTA Awards
, Australia's top screen awards, were inaugurated by the festival in 1958. Melbourne is also home to Docklands Studios Melbourne
(the city's largest film and television studio complex),
the Australian Centre for the Moving Image
and the headquarters of Village Roadshow Pictures
, Australia's largest film production company.
Melbourne has long been regarded as Australia's sporting capital due to the role it has played in the development of Australian sport, the range and quality of its sporting events and venues, and its high rates of spectatorship and participation.
The city is also home to 27 professional sports teams
competing at the national level, the most of any Australian city. Melbourne's sporting reputation was recognised in 2016 when, after being ranked as the world's top sports city three times biennially, the Ultimate Sports City Awards in Switzerland
named it 'Sports City of the Decade'.
Australian rules football
, Australia's most popular spectator sport, traces its origins
to matches played in parklands
next to the MCG in 1858. Its first laws were codified the following year by the Melbourne Football Club
also a founding member, in 1896, of the Australian Football League
(AFL), the sport's elite professional competition. Headquartered at Docklands Stadium
, the AFL fields a further eight Melbourne-based clubs: Carlton
, North Melbourne
, St Kilda
, and the Western Bulldogs
The city hosts up to five AFL matches per round during the home and away season, attracting an average of 40,000 spectators per game.
The AFL Grand Final
, traditionally held at the MCG, is the highest attended club championship event in the world
Melbourne has a highly diversified economy with particular strengths in finance, manufacturing, research, IT, education, logistics, transportation and tourism. Melbourne houses the headquarters of many of Australia's largest corporations, including five of the ten largest in the country (based on revenue), and five of the largest seven in the country (based on market capitalisation
, BHP Billiton
(the world's largest mining company), the National Australia Bank
, as well as such representative bodies and think tanks as the Business Council of Australia
and the Australian Council of Trade Unions
. Melbourne's suburbs also have the head offices of Coles Group
(owner of Coles Supermarkets
) and Wesfarmers
. The city is home to Australia's second busiest seaport
, after Port Botany
. Melbourne Airport
provides an entry point for national and international visitors, and is Australia's second busiest airport.
Melbourne is also an important financial centre. In the 2018 Global Financial Centres Index
, Melbourne was ranked as having the 15th most competitive financial centre in the world.
Two of the big four
, are headquartered in Melbourne. The city has carved out a niche as Australia's leading centre for superannuation
(pension) funds, with 40% of the total, and 65% of industry super-funds
including the AU$109 billion-dollar Federal Government Future Fund
. The city was rated 41st within the top 50 financial cities as surveyed by the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index (2008),
second only to Sydney (12th) in Australia. Melbourne is Australia's second-largest industrial centre.
, one of the world's top five biotech companies, and Sigma Pharmaceuticals
have their headquarters in Melbourne. The two are the largest listed Australian pharmaceutical companies.
Melbourne has an important ICT
industry that employs over 60,000 people (one third of Australia's ICT workforce), with a turnover of AU$19.8 billion and export revenues of AU615 million. In addition, tourism also plays an important role in Melbourne's economy, with about 7.6 million domestic visitors and 1.88 million international visitors in 2004.
Melbourne has been attracting an increasing share of domestic and international conference markets. Construction began in February 2006 of an AU$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 multibillion-dollar Docklands
The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Melbourne as the fourth most expensive city in the world to live in according to its worldwide cost of living index in 2013.
The Economist Intelligence Unit also has ranked Melbourne as the most liveable city in the world for seven consecutive years (2011-2017).
Queen Victoria Market
is the Southern Hemisphere's largest open air market and a popular tourist attraction.
Melbourne is the second most visited city in Australia and the seventy-third most visited city in the world.
In 2018, 10.8 million domestic overnight tourists and 2.9 million international overnight tourists visited Melbourne.
The most visited attractions are: Federation Square
, Queen Victoria Market
, Crown Casino
, Melbourne Zoo
, Melbourne Aquarium
, National Gallery of Victoria
, Melbourne Museum
, Melbourne Observation Deck, Arts Centre Melbourne
, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground
. Luna Park
, a theme park modelled on New York's Coney Island
and Seattle's Luna Park
is also a popular destination for visitors.
In its annual survey of readers, the Condé Nast Traveler
magazine found that both Melbourne and Auckland
were considered the world's friendliest cities in 2014. The magazine highlighted the connection the city inhabitants have to public art and the many parks across the city.
Its high liveability rankings make it one of the safest world cities for travellers.
Furthermore, the city's prevalent cafe culture
, alfresco dining, rooftop bars and diverse food culture make it a popular spot for gastronomical tourism.
Established during the gold rush, Chinatown
is the longest continuous Chinese settlement outside Asia.
In 2018, the population of the Melbourne metropolitan area was 4,963,349.
Although Victoria's net interstate migration has fluctuated, the population of the Melbourne statistical division has grown by about 70,000 people a year since 2005. Melbourne has now attracted the largest proportion of international overseas immigrants (48,000) finding it outpacing Sydney's international migrant intake on percentage, along with having strong interstate migration from Sydney and other capitals due to more affordable housing and cost of living.
In recent years, Melton
, part of the Melbourne statistical division, have recorded the highest growth rate of all local government areas
in Australia. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
Melbourne was on track to overtake Sydney
in population by 2028.
has projected in two scenarios that Sydney will remain larger than Melbourne beyond 2056, albeit by a margin of less than 3% compared to a margin of 12% today.
After a trend of declining population density since World War II, the city has seen increased density in the inner and western suburbs
, aided in part by Victorian Government planning, such as Postcode 3000
and Melbourne 2030
, which have aimed to curtail urban sprawl.
As of 2018, the CBD is the most densely populated area in Australia with more than 19,000 residents per square kilometre, and the inner city suburbs of Carlton
, South Yarra
make up Victoria's top five.
Ancestry and immigration
Country of Birth (2016)
At the 2016 census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:[N 2]
As of the 2016 census, 62% of Melburnians speak only English at home. Mandarin
(2.3%), and Cantonese
(1.7%) were the most common foreign languages spoken at home by residents of Melbourne as of 2016.
Melbourne has a wide range of religious faiths, the most widely held of which is Christianity
. This is signified by the city's two large cathedrals—St Patrick's
(Roman Catholic), and St Paul's
(Anglican). Both were built in the Victorian era
and are of considerable heritage significance as major landmarks of the city.
In recent years, Greater Melbourne's irreligious community has grown to be one of the largest in Australia.
According to the 2016 Census, the largest responses on religious belief in Melbourne were no religion
(23.4%), none stated (9.1%), Anglican
(7.6%), Eastern Orthodox
(2.9%), Uniting Church
(2.3%), Presbyterian and Reformed
(1.2%) and Judaism
Over 180,000 Muslims live in Melbourne.
Muslim religious life in Melbourne is centred on more than 25 mosques and a large number of prayer rooms at university campuses, workplaces and other venues.
As of 2000, Melbourne had the largest population of Polish Jews
in Australia. The city was also home to the largest number of Holocaust
survivors of any Australian city,
indeed the highest per capita outside Israel
Reflecting this vibrant community, Melbourne has a plethora of Jewish cultural, religious and educational institutions, including over 40 synagogues and 7 full-time parochial day schools,
along with a local Jewish newspaper
Melbourne universities have campuses all over Australia and some internationally. Swinburne University and Monash University have campuses in Malaysia
, while Monash has a research centre based in Prato, Italy
. The University of Melbourne, the second oldest university in Australia,
was ranked first among Australian universities in the 2016 THES
international rankings. In 2018 Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the University of Melbourne the 32nd best university in the world which is higher than the rankings in 2016 and 2017,
Monash University was ranked 80th best.
Both are members of the Group of Eight
, a coalition of leading Australian tertiary institutions offering comprehensive and leading education.
As of 2017 RMIT University
is ranked 17th in the world in art & design, and 28th in architecture.
The Swinburne University of Technology
, based in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn, was as of 2014 ranked 76th–100th in the world for physics by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.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 for them.
Education in Melbourne is overseen by the Victorian Department of Education
(DET), whose role is to 'provide policy and planning advice for the delivery of education'.
Melbourne is served by thirty digital free-to-air
- ABC HD (ABC broadcast in HD)
- ABC TV Plus/KIDS
- ABC ME
- ABC News
- SBS HD (SBS broadcast in HD)
- SBS Viceland
- SBS Viceland HD (SBS Viceland broadcast in HD)
- SBS Food
- SBS World Movies
- 7HD (Seven broadcast in HD)
- 7mate HD
- 9HD (Nine broadcast in HD)
- Ten HD (Ten broadcast in HD)
- 10 Bold
- 10 Peach
- 10 Shake
- Spree TV
- C31 Melbourne (Melbourne's community TV station)
Pin Oak Court in Vermont South
has been called "Australia's most famous street", as it is the filming location used to represent the fictional Ramsay Street
, Australia's longest running drama television series.
Three daily newspapers serve Melbourne: the Herald Sun
(tabloid), The Age
(formerly broadsheet, now compact) and The Australian
(national broadsheet). Six free-to-air television stations service Greater Melbourne and Geelong: ABC
Victoria (SBS), Seven
), C31 Melbourne
(MGV) – community television. Each station (excluding C31) broadcasts a primary channel and several multichannels. C31 is only broadcast from the transmitters at Mount Dandenong and South Yarra. Hybrid digital/print media companies such as Broadsheet and ThreeThousand are based in and primarily serve Melbourne.
The local councils are responsible for providing the functions set out in the Local Government Act
such as urban planning
and waste management
. Most other government services are provided or regulated by the Victorian state government
, which governs from Parliament House
in Spring Street
. These include services associated with local government in other countries and include public transport, main roads, traffic control, policing, education above preschool level, health and planning of major infrastructure projects. The state government retains the right to override certain local government decisions, including urban planning, and Melburnian issues often feature prominently in state election.
In 2012, Mercer Consulting ranked Melbourne's infrastructure 17th in the world, behind only one other Australian city, Sydney, which ranked 10th in the world.
The Victorian Government's Department of Health
oversees about 30 public hospitals in the Melbourne metropolitan region and 13 health services organisations.
Among Australian capital cities, Melbourne ties with Canberra in first place for the highest male life expectancy (80.0 years) and ranks second behind Perth in female life expectancy (84.1 years).
Like many Australian cities, Melbourne has a high dependency on the automobile for transport,
particularly in the outer suburban areas where the largest number of cars are bought,
with a total of 3.6 million private vehicles using 22,320 km (13,870 mi) of road, and one of the highest lengths of road per capita in the world.
The early 20th century saw an increase in popularity of automobiles, resulting in large-scale suburban expansion and a tendency towards the development of urban sprawl
–like all Australian cities, inhabitants would live in the suburbs and commute to the city for work.
By the mid 1950s there was just under 200 passenger vehicles per 1000 people, and by 2013 there was 600 passenger vehicles per 1000 people.
Today it has an extensive network of freeways and arterial roadways used by private vehicles including freight as well as public transport systems including buses and taxis. Major highways feeding into the city include the Eastern Freeway
, Monash Freeway
and West Gate Freeway
(which spans the large West Gate Bridge
), whilst other freeways circumnavigate the city or lead to other major cities, including CityLink
(which spans the large Bolte Bridge
, the Western Ring Road
, Calder Freeway
, Tullamarine Freeway
(main airport link) and the Hume Freeway
which links Melbourne and Sydney.
Melbourne has an integrated public transport system based around extensive train, tram, bus and taxi systems. Flinders Street station
was the world's busiest passenger station in 1927 and Melbourne's tram network overtook Sydney's to become the world's largest in the 1940s. From the 1940s, public transport usage in Melbourne declined due to a rapid expansion of the road and freeway network, with the largest declines in tram and bus usage.
This decline quickened in the early 1990s due to large public transport service cuts.
The operations of Melbourne's public transport system was privatised in 1999 through a franchising model, with operational responsibilities for the train, tram and bus networks licensed to private companies.
After 1996 there was a rapid increase in public transport patronage due to growth in employment in central Melbourne, with the mode share for commuters increasing to 14.8% and 8.4% of all trips.
A target of 20% public transport mode share for Melbourne by 2020 was set by the state government in 2006.
Since 2006 public transport patronage has grown by over 20%.
The Melbourne rail network
dates back to the 1850s gold rush era, and today consists of 218 suburban stations
on 16 lines which radiate from the City Loop
, a mostly-underground subway system around the CBD. Flinders Street station
, Australia's busiest rail hub
, serves the entire network, and remains a prominent Melbourne landmark and meeting place.
The city has rail connections with regional Victorian cities, as well as direct interstate rail services which depart from Melbourne's other major rail terminus, Southern Cross station
, in Docklands. The Overland
departs twice a week, while the XPT
to Sydney departs twice daily. In the 2017–2018 financial year, the Melbourne rail network recorded 240.9 million passenger trips, the highest ridership in its history.
Many rail lines, along with dedicated lines and rail yards
, are also used for freight.
Melbourne's tram network
dates from the 1880s land boom and, as of 2019, consists of 250 km (155.3 mi) of double track, 475 trams, 25 routes
, and 1,763 tram stops
making it the largest in the world.
In 2017–2018, 206.3 million passenger trips were made by tram.
Around 75 per cent of Melbourne's tram network shares road space with other vehicles, while the rest of the network is separated or are light rail
Melbourne's trams are recognised as iconic cultural assets and a tourist attraction. Heritage trams
operate on the free City Circle route
, intended for visitors to Melbourne, and heritage restaurant trams
travel through the city and surrounding areas during the evening.
Melbourne is currently building 50 new E Class trams with some already in service in 2014. The E Class trams are about 30 metres long and are superior to the C2 class tram of similar length. Melbourne's bus
network consists of almost 300 routes
which mainly service the outer suburbs and fill the gaps in the network between rail and tram services.
127.6 million passenger trips were recorded on Melbourne's buses in 2013–2014, an increase of 10.2 percent on the previous year.
Ship transport is an important component of Melbourne's transport system. The Port of Melbourne
is Australia's largest container and general cargo port and also its busiest. The port handled two million shipping containers in a 12-month period during 2007, making it one of the top five ports in the Southern Hemisphere.Station Pier
on Port Phillip Bay is the main passenger ship terminal with cruise ships
and the Spirit of Tasmania
ferries which cross Bass Strait
Ferries and water taxis run from berths
along the Yarra River as far upstream as South Yarra and across Port Phillip Bay.
Sugarloaf Reservoir at Christmas Hills
in the metropolitan area is one of Melbourne's closest water supplies.
Gas is provided by three distribution companies:
- AusNet Services, which provides gas from Melbourne's inner western suburbs to southwestern Victoria.
- Multinet Gas, which provides gas from Melbourne's inner eastern suburbs to eastern Victoria. (owned by SP AusNet after acquisition, but continuing to trade under the brand name Multinet Gas)
- Australian Gas Networks, which provides gas from Melbourne's inner northern suburbs to northern Victoria, as well as the majority of southeastern Victoria.
Electricity is provided by five distribution companies:
- Citipower, which provides power to Melbourne's CBD, and some inner suburbs
- Powercor, which provides power to the outer western suburbs, as well as all of western Victoria (Citipower and Powercor are owned by the same entity)
- Jemena, which provides power to the northern and inner western suburbs
- United Energy, which provides power to the inner eastern and southeastern suburbs, and the Mornington Peninsula
- AusNet Services, which provides power to the outer eastern suburbs and all of the north and east of Victoria.
Numerous telecommunications companies provide Melbourne with terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services and wireless internet services
and at least since 2016 Melbourne offers a free public WiFi which allows for up to 250 MB per device in some areas of the city.
Melbourne has one of the lowest crime rates of any major city globally, ranking 10th in The Economist'
s 2019 Safe Cities Index. 
Reports of crime in Victoria fell by 7.8 per cent in 2018 to its lowest in three years, with 5,922 cases per 100,000 people. Melbourne's city centre
(CBD) reported the highest incident rate of local government areas in Victoria.
- Melway (the native street directory and general information source in Melbourne)
- Melbourne, the travel article at sister project Wikivoyage
- ^ In British received pronunciation and General American English the variant /
ˈmɛlbɔːrn/ MEL-born is also accepted.
- ^ The use of the term Melburnian can be traced back to 1876 where the case for Melburnian over Melbournian was made in the Melbourne Grammar School publication, the Melburnian. "The diphthong, 'ou' is not a Latin diphthong: hence, we argued this way, Melburnia would be [the] Latin form of name, and from it comes Melburnian."
- ^ In accordance with the Australian Bureau of Statistics source, England, Scotland, Mainland China and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are listed separately
- ^ As a percentage of 4,207,291 persons who nominated their ancestry at the 2016 census.
- ^ The Australian Bureau of Statistics has stated that most who nominate "Australian" as their ancestry are part of the Anglo-Celtic group.
- ^ Of any ancestry. Includes those identifying as Aboriginal Australians or Torres Strait Islanders. Indigenous identification is separate to the ancestry question on the Australian Census and persons identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may identify any ancestry.
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- ^ "Great Circle Distance between MELBOURNE and PERTH". Geoscience Australia. March 2004.
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