With four million inhabitants, Melbourne is the second Australian city in population second to Sidney. Currently, it is only the capital of the state, Victoria, but for a long time, it was the capital of Australia. It maintains its status as the cultural and economic capital of the southern country. According to the 2014 report of the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit, belonging to The Economist group), Melbourne maintains its leadership in terms of places with a higher quality of life and leisure activities such as Martial Arts training.
The territory adjacent to the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay, which is now Melbourne, before the arrival of the Europeans was inhabited by representatives of the Australian aboriginal tribe Wurundjeri. It is believed that the natives lived in this area for at least 40 thousand years. The first attempt to establish a European colony here was made by the British in 1803 when they formed a hard labor settlement in the Sullivan Bay area, but this settlement was abandoned only a few months later.
When the state of Victoria received the status of an independent colony in 1851, Melbourne became its capital. Since the discovery of gold in the state in the 1850s and the beginning of the gold rush, the city began to develop rapidly, providing the region with everything necessary and serving as the main port of southeast Australia.
During the rapid development of Melbourne in the 1850s and 1860s, many of the most prominent city buildings were built, such as the Victoria Parliament Building, the Treasury Building, the State Library, the Supreme Court, the university, the central post office, the government building, and cathedrals St. Paul and St. Patrick.
The central urban areas were well planned, numerous boulevards were laid out in the city, and gardens and parks were laid out. During these years, Melbourne became the main financial center of the country: it houses the headquarters of several major banks. In 1861, the first Australian stock exchange was formed in the city.
Since the formation of Australia as an independent state on January 1, 1901, Melbourne was declared the temporary capital of the country. The first federal parliament began its meetings at the Royal Exhibition Center since May 9, 1901. The Australian government moved to Canberra in 1927, but Melbourne remained the residence of the Governor-General of Australia until 1930. Many of the most important state institutions remained in Melbourne throughout the 20th century.
The city was the headquarters of united forces of allies, led by US General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific theater during World War II from 1942 by 1944. During the war period, Melbourne’s industry received numerous military orders, which turned the city into the main industrial center of Australia. After the war, the city continued to grow at a rapid pace due to mainly sharply increased immigration, as well as the prestige of the city as the organizer of the 1956 Summer Olympics.
The economy of Melbourne was hit hard during the recession in Victoria between 1989 and 1992. During this period many economic institutions of the city ceased to exist. In 1992, a government coalition led by Jeff Kennett came to power. The new administration has launched a campaign to upgrade the city’s economy, numerous investment projects have been launched, and a campaign has begun to develop Melbourne as a tourist center.
The city has held many world-famous festivals and events, such as the Formula 1 stage. Major projects of this period were works on the reconstruction and construction of the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Center, Crown Casino, City-Link (a toll highway running through the city center). At the same time, some Melbourne infrastructure facilities were privatized, including electricity and public transport systems, and funding systems for many public areas were changed, including health care and education.
Since 1997, Melbourne has seen a significant increase in population and jobs. Significant international investments are made in the development of the city, primarily in the industry and the real estate market. According to 2006 statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Melbourne, since 2000, ranks first among the largest cities in Australia in terms of economic growth and population growth.
Melbourne is located on the southeastern tip of the mainland of Australia. Geologically, the city stands at the point where the Quaternary lava fields in the west converge, the mudstone of the Silurian period in the east, and the sand deposits of the Holocene period in the southeast along Port Phillip Bay.
The eastern part of Melbourne is located on the banks of the Yarra River and along its valley, stretching from the coast of Port Phillip Bay to the Dandenong Mountains and Yarra. Heading north the city stretches along the valley formed by the tributaries of the Yarra (rivers Moonee Ponds Creek, Merri Creek and Plenty), and ends the remote areas Craigieburn and Whittlesey.
In the southern and southeastern direction, Melbourne stretches along the coast of Port Phillip Bay and the Dandenong Mountains. Then the urban areas turn south, following the shore of the bay, and reach the river Patterson and the Mornington Peninsula.
Melbourne has expanded in this direction and absorbed the city of Frankston and reached almost the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula in Portsea. In the west, Melbourne extends along the valley of the Maribyrnong River and its tributaries up to the foot of the Macedonian mountains, and also along the relatively flat fields of frozen lava along Melton in the west.
The largest beaches of Melbourne are located along the shores of Port Phillip Bay along the south-eastern areas of the city, such as Port Melbourne, Albert Park, St. Kilda, Brighton, and Frankston, but in the western areas of Alton and Williamstown, there are its beaches. The nearest beaches are suitable for surfing, located approximately 85 kilometers from the center of the city in the areas of Rye, Sorrento, and Ports.
Melbourne is Australia’s largest seaport. Its annual turnover is about AUD $75 billion. Melbourne SeaPort also accounts for 39% of the national container turnover. Melbourne is home to most of the Australian automotive industry, which is represented by Ford and Toyota assembly plants, as well as a Holden car engine manufacturing plant. The city is also the base for many other industries, and at the same time, it is the largest financial and commercial center.
Melbourne is the center of modern technology. Industries related to computers and information technology, providing jobs for more than 60,000 people, which is the third indication for Australia. This industry has a turnover of AUD $19.8 billion, of which AUD $615 million is exported. Melbourne is the largest center of banking in the Asia-Pacific region. Two of the four banks in the Big Four of Australia, NAB, and ANZ, have headquarters in this city. Melbourne is the leader among the largest cities in Australia in terms of the number of pension funds.
Tourism is currently one of the main sectors of the economy of Melbourne. According to 2004 data, approximately 4.6 million Australian tourists and 1.88 million tourists from abroad visited the city. Melbourne ranks 34th in the list of the 50 largest global financial centers according to the MasterCard index of world commercial centers and second in Australia, second only to Sydney.
The city is becoming increasingly important as a center for international meetings and conferences. In February 2006, construction began on the largest conference center with 5,000 seats. The investment cost of the project is estimated at AUD $1 billion. In 2014, according to The Economist, Melbourne ranked sixth among the most expensive cities in the world and became the second most expensive city in Australia after Sydney.
Modern Melbourne is a multinational and multicultural community. Nearly a quarter of the population of Victoria is made up of people born outside of Australia, and Melbourne is home to people from 233 countries who speak 180 languages and preach 116 different religions.
The first people who inhabited the territory of modern Melbourne were Australian Aborigines, in particular, representatives of the tribes Bunarong and Wurundjeri. Now, the city is an important center of life for Aboriginal people. The total number of indigenous people in Australia in Melbourne is more than 20,000 people (0.6% of the city’s population).
The first European inhabitants of the city were the British and the Irish. It was to them belonged to all the first settlers who arrived in Victoria during the gold rush and made up the majority of immigrants until the beginning of the Second World War. The discovery of gold and the beginning of the gold rush in the 50s of the nineteenth century was the beginning of the rapid development of Melbourne. During the first few months since the discovery of gold in Victoria, the population of Melbourne increased by almost 75%, from 25 thousand to 40 thousand.
Density and population growth
Despite the fact that the general demographic situation in Victoria is subject to fluctuations, the statistical services of Melbourne have noted a steady increase in the number of city residents by about 50,000 people a year since 2003. Melbourne is currently the main place where new immigrants from abroad are seeking while overtaking Sydney by this indicator. In addition, the city is currently growing at the expense of immigrants from other major cities of Australia due to more affordable housing prices and the relatively low cost of living.
Over the past few years, population growth in Melbourne’s Melton and Casey, was the highest among the local municipalities of Australia. According to forecasts, if population growth continues in Melbourne at the same pace, the city may again become the largest in Australia by 2028. The population density of Melbourne after the Second World War began to decline due to the development of new territories for residential areas, the development of public transport networks and an increase in the fleet of private vehicles. During these years, the development of the city took place mainly in the eastern direction. After numerous public discussions in the 1980s and the economic downturn of the 1990s, it was decided to develop the city in a westerly direction and at the same time increase the population density in the central regions.
Melbourne is the cultural and sports capital of Australia. The city hosts a large number of annual cultural events, there are many of the largest Australian museums and exhibitions.
Local architecture is also unique. Musical culture has deep roots in the city. Many famous Australian musicians come from Melbourne. In recent years, the city has gained popularity in the world as one of the main centers of street art. This type of modern urban art has become so popular in Melbourne that it is reflected in the guidebooks.
The city is considered one of the major world centers of Victorian architecture (1837-1901), which has a large number of buildings of this style. The architectural image of the city is also not conceivable without the beautiful examples of modern architecture that appeared in Melbourne since the middle of the 20th century. Theater life in Melbourne is very diverse. The city is home to the National Ballet of Australia. The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in the city in 1853 and is the oldest professional orchestra in Australia and the only one to be named Royal. Melbourne has more theaters than any other city in Australia. Also, the city is the main center of Australian fashion. Festivals of fashion, cinema, music, etc. take place here annually.
Education and science
The education system in Melbourne, as well as throughout Victoria, is controlled by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. This organization serves as an advisor to two Victoria ministries involved in the management of the education system, namely the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Early Childhood Development. The education system is built on a three-step scheme: primary education, secondary education, and higher education.
School education is compulsory for children aged 6 to 15 years. In public schools, up to two-thirds of schoolchildren are enrolled, the rest is in private schools. Education in public schools up to 12 years old is free of charge, but this does not apply to foreign students. Regardless of which school you are studying in, state or private, after graduation, students must have a certain level of knowledge and confirm this by passing a single exam.
In 2006, the University of Melbourne has named the second best university in Australia. In addition, according to a study by the British journal The Times Higher Education Supplement, the University of Melbourne is ranked 22nd among the best educational institutions in the world, and Monash University is on the 38th place. In the same study, Melbourne is named the fourth best University City in the world after London, Boston, and Tokyo.
Melbourne has the oldest institutions of higher education in Australia, including law school (1857), technical (1860), medical schools (1862), dental (1897), music schools (1891). All of them are part of the University of Melbourne, which, therefore, is the oldest institution of higher education in Victoria and the second oldest in Australia. The Australian Space Research Institute was also established in Melbourne in the early 1990s. The academic year usually lasts in Melbourne, as well as throughout Victoria, from the end of January to the middle of December for primary and secondary schools and colleges, and from the end of February to the end of November for universities.
Melbourne is a relatively safe place to live in. The level of serious crimes in the city is much lower than in other developed cities of the USA and Canada. At the same time, crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking, as well as drug trafficking in recent years have worsened Australian crime statistics. The Australian Institute of Criminology provides national statistics on crime in cities. The State Police and the Department of Justice also collect information in the format of regional distribution of crimes.
The Australian Institute of Criminology reported that during the fiscal year 2016-2017, the police took action against 5,259 people, which is 4.8% more than in 2008-2009. The number of juvenile delinquents between the ages of 10 and 19 is 19% of the total number of criminals throughout Melbourne. During the fiscal year 2016-2017, 4,100 women were detained, which is 6% higher than the previous year.
Melbourne is located on the southeast coast of Australia. This is the second greenest city of the “green continent” – according to the latest data, about 3.9 million people live here. The list of the best cities for life “Global Livability Survey,” compiled by the publication Economist, in 2015, Melbourne won first place, for the first time in many years, shifting from the first line of the ranking Canadian Vancouver. Melbourne has high rates of such criteria as political and economic stability, developed health care and education, low crime, high standard of living. The average salary in Melbourne is about $32 thousand per year.
Melbourne is the cultural center of Australia – there are a large number of museums, theaters, universities. The city is boiling fashionable, cultural and nightlife. One of the stages of the Formula One Grand Prix, the Australian Open Tennis Championship, and other famous international sports and cultural events are held here annually. Melbourne is known for its unique architectural style. It successfully combines the old Victorian style and elements of modern architecture, with tall skyscrapers. Due to the huge number of parks, gardens, and boulevards, Melbourne is also often called the “garden city.”
The climate in Melbourne is temperate, however, it is probably the coldest of the major Australian cities. In the cold period, there may be fog and frost. In the summer in Melbourne it becomes the other way around, very hot – the temperature can rise above 40 degrees. The weather here is very changeable. In one day in Melbourne, you can watch all four seasons. Of the shortcomings of the city should also note the high cost of real estate. The average cost of housing in Melbourne is more than 485 thousand US dollars.