The area where the city of Melbourne now stands has been inhabited for thousands of years by Aboriginal nations of Australia. From the late 18th century, European expeditions explored the south-east coast of Australia. The city was founded in 1835, and prospered during the gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s. Popularly referred to as 'Marvellous Melbourne', it was one of the largest cities in the British Empire and wealthiest cities in the world
- The city of Melbourne is located on the southeast coast of Australia at the head of Port Phillip Bay, and is bounded to the east by the Dandenong Ranges. Its location means that the city enjoys a temperate climate. Melbourne summers are generally warm to hot, and winters are cool (with an average maximum temperature of 14°C). That said, the city’s weather is highly changeable – visitors should be prepared for anything
- Current weather forecasts and warnings can be found on the website of the Bureau of Meteorology: www.bom.gov.au/
- The diverse landscapes of Melbourne and its surrounds, with thousands of kilometers of spectacular coastline as well as forests, rivers and alpine slopes, provide plentiful opportunities for bike-riding, hiking, surfing, scenic drives, and skiing in the cooler months.
- The state’s climate and geography also mean that it is home to a lively agricultural industry. The state accounts for more than 65 per cent of annual national milk production and is home to 6,929 grain farm businesses covering over 3.5 million hectares of land.
- Australia is a culturally diverse country. Approximately half the Australian population is either born overseas or have a parent born overseas. At last count, 2.8 per cent of the population identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.
- The population of Melbourne is over 4.6 million and growing. Over the past decade, it has been the fastest-growing Australian city.
Capital Cities of Australia
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Each state or territory also its own capital:
- Melbourne, Victoria
- Sydney, New South Wales
- Brisbane, Queensland
- Darwin, Northern Territory
- Perth, Western Australia
- Adelaide, South Australia
- Hobart, Tasmania
- Australia is a secular democracy with no official religion; however, the most recent census data shows that Christianity is the most common religion in the country (52.1 per cent in 2016), followed by Islam (2.6 per cent).
- Victoria is home to a religiously diverse community, including many people of Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish faith.
- Australia does not have an official language; however, English is the most widely-spoken language and the language of government and legal processes in the country. Over 300 different languages are spoken in Australian homes. After English, the most commonly-spoken languages are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, and Vietnamese.
- Australia also has an estimated 250 Indigenous languages with 600-700 distinct dialects.
Across Australia, state governments are responsible for education policy in their region. In Victoria, schooling is compulsory for students aged between 6 and 17 years. Free education is available in government schools; however, Melbourne also has many private (fee-charging) and religious schools.
- Major hospitals and health services in Melbourne can be found via the Department of Health website at www.health.vic.gov.au/
- The Royal Children’s Hospital provides specialist pediatric care. www.rch.org.au/