Melbourne is actually the youngest city of all the cities in the world and yet it has had a very interesting and colourful history that has made it stand in a league of its own. The first people to have settled in the area were the Kulin people – made up of three clans that consisted of the Wurundjeri, Boonwurung and Wathaurong tribes (these were made up from a number of several different language groups of Indigenous people). They have been estimated to have lived in this area from 31,000 to 40,000 years prior to European settlement.
Melbourne is unique as it was not founded as a penal colony like some other states that had been established in Australia. In the early days of the city’s origins Melbourne was only a small outpost in the 1850s yet things changed very rapidly all due to one very important and historic time in history. It was the discovery of gold. Within 30 years this small outpost turned into a thriving and prosperous city. Melbourne’s gold rush was one of the biggest in the world’s history and with it came a large influx of migrants from all around the world seeking to make their fortune from the gold mines.
The gold rush brought with it much wealth and literally put Melbourne on the map of the world stage. In the 1880’s the city was known as “marvellous Melbourne” and at the time actually outshone some of the finest cities in North America and Europe. In a short span of 30 years Melbourne’s population grew to 1 million residents at the turn of the century and it was all due to the gold rush.
Since that time Melbourne has seen its fair share of dark moments of history such as the economic decline from 1891 till after the 1930’s. It was a time of hardship and lack of growth and prosperity. Melbourne also lost many of its sons to World War 1 where 112,000 Victorians enlisted and 16,000 were killed. Another 4,000 people also died in the Spanish flu epidemic after the war. After World War II heralded an influx of a new wave of migrants – these were refugees who came to Australia after escaping the war – they were from central and eastern Europe. By the late 1960’s migrants came from Yugoslavia, Hungary, Lebanon and Turkey. By the 1970’s other migrants came to Melbourne that included those from Vietnam and Cambodia.
Melbourne is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world – there are actually 251 languages spoken. We have a diverse number of cultures from all pockets of the world which makes us a thriving multicultural hot pot with people having migrated here from all around the globe. Melbourne is also known for being the culinary capital in Australia. There are more than 3,500 restaurants that serve cuisine from 70 countries in the world. Melbournians are also known for being great coffee lovers – coffee shops and cafes are abundant all over the central city area. There are coffee tours that run also on a regular basis in the city of Melbourne as well as other city tours that provide some interesting history about Melbourne.
Melbourne is also well known for being the sports capital of Australia – with 5 large stadiums that host a number of different sporting events throughout the year that include Aussie rules football, the International Australian Tennis Open, rugby, soccer, International Cricket Tournament, the Australian Grand Prix, the 500CC Motorcycle Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup. As well as sports being available all year round you can also do other things that may be of interest to you in Melbourne. These include: visiting the Shrine of Remembrance, visiting the laneways and arcades, Captain Cook’s Cottage, the Melbourne Zoo, taking a ride on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, the Fitzroy and the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Eureka Sky Deck, the Queen Victoria Market just to name a few.
Don’t forget to check out Melbourne’s events and festivals- (which you can see on the link provided) calendar as there’s always something to do, experience and see in Melbourne.
These links may be interesting for you to look at and to try and do different things in Melbourne
Contributed by: Andreana Vassallo