Melbourne has a population of over 3 million people, and is Australia’s second biggest city after Sydney.
The City of Melbourne can trace its European history back to the early 1800’s, with the first survey of the area conducted in January, 1803 by NSW Surveyor General, Charles Grimes. The first attempted settlement occurred in October 1803 but was abandoned in May 1804, with the settlers, mainly convicts, being relocated to Hobart in Van Diemen’s Land (today’s Tasmania).
It would be more than 30 years later that a new attempt was made to establish a settlement in the area again.
This time it was a Tasmanian farmer, John Batman, who on behalf of a syndicate of Tasmanians, ‘The Port Phillip Association’ who would declare that “This will be the place for a village”, negotiating the purchase of 600,000 acres of land under a treaty with the local Wurundjeri Aboriginal Elders, and setting up pastoral lands for sheep to produce wool.
This treaty was subsequently annulled by the NSW Governor, Governor Bourke, with the area becoming “The Port Phillip District of NSW”, but many of the settlers including Batman stayed on. A formal authorisation to establish a settlement was finally granted by the British in 1836, with a town plan (The Robert Hoddle Grid Plan) laid down in 1837, and the name Melbourne being given to the new town that same year. The town grew rapidly, and in 1847 it was formally declared by ‘Letters Patent of Queen Victoria’ as ‘The City of Melbourne’.
Today, the City spreads around Port Phillip Bay and north, east and west from the City centre, with much of the city still laid out in the grid plan from its early beginnings.
Melbourne has four seasons, and often it is said that they can all happen on the same day – hot one moment and cold the next, but one of the virtues of this, is that trees and flowers grow exceptionally well, and Melbourne is renowned for its beautiful gardens, floral shows and its wide tree lined streets.
The weather also makes people dress up more than they do in Sydney, and the wide streets has enabled Melbourne to maintain a large network of trams running out from the City Centre – creating a distinct character and charm to the city.
Melbourne is also the home city for AFL (Aussie Rules) a unique version of Football developed in Melbourne, sometimes cruelly referred to by those who follow other football codes as “Aerial Pingpong”! It’s a great kicking game, and if you get a chance to go to a game and see it – it will be one of the highlights of your trip to Melbourne. Melbournites are passionate about their football!
Melbourne is also a city where food and fashion come together – so the City has lots of great places to shop, excellent cafes, pubs, a great casino, theatres, hotels and night spots to explore.
We hope you have a great time seeing Melbourne and getting to know the city.