The city is built on the banks of the Yarra River. © Getty Images

The city is built on the banks of the Yarra River. © Getty Images

Melbourne, Australia

Find Melbourne on this map.

Find Melbourne on this map.

Melbourne is the cap[ital city of the State of Victoria. The city is built on the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. It covers an area of 6109 square kilometres. 

The first people to live in Melbourne

The first people to live in the area were the Aboriginal people. They had occupied the land for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. The Woiworung people, consisting of 5 clans, including the Wurundjeri, claimed the area around the Yarra River.

The first European settlers were led by John Batman who signed a treaty with the Woiworung in 1835. Batman paid them with clothing, blankets and food and thought he was buying the land. The Aboriginal people though, believed they were only giving him the right to pass through their land, which was good manners among Aboriginal peoples. Conflict between the Aboriginal people and the settlers broke out and the Aboriginal people were soon moved off their own land.

The city was officially named in 1837, after Lord Melbourne who was the British prime minister at the time.  Before this the city was sometimes called Bearbrass or Batmania!


Melbourne: A short timeline of European settlement and development 1835 - 1906

1835

John Batman signed a treaty with the Woiworung to 'buy' their land. A settlement began at Port Phillip.                   

1837

Port Phillip officially named Melbourne. The first city land is sold. Robert Hoddle,  who planned the layout of the streets, was the auctioneer.

1840

The first horse race meeting was held at Flemington, where races are still held today.

1842

The first town council election.

1845

The first wooden bridge was built across the Yarra.  People had to pay to cross it!

1847

Melbourne is an official city.

1851

Gold is discovered in Ballarat and thousands of people left the city for the goldfields.

1854

The first steam train to operate in Australia ran between Flinders Street Station and Sandridge (now called Port Melbourne).

First electric telegraph line in Australia opened between Melbourne and Williamstown.

1857

Melbourne has gas street lights

1858

The first game of Australian Rules football  played.

1861

First Melbourne Cup horse race was run. The winning horse was 'Archer'.

1870

Melbourne Town Hall opened.

First Australian Rules premiership match played between Melbourne and Carlton. 

1871

First Melbourne Royal Show

1878

First tennis match played in Australia at Melbourne Cricket Club

1880

First Australian exhibition 'expo' held in Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton

1888

Princes Bridge opened.

1898

First steam driven motor car to be built in Australia by Herbert Thomson

1901

First Australian Parliament opened by the Duke of York at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton

1906

First electric tram ran from Brighton to St Kilda

1956

First television station HSV-7

1982

The City Loop railway subway is opened

2000

New Melbourne Museum officially opened.

 


Melbourne skyline looking along the Yarra River. Getty Images

Melbourne skyline looking along the Yarra River. Getty Images

The modern city is run by a city council, elected by the people of the city. A Lord Mayor leads the city council.

The Parliament of the State Victoria is in Melbourne.

Melbourne's weather

The weather in Melbourne is temperate, which means that it is rarely very hot or very cold. During the summer the average temperature is about 26C and the city is kept cool by breezes from Port Phillip Bay. However, north winds sometimes push the temperature into the high 30C for several days in a row. In winter the average temperature is about 14C and rarely falls below 10C. However southerly winds add a chill factor to the cold of winter.

 Queen Victoria garden

 Queen Victoria garden

Melbourne is the business centre for Victoria and is a modern city.

Two Melbourne landmarks: Flinders Street Railway station, and in the foreground a Melbourne tram.

Two Melbourne landmarks: Flinders Street Railway station, and in the foreground a Melbourne tram.

It is famous in Australia for its thousands of hectares of parks and gardens which surround the city to the north and east.

Every day thousands of people travel to Melbourne by tram, bus and train to work, shop or find entertainment in the city.  

Trams travel in all directions from the city to the suburbs along 216 kilometres of track. It is the world's largest tram network!

Australian Rules football, now a national sport, began as a sport in Melbourne

 

The Melbourne Cup

This famous horse race is run at the Flemington race track. It is run every year on the first Tuesday in November.

Some facts about the Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup race is every year on the first Tuesday in November © Getty images

The Melbourne Cup race is every year on the first Tuesday in November © Getty images

  • The 24 horses in the race, run a distance of 3200 metres.
  • The race takes just over 3 minutes.
  • Horses in the race must be 3 years or older.
  • The prize for the owners of the winning horse is the Melbourne Cup and millions of dollars.
  • People who live in Melbourne have a holiday on Melbourne Cup Day.
  • The race was first run in 1861. The winner of this race was a horse named 'Archer'.

Read more about Melbourne Cup:

http://www.nma.gov.au/collections/highlights/1866_melbourne_cup

Read about Melbourne and the things you can do

http://www.visitmelbourne.com/

A popular sport in Melbourne is Australian Rules Football. Read the kidcyber page:

Australian Rules Football