|Area (sq mi)||3,400.0|
|Population density (/sq mi)||4,055.9|
|Current mayor||Robert Doyle|
Melbourne is Australia's second largest city, and the capital of the state of Victoria. Melbourne is the collective name for the City of Melbourne and greater suburban area, and is home to 4 million people.
The City of Melbourne is located on the banks of the Yarra River and is renowned for its parks and gardens. The Victorian state parliament is located in the inner city. The Greater Melbourne area has an extensive system of street trams and suburban railway lines.
The Greater Melbourne area surrounds Port Phillip Bay. Due to a rapid increase in population and a consequent increase in land and house values, the metropolitan area now extends almost to the tip of the Mornington Peninsula and the City of Geelong.
Melbourne is famous for being the home of the Australian Football League, or AFL, and for its large Greek community.
As a major city of Australia, Melbourne is considered the sporting and cultural capital of the country. Melbourne hosts the Australian Open each year in January and has extensive sporting facilities, including the renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground. Melbourne also has many art galleries, such as the National Gallery of Victoria. Each year, Melbourne also hosts the internationally recognized Melbourne Comedy Festival in April.
In 1835, English explorer John Batman discovered the area that would later become the north and central areas of Melbourne. Batman purchased the land from the local population, although as settlements expanded in Australia, the area was eventually purchased by English government, although the residents and town were allowed to remain in the area.
Today, Melbourne is home to the largest port in Australia, which provides substantial income for the city and state.
Melbourne has a reasonably extensive freeway network, as well as a large suburban railway system, and one of the largest tram systems in the world.
Earlier freeways radiated out from the fringes of the inner city, but in more recent times a freeway has been built connecting three of these radial freeways through the inner city, and a ring road has been constructed around the outer suburbs to the west and north. A freeway running north-south through the eastern suburbs is currently (2007) under construction. The inner city connecting freeway and the north-south freeway under construction are both electronically tolled.
The railway system is broad gauge (5' 3") and electrified at 1500 volts D.C. on overhead wires. It is a radial system based on the inner city, with underground lines around the central business district, allowing services from most lines to serve all the CBD's five stations. Services operate seven days a week, from around 5 a.m. to midnight on most days, and generally with 15 or 20-minute frequencies in off-peak times, and more frequently in peak times.
Melbourne's tram system is standard gauge (4' 8½") and electrified at 600 volts D.C. on overhead wires. Although it is mostly a radial system, there are several cross-suburban lines.
Melbourne's public transport (suburban railway, tram system, and buses) are privately operated under contract to the State Government and share a common time-based fare and ticketing system.
A feature of Melbourne's tram system is that some of the trams have been converted to operating restaurants that take diners on a tour of the city.
Facts about Melbourne
- Rock music is especially popular in Melbourne, leading to one alley in the city to be officially renamed AC/DC Lane. Many of the alleyways in Melbourne are covered with rock music posters or graffiti related to that music genre.
- Melbourne was the temporary capital of Australia from Federation in 1901 to the transfer of the government to Canberra in 1927.
- Melbourne's Greek community is reputed to be the second largest in the world.
- Melbourne's Italian community is reputed to be the largest outside Italy.
- Melbourne's tram system is the largest in an English-speaking country, the largest in the southern hemisphere, and one of the largest in the world.
- Melbourne was the site of the 1956 Olympic Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
- Melbourne was portrayed in the 1959 Stanley Kramer movie On the Beach (starring Ava Gardner) as the last pocket of civilisation following a global nuclear war. Written by English/Australian Nevil Shute.
- Melbourne is the most southerly city in the world with a population of over 1,000,000 people.
- It is also home to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
- Melbourne is pronounced as "Mel-ben".