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History & Evolution
Melbourne was founded on the mouth of the River Yarra in 1835 and extended around Port Phillip. It was first settled by the British who came from Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land). Though the indigenous Kulin people already inhabited the area. In 1836, Governor Bourke declared the region the administrative capital of Port Phillip District of New South Wales. In the subsequent year the region got its name and on 25 June 1847, Queen Victoria declared Melbourne a city.
In 1851, Melbourne was declared the capital of a separate colony, Victoria. Melbourne grew rapidly in 1850s with the discovery of gold in Victoria. The city headed the gold rush providing majority of service industries and serving as the major port for the region. Soon the city also became a major finance center with the coming of several banks and Australia's first stock exchange.
The 1880s period saw the construction of many high-rise Victorian buildings, Coffee Palaces, terrace housing, grand boulevards and gardens throughout the city. These were also the years when the term Marvellous Melbourne was coined but this brash boosterism came to a halt in 1891 when a world economic depression hit the city's economy sending the finance and property industries into chaos.
On 1 January 1901, at the time of Australia's Federation, Melbourne was specified as the temporary seat of government and remained the national capital until 1927. Soon the Federal parliament was moved to the planned city of Canberra.
During the World Wars, the citys industries thrived on wartime production and became Australia's leading manufacturing center. Even after the wars it expanded rapidly with its growth boosted by an influx of immigrants and the prestige of hosting the Olympic Games. The city remained Australia's business and finance capital until the late 1970s, when it began to lose this primacy to Sydney.
To pull the city out of acute depression, a newly elected Victorian government began a campaign to restore the economy with an aggressive development campaign of public works and major events centered on Melbourne and the promotion of the city as a tourist destination in 1992. And the 2006 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that since 2000 Melbourne has sustained the highest population and economic growth rate of any Australian capital city.
Melbourne's attractions may not have such fame as some of Sydney's, but the city do provide visitors a contrast experience of old-world architecture and exciting feel of a truly multicultural city.
Marvellous Melbourne, the Melting Pot has twice been ranked the "World's most livable city", where you are sure to feel right at home. With plenty of cultural festivals, performances, galleries and museums, Melbourne does indeed have something for everyone.
Flowing in southern Victoria, Yarra is the river on which the city of Melbourne was found. Therefore, without a good look at its main river system, the visit to Melbourne would be incomplete.
This muddy river has become the focus of much development in the central business district, with many new buildings, walks and parks emerging along its banks in recent years.
For the best view of the River, take a walk to Princes Bridge, St Kilda Road or a cruise along the river from Princes Walk. .
Royal Botanic Gardens:
Established by the first Governor of Victoria in 1846, Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens are considered one of the worlds finest.
Covering around 39 hectares (86 acres) of extensive landscapes, the gardens are home to more than 51,000 individual plants and over 12,000 different species. These beautiful gardens have also become a natural sanctuary for native wild life including black swans, bell birds, cockatoos and kookaburras.
Location: Birdwood Avenue
National Gallery of Victoria:
The art gallery and museum in Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest and the largest public art gallery in Australia.
The collections of the gallery are divided between the redeveloped gallery at St Kilda Road housing Victoria's impressive international collections (including Picasso's Weeping Woman) and the Ian Potter Center, the spectacular new home for the country's most important Australian collection.
Where the International Collection includes works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Marco Palmezzano, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Tintoretto, Paolo Uccello and Paolo Veronese, amongst others, the Modern collection has continued to expand into new areas, becoming an early leader in textiles, fashion, photography and Australian Aboriginal art.
Location: St Kilda Road
Built in 1862, Melbourne Zoo is the oldest zoo of Australia and therefore is a must-see. Formally known as the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, the zoo is located 4km north of the city center.
The zoo is home to more than 350 animal species from Australia and around the world including the ever-popular kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, koalas, wombats and platypuses. Most of the animals are kept in almost natural surroundings or well-tended gardens rather than being locked in cages. The best examples are the butterfly house, with its thousands of colorful occupants flying around, the lowland gorilla exhibit and the tree-top monkey displays.
Location: Elliot Avenue, Parkville
Established in 1985, the Chinese Museum was built to preserve and display the age-old history of Chinese Australians. Today it has become a living part of Melbournes modern Chinatown.
It consists of five levels of galleries, showcasing artifacts and photographs depicting the life and culture of Chinese Australians. An exciting range of changing exhibitions, heritage tours and public seminars are some of the ways by which the Museum shares the past, culture and values of Australia's Chinese community.
The Museum also houses Dai Loong and Millennium Dragon, the largest Chinese dragon in the world.
Furthermore, the Museum is a popular and important education resource that is visited by over 20,000 school children per annum and learn about multiculturalism, local and Australian history, Chinese arts and crafts, language, literature, dance, traditional festivals and customs.
Location: Cohen Place, Chinatown
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