The second most populous city in Australia after Sydney, Victoria’s state capital Melbourne has been ranked the world's most liveable city, although also the fourth most expensive along with Oslo!
Melbourne’s compact city centre lies at the northernmost point of the large natural bay of Port Phillip, near the estuary of the Yarra River. The greater metropolis is an urban sprawl with a population of just under 4.5 million that covers 9,900 square kilometres, expands around both sides of the bay and into the hinterlands – toward the Dandenong and Macedon mountain ranges, Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley. It is one of Australia’s leading financial centres, as well as for the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Founded by settlers from Van Diemen's Land in 1835 in the then Colony of New South Wales, it was named by Governor Sir Richard Bourke, in honour of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Queen Victoria declared it a city by in 1847, and it acquired the staus of capital of the newly created Colony of Victoria soon after. During the gold rush of the 1850s, it became one of the world's largest and wealthiest cities, and served as the seat of government for the newly created nation of Australia until 1927.
The city is frequently called Australia's cultural capital, and is home to many of the country’s largest and oldest cultural institutions. As an international centre for the performing and visual arts, it is the hub of the Australian film and television industry and a major centre for street art; more recently was recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature. It is also a major centre for sports – the home of Aussie rules football, the famed the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Australian Tennis Open and the Australian Grand Prix.
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