Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The name “Melbourne” refers to an urban agglomeration spanning 9,900 km2 (3,800 sq mi) which comprises the broader metropolitan area, as well as being the common name for its city centre. The metropolis is located on the large natural bay of Port Phillip and expands into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon mountain ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. Melbourne consists of 31 municipalities. It has a population of 4,529,500 as of 2015, and its inhabitants are called Melburnians.
Founded by free settlers from the British Crown colony of Van Diemen’s Land on 30 August 1835, in what was then the colony of New South Wales, it was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837. It was named “Melbourne” by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke, in honour of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. It was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847, after which it became the capital of the newly founded colony of Victoria in 1851. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, it was transformed into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as the nation’s interim seat of government until 1927.
Melbourne rates highly in education, entertainment, health care, research and development, tourism and sport, making it the world’s most liveable city—for the sixth year in a row in 2016, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. It is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region, and ranks among the top 30 cities in the world in the Global Financial Centres Index. Referred to as Australia’s “cultural capital”, it is the birthplace of Australian impressionism, Australian rules football, the Australian film and television industries, and Australian contemporary dance. It is recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a major centre for street art, music and theatre. It is home to many of Australia’s largest and oldest cultural institutions such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. It was the host city of the 1956 Summer Olympics.
The main passenger airport serving the metropolis and the state is Melbourne Airport (also called Tullamarine Airport), which is the second busiest in Australia, and the Port of Melbourne is Australia’s busiest seaport for containerised and general cargo. Melbourne has an extensive transport network. The main metropolitan train terminus is Flinders Street Station, and the main regional train and coach terminus is Southern Cross Station. Melbourne is also home to Australia’s most extensive freeway network and has the world’s largest urban tram network.