Melbourne, Australia is the business, administrative, cultural, and recreational heart of the state of Victoria. Known for its hospitality it awaits visitors with open arms and a wide smile. Compact and diverse, the city is a perfect playground for adventurers, wildlife lovers, foodies, and road trippers.
If you’re an art lover, Melbourne has the highest density of commercial art galleries in the world accompanied by a thriving theatre and music scene that welcomes famous productions and performers. Let’s reveal some more about this city with a stack of interesting facts about Melbourne…
Melbourne was the world’s richest city during the gold rush.
It was one of the first cities to decree the 8-hour working day, starting a global movement in 1856. The number, 888 (8 hours’ labour, 8 hours’ recreation, 8 hours’ rest), is still inscribed on trade union buildings to honour the achievement.
In 1869, the world’s largest fully steerable telescope was installed at the Melbourne Observatory. Known as the Great Melbourne Telescope, the device has a reflector of 122 centimetres (48 inches).
The world’s first feature film, ‘The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang’ was filmed and made in Melbourne in 1906.
The first traffic lights in Australia were installed on the intersection of Collins Street and Swanston Street, Melbourne in 1912.
The first ute (a utility vehicle with a cargo tray) was invented and built by Melbournian James Freeland Leacock in 1929.
Melbournian Dr. David Warren of the Aeronautical Research Centre invented the Black Box flight recorder in 1958 which is now used in aircraft worldwide. The invention came after his father died in a plane crash in 1934.
Australia’s first and only LGBT community radio station has been broadcasting since 1993 from Melbourne.
The Melbourne television soap opera Neighbours (Kylie Minogue, Margot Robbie…) recorded its 4,000th episode in May 2002. It screens in 57 different countries to an average daily audience of 120 million viewers. Since it began in 1985 the show has had 18 marriages, 11 deaths, and six births.
Melbourne was originally going to be named “Batmania” after one of its founding fathers, John Batman. A suiting name knowing the fact that every night, especially in summer when the sun sets, more than 60,000 bats – so-called “flying foxes” – make their way from Yarra Bend Park into Melbourne’s CBD. The skyline of Melbourne looks amazing with the massive flock of bats.
Melbourne is the only city in the world that has five international standard sporting facilities on the fringe of its central business district. Melbourne Cricket Ground, Docklands Stadium, Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and Olympic Park in Melbourne Park.
In 1956 Melbourne became the first host of the Olympic Games outside of Europe and North America. Besides the athletes, the real star was a young teenager called John Ian Wing. He sent an anonymous letter to the Olympic committee suggesting that the athletes should walk in together by the end of the games to symbolise global unity.
Melbourne plays host to the Australian Open Tennis Championships, the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian 500CC Motorcycle Grand Prix, Spring Racing Carnival, the Australian Football League Grand Final, and many other special events.
Melbourne hosts the legendary Formula 1 Grand Prix race in Albert Park which is the first race of the season. Three to four months prior to the race all the stages, pit area, and track are set up for the race and removed afterwards.
The city is home to eight of Australia’s top ten spenders on research and development (R&D) including Australia’s largest, Telstra and Ericsson.
Melbourne’s scientists have been essential in the development of the world’s most innovative biotechnology breakthroughs including Relenza, Relaxin, and the bionic ear.
Its famous tramway system is the largest outside Europe and the fourth largest in the world. It stretches along 244 kilometres (152 miles) of track and has 450 trams.
Almost half of the population of Melbourne wasn’t even born in Australia. The majority was born in the UK followed by Italy, Vietnam, China, and Greece. Such cultural diversity brings a lot of amazing advantages to Melbourne. Every suburb is different and you can see the big influence of each culture throughout the suburbs.
Besides English, over 100 languages are spoken in the city, with the languages of India, particularly Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu and Gujarati, and Greek, Italian, and Mandarin amongst the most common.
Melbourne’s skyline, the Eureka Tower is the second tallest building down under and also the second tallest residential tower after the Ocean Heights in Dubai. No other elevator in the Southern Hemisphere elevates you faster up to 285 meters. The lift travels nine meters per second and drops you right at the highest public vantage point of a building in the southern 50% of the earth.
The National Gallery of Victoria’s Great Hall is home to the largest stained glass ceiling in the world, measuring 51 meters long and 15 meters wide.
Melbourne has more skyscrapers than any other city in Australia.
There is a memorial to Elvis Presley in Melbourne General Cemetery. It was commissioned in 1977 by the president of Australia’s Elvis Presley fan club.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Melbourne that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!