Press Releases and Editorials from Australia

Magnificent Melbourne

Blessed by nature and with a dynamic spirit, Melbourne is a city deeply committed to excellence in commercial, artistic and sporting pursuits. It is sophisticated and elegant, and also friendly and accessible. A shopper's paradise. A culture vulture's dream. A sporting haven. Welcome to Melbourne.

The land where Melbourne now stands was home for thousands of years to the Wurundjeri people. In 1835, John Batman crossed Bass Strait from Van Diemen's Land (now called Tasmania) and signed a now-infamous treaty with the local Aborigines to purchase 600,000 acres (243,000 hectares). Melbourne developed rapidly, as the region around the burgeoning township was opened up for farming use. The discovery of gold in 1851, followed by a land boom and a period of pastoral prosperity, saw many classic public buildings constructed as the city exploded in size and importance.

In the 1880s a booming sharemarket and land speculation saw Melbourne continue to blossom. This was the era when the city was known internationally as 'Marvellous Melbourne', and there was another wave of public building. Melbourne was described at the time as "the jewel of the southern hemisphere".

That is a fair description of the city today, too. Modern Melbourne, Australia's second-biggest city, occupies a broad open plain bordered to the south by the gracious sweep
of Port Phillip Bay. It is a young city by world standards, but one with a major reputation as a centre for business, the arts and education - not to mention sport! It has
a temperate climate, natural beauty, and boasts magnificent architecture.

Immigrants have come to Melbourne from all over the globe, joining with the existing citizens to create a multicultural community. Diverse backgrounds and talents and interests have combined to make the city a world leader in such varied areas as theatre, medical research, and multimedia. This multiculturalism is most obvious when surveying the immense array of culinary options on offer in what is a great gastronomic city, but it permeates all aspects of Melbourne life.

Yes, Melbourne was named the world's Most Livable City last decade, but this is no cause for civic complacency. Since that time the city has only progressed. Superb recent developments like the Docklands precinct and Federation Square have further enhanced the Melbourne lifestyle. Tourists will find any number of attractions, and it doesn't
take long to discover the city has a seductive quality that makes leaving difficult.

Melbourne is a great place to visit, and an even better
place to be. It is impossible to imagine a better host city
for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Useful Websites:
Tourism Victoria's travel website
City of Melbourne

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