Melbourne, Victoria - Key Trivia Facts

  • Melbourne is the only city in the world that has five international standard sporting facilities (including three with retractable roofs) on the fringe of its central business district.

  • Each year Melbourne plays host to tens of thousands of interstate and overseas visitors who come to see 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 more special events.

  • Melbourne is home to eight of Australia's top ten spenders on research and development (R&D) including Australia's largest, Telstra and Ericsson. In addition, Melbourne boasts Ericsson's 42nd Precinct, one of only three Ericsson R&D centres in the world.

  • Melbourne's famous tramway system is the largest outside the European continent and the fourth largest in the world. It stretches along 244 kilometres (152 miles) of track, and has 450 trams.

  • Melbourne is the eighth largest telecommunications market in the world - making Melbourne one of the best wired cities globally - broadband infrastructure is located within 100 metres (328 feet) of every office building in the central business district.

  • Melbourne's scientists have been pivotal in the development of the world's most innovative biotechnology breakthroughs including Relenza, Relaxin and the bionic ear, which has provided hearing to 20,000 profoundly or totally deaf people in over 55 countries.

  • Melbourne was the largest city in Australia at the time of Federation (1901) and as such became the nation's interim capital and home of Federal Parliament from 1901-1927.

  • In 1856 a group of Melbourne workers, mostly stonemasons, won an eight-hour day from their employers. This was a world first, and is celebrated with a public holiday in Victoria.

  • Australia has held the Commonwealth Games on three previous occasions: 1938 in Sydney, 1962 in Perth, and 1982 in Brisbane.

  • The Welcome Stranger - the world's largest alluvial gold nugget weighing approximately 70 kilograms (154.3 pounds) - was discovered in Ballarat, (one hour's drive from Melbourne) in 1869.

  • The National Gallery of Victoria has the world's largest stained glass ceiling - 51 metres (167.3 feet) long by 15 metres (49.2 feet) wide.

  • The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang, made in Melbourne in 1906, is recognised as the world's first feature film, running to five reels.

  • One of the world's earliest feature-length films - Soldiers of the Cross - was made in 1900 in Melbourne by Salvation Army leader, General Booth.

  • In 1869, the largest fully-steerable telescope the world had ever seen was installed at the Melbourne Observatory. Known as the Great Melbourne Telescope, the device boasted a reflector of 122 centimetres (48 inches).

  • Luna Park, in Melbourne's bayside suburb of St Kilda, is the world's oldest amusement park under private management.

  • Melbourne's Observation Deck is in the Rialto, the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere. It stands on 75 huge concrete caissons (legs) attached to rock 20m (66 feet) below the ground.

  • The spire on top of the Victorian Arts Centre reaches 115 metres (377 feet) into the air. It has: 6,600 metres (21,654 feet) of fibre optic tubing in and around the spire; 17,700 metres (58,071 feet) of power and control cables; 14,000 incandescent lamps on the skirt of the spire, 150 metres (492 feet) of neon tubing on the mast; 496 computer control devices which manipulate the colours and movement of the lights.

  • The Melbourne-made television soap opera Neighbours 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.

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