Located on the traditional territory of the Kulin nation, one of the indigenous tribes in Australia, Melbourne was founded by European settlers in 1835. The small colony, which was named after a British prime minister, expanded quickly to become an impressive city in the 1850s. This growth was mainly due to the gold rush at the time; it not only attracted Europeans, but also many Chinese settlers and the city attracted the name “Marvellous Melbourne”. It has been home to one of the oldest “Chinatowns” in the world since then. This cultural district was joined by an Italian one from the 1920s onward and a Greek one after 1945. From the very outset, Melbourne has always been a city of intercultural encounters and interaction. There are about 140 different cultures among the residents now and they each leave their mark on the cityscape.
This diversity in Melbourne is due to its natural harbour, Port Phillip; it has turned the city into Australia’s main port of call for international goods. Melbourne is in an excellent position internally too; it has the world’s largest tram network covering about 250 kilometres. Visitors can even discover the city free of charge on a special “City Circle” route. There are also the national railway and bus networks and water taxis – and the ferries that link Melbourne with the island of Tasmania situated off its coast. “Ports and airports are two of the main reasons why Rhenus Australia selected Melbourne as the base for its business activities. The city’s enthusiasm and positive energy are absolutely contagious for our colleagues,” says Chris Brown, Commercial Manager at Rhenus Logistics Australia Australia.
A city of literature and the arts
Countless galleries, bookshops and museums make Melbourne a mecca for lovers of art and culture. It has been a UNESCO City of Literature since 2008 and various literature festivals take place every year, supported by the largest publishing house sector in Australia. However, music, art and films play an important role too: the National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest and most visited public art museum. Many works from the Heidelberg School, an art movement founded in the 19th century and also known as Australian Impressionism, are on display here. The street art works found all over the city are also a very special treasure. Those who prefer going to the theatre will not be disappointed either – more than 460 event sites for music and top-class theatre encourage visitors to listen and watch. The importance of the film industry, which has gained fame primarily because Melbourne is the main base of Village Roadshow Pictures and Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Bush or Chris Hemsworth are “Melbournian” actors, can be traced through the world’s first long film called “The History of the Kelly Gang”. The 70-minute black-andwhite movie was shot in and around Melbourne in 1906, is part of the UNESCO World Documentary Heritage and is an example of an “Australian western”.
In a league of its own
In addition to the city’s architectural landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral, Parliament House or the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Ground is a byword for the city. The rules for Australian football, the forerunner of rugby, were drawn up at the headquarters of the Australian Football League here in 1859. So-called “footy” is traditionally played on an oval field or often at cricket grounds too. Sports-mad residents and visitors regularly look forward to the Australian Open and the famous Melbourne Cup horse races. “Melbourne is also the sports capital of Australia. Footy is a major activity for us whether we play, watch or talk about it,” Chris Brown recounts. However, he advises visitors to bring flexible clothing with them, whether they are watching a sports event outside or going for a stroll through the city. “As we say here, we often experience four seasons in one day here in Melbourne. So bring everything with you a raincoat, sandals, a scarf and your swimming trunks!”