Melbourne was founded on 10 May 1835 by a group of free settlers led by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner.
Melbourne is the capital and largest city of Victoria, and the second largest city in Australia (after Sydney), with a population of 3,600,650 in the Melbourne metropolitan area (June 2004) and 61,670 in the City of Melbourne .
Melbourne was the capital city of Australia from 1901 until 1927 and is located in the south-eastern corner of mainland Australia, and is the southernmost mainland capital city.
It looks out on to Port Phillip, its suburbs sprawling to the east, following the Yarra River out to the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges, south-east to the mouth of the bay, and following the Maribyrnong River and its tributaries west and north to flat farming country.
The central business district (the original city) is laid out in the famous mile-by-half-a-mile Hoddle Grid, its southern edge fronting on to the Yarra.
With the discovery of gold in central Victoria in the 1850s, leading to the Victorian gold rush, Melbourne quickly grew as a port to service thenecessary trade.
During the 1880s, Melbourne was the second largest city in the British Empire, and came to be known as "Marvellous Melbourne".
Melbourne today is home to the largest number of surviving Victorian Era buildings of any city in the world other than London.
Melbourne became Australia's national capital at Federation on 1 January 1901.
The first Federal parliament was opened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building.
The seat of government and the national capital remained in Melbourne until 9 May 1927 when Parliament House was opened in the new capital city of Canberra.