As with many cities around the world, Melbourne in Australia is fascinating. What is so fascinating about it? Well, you could ask that question about any of the major cities in the world such as New York in the United States, London in the United Kingdom, Paris in France, Madrid in Spain or Milan in Italy. Writers and analysts have written about these cities in attempts to discover what draws people to these cities, why they are major cities and indeed, why they are held in such a high regard by people.
In fact, these writers and analysts and cultural experts may all be missing an important factor in their search for what makes a city so special. Forget the architecture, forget the restaurants and bars and forget the parks and beaches, the thing that may be most important about a city is the people.
Without people, a city is just a dilapidated ghost town. Without the citizens there is nobody there to make sure the parks green grass and plant life is taken care of, nobody to fix the crumbling masonry of a once proud building, nobody to bake the fresh bread that keeps a population alive. Without people, a city is simply not a city. The same can be said for Melbourne, if Melbourne had nobody there, it simply wouldn’t be Melbourne. Further reading and more detailed information can be found on travel websites such as VisitMelbourne.com or http://melbourneflightsaccommodation.com.au/.
There’d be no Queen Victoria Market that attracts so many visitors, both domestic and international, each year. There’d be no Luna Park with its 103 year old rollercoaster, the Scenic Railway, which has been continually operating since it was built in 1911, making it the oldest rollercoaster in continuous operation in the world. Melbourne was founded on the large natural bay of Port Phillip, named after Royal Navy Captain and later Inaugural Governor of New South Wales Arthur Phillip, who founded the first Australian settlement Sydney.
A young explorer by the name of John Batman from the island of Tasmania founded the village of Batmania on the site in 1835, a couple of years later, the Crown sent John Pascoe Fawkner to settle the village and claim it for the Crown. A short while after the village’s founding, Melbourne suddenly became the place to be. Gold was discovered in the region of Victoria which naturally attracted thousands of families in their search for fortune and Melbourne’s population grew exponentially and eventually Melbourne became the richest city in the British Empire by the late 1890s, which led to the motto “Marvellous Melbourne” being coined by an English journalist.
However, Melbourne was not adverse to the effects of the Australian depression and by the early 1900s had lost most of its wealth. This was a minor setback in the history of the city though and today Melbourne is a thriving monument to the people who live there and indeed, the people who visit from around the country and the world.
So does Melbourne have it all? It depends how you look at it really. If you are someone who thinks that a few public houses, coffee shops and restaurants a bank and a pharmacy are all that a city requires then Melbourne does indeed have it all. If you’re someone who needs a little more than that, a little more history perhaps, then yes, Melbourne has that too. In many ways, Melbourne has retained much more of its history than the older city of Sydney. This may be due to the fact that Sydney attracts more tourists with its Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge and therefore feels the need to be more “hip” and “with it” by tearing down the old and building the new.
Melbourne is a lot more cool about its history and lets the modern architecture blend with Victorian to create a fascinating contrast of styles. In Melbourne, the old and the new go together quite well, so Melbourne may just about have it all.