Melbourne is the largest city in the state of Victoria and the second most populous in the whole of Australia with nearly four million inhabitants making up the greater Melbourne metropolitan area.

Named for a 19th century prime minister (2nd Viscount Melbourne, William Lamb) it was established as a pastoral township in 1835 by settlers from Van Diemens land (Tasmania). Less than 20 years later it was declared a city by Queen Victoria and named the capital of the newly formed state of Victoria.

"The 1850s saw the area transformed by the discovery of gold and by the 1880s it had become one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world. From 1901 with the Federation of Australia until the completion of the construction of Canberra it also served as the nation’s capital."

Nowadays Melbourne is renowned for its Victorian architecture, its prominence in the arts, sports, education as well as being one of the world’s most “liveable” cities. It is a city of parks and open spaces and features the world’s largest network of trams. It was also named one of the top five University cities in the world and declared UNESCO city of Literature in 2008.

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Melbourne (Lonely Planet Encounter)