49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Melbourne

Marvellous Melbourne is MAGNIFICENT.

1. Under local by-laws, it is an offence to drive a goat or dog harnessed or attached to a vehicle in a public place.

2. It is also illegal to sing an obscene song, tune or ballad within earshot of another person, so easy on the gangsta rap.

3. For at least 40,000 years before the arrival of the British, the area around Port Phillip Bay was the home of the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong clans, known as the Kulin people.

4. World-famous “Aussie” beer Fosters was first brewed in Melbourne in 1888 – by brothers from the USA, William and Ralph Foster.

5. Until 1966, all pubs in Melbourne closed at 6:00pm.

Victorian Heritage Database / Via Flickr: pellethepoet / Creative Commons

6. Vegemite was invented in Melbourne in 1922 after months of laboratory tests by food technologist Dr. Cyril P Callister.

7. Australia’s iconic spread is still only manufactured at the Vegemite factory in Fisherman’s Bend, Port Melbourne.

8. MacRobertson’s Steam Confectionery Works invented famous chocolate products like the Cherry Ripe (1924), Crunchie (1929) and Freddo Frog (1930). Founded in 1880, the company was based for over 100 years in Fitzroy. It was sold to Cadbury in 1967.

9. Melbourne is home to Toto’s, Australia’s first pizza restaurant, which opened in 1961 in Little Italy, Lygon Street, Carlton.

10. Melbourne’s famous tramway system is the largest outside Europe and the fourth largest in the world.

11. Before Melbourne was called Melbourne, it was named Batmania after John Batman, a colonist farmer from Tasmania who landed in Port Philip Bay in May 1835.

12. Batman was part of a syndicate who bought 600,000 acres of land around Melbourne. In his journal he wrote: “This will be the place for a village.”

13. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, Melbourne was transformed into one of the world’s largest and richest cities.

14. Chinese prospectors founded a Chinatown in 1851, this remains the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world.

15. In the 1880s the Yarra River was a cesspool and the city was nicknamed Smellbourne. In 1897, after one typhoid epidemic too many, the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works built a sewerage system to transport wastewater to Werribee, 30km away.

16. Today Melbourne is Australia’s second biggest city, with a population of 4.1 million.

17. According to the RSPCA Melbourne is the world’s “fox capital” , with 6 to 23 foxes to be found every square kilometre in the metropolitan area.

18. 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.

19. The world’s first feature film, The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang was filmed in Melbourne in 1906.

20. Australia’s first traffic lights were installed on the intersection of Collins Street and Swanston Street in 1912.

21. On Melbourne’s hottest day ever, Black Saturday February 7 2009, temperatures peaked at 46.4 °C (115.5 °F).

22. Melbourne’s lowest temperature on record is −2.8 °C (27.0 °F), on July 4, 1901.

23. The car park for Queen Victoria Markets is built on the site of Melbourne’s original cemetery.

24. Opening in 1881, the Brighton Sea Baths allowed bathers to discreetly enter the sea unseen. The morals of the time require gentlemen and ladies to swim at separate designated times.

25. Built in 1868, the Great Melbourne Telescope was the world’s biggest in the 19th century.

26. According to the Rain Making Control Act 1966, Melbournians are banned from carrying out unauthorised rain making operations - that is the “seeding or nucleating of clouds by artificial means from a manned aircraft”.

27. Australia’s first literary club started in Melbourne in 1868 and was called the Yorick Club, named after one of the character’s in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

28. Melbourne was the capital city of Australia for 26 years between 1901 and 1927.

29. Australia’s first Federal Parliament was held at Melbourne’s Exhibition Building on May 9, 1901.

30. In 1855 Melbourne stonemasons won the right to the world’s first Eight Hour Day, which became a symbol of the rights of workers to improve their working conditions: forming the basis of Australia’s reputation as a “workingman’s paradise”.

http://wikimedia.org

31. During a visit in 1885 English journalist George Augustus Henry Sala coined the phrase “Marvellous Melbourne”, which is still used today by Melburnians.

32. Kiwi shoe polish was invented in 1906 by William Ramsay and Hamilton McKellan and produced out of a factory in Melbourne. The choice of the name was a tribute to William’s wife who was a native of New Zealand.

33. In 1929 Melburnian James Freeland Leacock invented and built the first ute – utility vehicles with the cabin of a car and the rear of a small truck still popular with Australian farmers and tradies. Leacock’s invention pre-dated the launch of the first official Australian ‘ute’ by five years.

34. The Black Box flight recorder was invented in 1958 by Dr David Warren at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne. Warren’s father had died in a plane crash over the Bass Strait in 1934.

35. The world’s largest gathering of tall people in a confined area was achieved in Melbourne. 136 people gathered, with minimum height of 178 cm (5 ft 10 in) for women and 188 cm (6 ft 2 in) for men.

James Leacock’s Ute / naa.gov.au

36. Melbourne’s CBD has five of the six tallest buildings in Australia, the tallest of which is the Eureka Tower at 297.3-metre (975 ft).

37. In 2010, Melbourne was named by International Business Times as one of the best cities in the world for viewing street art.

38. June Middleton of Melbourne relied on an iron lung to keep her alive from contracting polio in April 1949 until her death in October 2009. She was the world’s longest iron lung patient.

39. Published continuously for 62 years, The Potts was the world’s longest running comic strip, running in Melbourne’s Sun News-Pictorial and Herald from January 1940 until cartoonist’s Jim Russell’s death in 2001.

40. Melbourne’s Rainbow Radio was the world’s first gay and lesbian radio station.

41. Melbourne has the largest number of Holocaust survivors of any Australian city, and the highest per capita outside Israel itself.

42. Melbourne has the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Europe, a population comparable to some larger Greek cities like Larissa and Volos.

43. Under the 1958 Crimes Act it is illegal for Melburnians to advertise a reward for the return of lost or stolen property stating that no questions will be asked.

44. Mixing football, rugby and Gaelic football, Australian Rules Football was invented in Melbourne in 1858 by Tom Wills and friends as a way to keep cricketers fit during the off-season.

45. Melbourne was host to Australia’s first Olympic games in 1956 – the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.

46. Sometimes described as the most sports obsessed city on Earth, Melbourne is the only city in the world with five international standard sporting facilities on the fringe of its central business district: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Docklands Stadium, Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and Olympic Park in Melbourne Park.

47. The world’s longest swingball marathon is 7 hr 35 min set by William Henderson (Australia) and Alexander Hogstrom (Sweden) in Federation Square in January 2008.

48. The MCG holds the world record for highest attendance at a cricket match, with a total of 91,092 spectators watching the first day of The Ashes test against England in 2013.

Cricket Australia / Via cricket.com.au

49. Melbourne been ranked the world’s most livable city since 2011 (and among the top three since 2002), according the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

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