Melbourne ([ˈmelbən, -bn̩, ˈmæl-], rhotically /ˈmɛlbərn/) is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which “Melbourne” is the common name. As of June 2010, the greater geographical area had an approximate population of four million. Inhabitants of Melbourne are called Melburnians or Melbournians.
The metropolis is located on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, with the city centre positioned at the estuary of the Yarra River (at the northern-most point of the bay). The metropolitan area then extends south from the city centre, along the eastern and western shorelines of Port Phillip, and expands into the hinterland. The city centre is situated in the municipality known as the City of Melbourne, and the metropolitan area consists of a further 30 municipalities.
Melbourne was founded in 1835 (47 years after the European settlement of Australia) by settlers from Van Diemen’s Land. It was named by governor Richard Bourke in 1837, in honour of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb—the 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Melbourne was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847. In 1851, it became the capital city of the newly created colony of Victoria. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, it was transformed into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities. After the federation of Australia in 1901, it then served as the interim seat of government of the newly created nation of Australia until 1927.
Often referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia”, Melbourne is the birthplace of cultural institutions such as Australian film (as well as the world’s first feature film), Australian television, Australian rules football, the Australian impressionist art movement (known as the Heidelberg School) and Australian dance styles such as New Vogue and the Melbourne Shuffle. It is also a major centre for contemporary and traditional Australian music. Melbourne was ranked as the world’s most liveable city in the World’s Most Livable Cities ratings by the Economist Group’s Intelligence Unit in August, 2011. It was also ranked in the top 10 Global University Cities by RMIT’s Global University Cities Index (since 2006) and the top 20 Global Innovation Cities by the 2thinknow Global Innovation Agency (since 2007). The metropolis is also home to the world’s largest tram network. The main airport serving Melbourne is Melbourne Airport. Avalon Airport is currently being developed into Melbourne’s second international airport.