Settled in 1835, it was named (1837) for Lord Melbourne, the British prime minister. From 1901 to 1927 the city was the seat of the Australian federal government. The population, once primarily British, has changed since World War II with immigration from E and S Europe and, more recently, Asia.
Melbourne has campuses of several universities, including the Univ. of Melbourne (1853), Monash Univ. (1958), and La Trobe Univ. (1964). Melbourne Technical College, the Australian Ballet School, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, and the galleries and theaters of the Victorian Arts Centre also are in the city. Melbourne is the seat of Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops. Attractive parks, including the notable Royal Botanic Gardens and Melbourne Zoo; the bustling Queen Victoria Market; and the cultural and commercial Federation Square complex draw both tourists and residents. Melbourne Park is the site of tennis's Australian Open, the Melbourne Cup horse race is run annually at Flemington Racecourse, and the city hosts a Formula One Grand Prix race. Melbourne was the site of the 1956 summer Olympic games.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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