10 things that make Melbourne The Gem in Australia’s crown

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It’s the city of inspiring street art, alternative beatnik flair and coffee that rivals Italy’s best.

Boasting a musical genius at every turn of a graffitied laneway, the artistic hub is rife with unearthed talent.

Gastronomes salivate at the sound of a new restaurant opening its doors, and sporting nuts quiver with excitement as they hear the roar of the mighty Grand Prix.

Of course, we’re talking Melbourne. The humble antidote to glitzy Sydney and the enthusiastic younger cousin to its overseas counterparts, London and New York.

In celebration of Victoria’s capital being crowned World’s Most Livable City for the fourth year running, not to mention World’s Friendliest City (all in the one week, may I add), we take a look at some interesting titbits you may not know about magnificent Melbourne—compiled by a proud Melburnian, herself.

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1. Batmania

Superhero lovers, rejoice! Thanks to one of its founding fathers, John Batman, the city was once going to be named ‘Batmania’. (Fully gown men in Batman-costumes the city over are still mourning the decision to go with Melbourne.)

2. Eureka

The Eureka Tower is the second-tallest building in Australia, standing in at 297 metres in height. (The Q1 skyscraper in Queensland is currently standing at a smug 348 metres high.)

We're no.2! Eureka Tower. Photo by Adam Selwood
We’re no.2! Eureka Tower. Photo by Adam Selwood

3. Olympics

In 1956 Melbourne became the first host of the Olympic Games outside of Europe and North America, cementing the city as Australia’s sporting capital.

Olympic Stadium. Photo by François Philipp
Olympic Stadium. Photo by François Philipp

4. Little Italy/Little Greece

Melbourne has the highest Italian city population outside Italy and highest Greek city population outside Greece. (This may or may not also contribute to the population’s passion for food. Hello, Brunetti cannolis!)

Melbourne has a large Italian population - that's why the pizza is so good! Photo by Katherine Lim
Melbourne has a large Italian population – that’s why the pizza is so good! Photo by Katherine Lim

5. Stained Glass

The National Gallery of Victoria boasts the world’s largest stained glass ceiling, measuring in at 51 metres long by 15 metres wide.

World's largest stained-glass ceiling at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo by bixentro
World’s largest stained glass ceiling. National Gallery of Victoria. Photo by bixentro

6. Fun Parks

St Kilda’s Luna Park (otherwise known as the “face” of Melbourne…gettit?!) is the world’s oldest amusement park under private management.

Luna Park. Photo by Brayden McLean
Luna Park. Photo by Brayden McLean

7. The Horses

Just five horses have won the world famous Melbourne Cup horse race more than once—Makybe Diva, Archer, Peter Pan, Rain Lover and Think Big.

World Famous Melbourne Cup. Photo by Henry Ruuskanen
World Famous Melbourne Cup. Photo by Henry Ruuskanen

8. Vegemite

The nation’s most popular export—Vegemite—was invented in Melbourne and continues to be produced from its home in a Port Melbourne factory (much to the dismay of disgusted Americans).

Port Melbourne Vegemite Factory. Photo by Nico Nelson
Port Melbourne Vegemite Factory. Photo by Nico Nelson

9. Firsts

Melbourne can claim a lot of “Australia firsts” including traffic lights (at the Collins and Swanston Streets intersection), seat belts, breathalisers, Olympic Games, pizza, beer, tennis balls and trains… just to name a few.

10. And it’s sunnier than you think

Despite what certain neighbouring cities may believe, Melbourne is not Australia’s wettest capital city. Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth all receive much higher annual rainfalls than Melbourne. (However, Melbourne does have the highest number of rainy days in a year…but we’re not shouting about that one).

Sunny Melbourne. Photo by Steve Davidson
Sunny Melbourne. Photo by Steve Davidson

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Featured image by Chris Phutully

10 things that make Melbourne The Gem in Australia’s crown was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Alexandra Oke
Author: Alexandra Oke (2 posts)

Alexandra is a Melbourne-based freelance writer with previous experience in copywriting, magazines and, of course, travel. You'll find a collection of her writings at aaoke.wordpress.com.