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City (pop., 2006: 3,592,590), capital of Victoria, southeastern Australia. Situated at the head of Port Phillip Bay and the mouth of the Yarra River, the area was discovered by Europeans in 1802 and incorporated into the colony of New South Wales. The first permanent settlement was founded in 1835 by settlers from Tasmania, and in 1837 it was named for the British prime minister, Lord Melbourne. Made the capital of Victoria in 1851, it grew rapidly with the gold rush of the early 1850s. It served as the first capital of the Australian commonwealth (1901–27), until Canberra became the new capital. Second in size to Sydney, it is an industrial, commercial, and financial centre and the seat of several universities, including the University of Melbourne.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Melbourne, visit Britannica.com.