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If you want to get to the heart and soul of Melbourne, make your way to Federation Square. This is a central meeting place where lots of locals gather, and it is the ultimate spot for people watching. It’s also a place you’ll almost certainly pass through at some point, since it is a major transport hub and the site of the city’s Visitor Centre. Federation Square is where you’ll find the Australian section of the National Gallery of Victoria as well as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Come for the attractions but linger at the sidewalk cafes and bars to experience some of the local flavor.
Federation Square is a venue for arts, culture and public events on the edge of the Melbourne central business district. It covers an area of 3.2 ha (7.9 acres) at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets built above busy railway lines and across the road from Flinders Street station. It incorporates major cultural institutions such as the Ian Potter Centre, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the Koorie Heritage Trust as well as cafes and bars in a series of buildings centred around a large paved square, and a glass walled atrium.
Melbourne’s central city grid was originally designed without a central public square, long seen as a missing element. From the 1920s there were proposals to roof the railway yards on the southeast corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets for a public square, with more detailed proposals prepared in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1960s, the Melbourne City Council decided that the best place for the City Square was the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets, opposite the town hall. The first temporary square opened in 1968, and a permanent version opened in 1981. It was however not considered a great success, and was redeveloped in the 1990s as a smaller, simpler space in front of a new large hotel.
About Melbourne, Victoria State.
Melbourne is the capital and most-populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second-most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,993 km (3,858 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also a common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the Hinterland towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of 5 million (19% of the population of Australia), and its inhabitants are commonly referred to as “Melburnians”.[note 2]
Home to Indigenous Australians for over 40,000 years, the Melbourne area served as a popular meeting place for local Kulin nation clans. A short-lived penal settlement was established at Port Phillip, then part of the British colony of New South Wales, in 1803, but it was not until 1835, with the arrival of free settlers from Van Diemen’s Land (modern-day Tasmania), that Melbourne was founded. It was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837, and named after the then British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. In 1851, four years after Queen Victoria declared it a city, Melbourne became the capital of the new colony of Victoria. During the 1850s Victorian gold rush, the city entered a lengthy boom period that, by the late 1880s, had transformed it into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest metropolises. After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as the interim seat of government of the new nation until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927. Today, it is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks 15th in the Global Financial Centres Index.
Melbourne is home to many of Australia’s best-known landmarks, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. Noted for its cultural heritage, the city gave rise to Australian rules football, Australian impressionism and Australian cinema, and has more recently been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a global centre for street art, live music and theatre. It hosts major annual international events, such as the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open, and also hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Melbourne consistently ranked as the world’s most liveable city for much of the 2010s.
Melbourne Airport, also known as Tullamarine Airport, is the second busiest airport in Australia, and the city’s port is the nation’s busiest seaport. Its main metropolitan rail terminus is Flinders Street station and its main regional rail and road coach terminus is Southern Cross station. It also has Australia’s most extensive freeway network and the largest urban tram network in the world.
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