Melbourne is the only city in the world that has five international
standard sporting facilities (including three with retractable
roofs) on the fringe of its central business district.
Each year Melbourne plays host to tens of thousands of interstate
and overseas visitors who come to see the Australian Open Tennis
Championships, the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian 500CC
Motorcycle Grand Prix, Spring Racing Carnival, the Australian
Football League Grand Final and many more special events.
Melbourne is home to eight of Australia's top ten spenders on
research and development (R&D) including Australia's largest,
Telstra and Ericsson. In addition, Melbourne boasts Ericsson's
42nd Precinct, one of only three Ericsson R&D centres in the
Melbourne's famous tramway system is the largest outside the
European continent and the fourth largest in the world. It stretches
along 244 kilometres (152 miles) of track, and has 450 trams.
Melbourne is the eighth largest telecommunications market in
the world - making Melbourne one of the best wired cities globally
- broadband infrastructure is located within 100 metres (328 feet)
of every office building in the central business district.
Melbourne's scientists have been pivotal in the development
of the world's most innovative biotechnology breakthroughs including
Relenza, Relaxin and the bionic ear, which has provided hearing
to 20,000 profoundly or totally deaf people in over 55 countries.
Melbourne was the largest city in Australia at the time of Federation
(1901) and as such became the nation's interim capital and home
of Federal Parliament from 1901-1927.
In 1856 a group of Melbourne workers, mostly stonemasons, won
an eight-hour day from their employers. This was a world first,
and is celebrated with a public holiday in Victoria.
Australia has held the Commonwealth Games on three previous
occasions: 1938 in Sydney, 1962 in Perth, and 1982 in Brisbane.
The Welcome Stranger - the world's largest alluvial gold nugget
weighing approximately 70 kilograms (154.3 pounds) - was discovered
in Ballarat, (one hour's drive from Melbourne) in 1869.
The National Gallery of Victoria has the world's largest stained
glass ceiling - 51 metres (167.3 feet) long by 15 metres (49.2
The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang, made in Melbourne in 1906,
is recognised as the world's first feature film, running to five
One of the world's earliest feature-length films - Soldiers
of the Cross - was made in 1900 in Melbourne by Salvation Army
leader, General Booth.
In 1869, the largest fully-steerable telescope the world had
ever seen was installed at the Melbourne Observatory. Known as
the Great Melbourne Telescope, the device boasted a reflector
of 122 centimetres (48 inches).
Luna Park, in Melbourne's bayside suburb of St Kilda, is the
world's oldest amusement park under private management.
Melbourne's Observation Deck is in the Rialto, the tallest office
building in the Southern Hemisphere. It stands on 75 huge concrete
caissons (legs) attached to rock 20m (66 feet) below the ground.
The spire on top of the Victorian Arts Centre reaches 115 metres
(377 feet) into the air. It has: 6,600 metres (21,654 feet) of
fibre optic tubing in and around the spire; 17,700 metres (58,071
feet) of power and control cables; 14,000 incandescent lamps on
the skirt of the spire, 150 metres (492 feet) of neon tubing on
the mast; 496 computer control devices which manipulate the colours
and movement of the lights.
The Melbourne-made television soap opera Neighbours recorded
its 4,000th episode in May 2002. It screens in 57 different countries
to an average daily audience of 120 million viewers. Since it
began in 1985 the show has had 18 marriages, 11 deaths and six