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The second largest city in Australia, Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria. The city and its suburbs cover an area of 8,806 km2 and the population is 4,077,036. The city is located on the northern shore of Port Phillip Bay.
Nearly 30 per cent of Australia's manufacturing industry is centered in Melbourne, most of the city's industries being located in the northern and western suburbs. Products of the city include heavy machinery, motor vehicles, electrical goods, textiles, foodstuffs, chemicals, paper and petroleum products.
Inner suburbs such as Carlton, Parkville and Fitzroy still have large numbers of early terraced houses complete with their cast iron trellis work. The residential eastern suburbs spread to the foot of the heavily wooded ranges to the east. The Yarra Yarra River, which flows from the northeast and empties into Port Phillip Bay, passes through the center of Melbourne.
The streets of the city center are planned in a grid system. Melbourne's extensive finance and business community is located in the high-rise office blocks to the western end of the city. Melbourne is noted for its attractive parks, the most famous of which is the Botanical Gardens. Opposite the Alexandria Gardens in St Kilda Road stands the Victorian Arts Centre, which houses one of Australia's finest art collections.
Melbourne is also one of the few large cities in the world to have retained electric trams. It is a center for education, with three universities and many colleges of advanced education.
The people of Melbourne turn out in large numbers to witness sporting events. Australian Rules Football is particularly popular and on occasions crowds of 120,000 have watched the game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Melbourne was established as an official colony in 1837. From 1851, its population swelled because of an influx of large numbers of fortune seekers making their way to the goldfields of Ballarat and Bendigo. Melbourne was made the provisional capital of the nation in 1901. Postwar immigration, together with increased industrialization, has led to a radical change in the size and character of the city since 1945.