Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the state of Victoria in Australia, as well as the second-most populated city in both Australia and Oceania. Its name is commonly used to refer to a metropolitan area of 9,993 km2 (3,858 sq mi) that is known as Greater Melbourne. Greater Melbourne is an urban agglomeration that is comprised of 31 local municipalities. However, the name is also used specifically for the local municipality of City of Melbourne, which is based around its central business area. The city extends into the Mornington Peninsula and the hinterlands into the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong Ranges, and the Macedon Ranges, occupying a large portion of the northern and eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay. There are approximately five million people living there, the most of whom live on the eastern side of the city centre, and they are referred to as "Melburnians." The city is projected to account for 19 percent of Australia's total population by the year 2020.
Aboriginal peoples have called the region around Melbourne home for over 40,000 years, and it continues to play an important gathering role for Kulin nation tribes from the surrounding area. The Boon Wurrung and the Wurundjeri peoples are the traditional proprietors of the area that encompasses Melbourne. They are part of the Kulin nation, which consists of five different peoples. The term Naarm originates from the ancient Boonwurrung name for Port Phillip Bay, and it is often used by the larger Aboriginal population to refer to the city. In Boonwurrung, the bay is known as Naarm.
In 1803, a short-lived prison settlement was created in Port Phillip, which was then part of the British colony of New South Wales. However, Melbourne was not formed until 1835, with the arrival of free immigrants from Van Diemen's Land, which is now known as modern-day Tasmania. In 1837, it was recognised by the Crown as a community and given the name "Melbourne" in honour of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, who served as British Prime Minister at the time. Four years after Queen Victoria proclaimed Melbourne to be a city, in 1851 it was selected to serve as the capital of the newly formed colony of Victoria. The city underwent a prolonged boom era during the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, which, by the late 1880s, had converted it into one of the greatest and richest metropolises in the world. During this time, the city was also known as Melbourne. After the formation of Australia in 1901, it was used as the temporary seat of government of the new country until Canberra was chosen as the permanent capital in 1927. After that, Canberra took over those responsibilities. It is now the most important financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region, and according to the 2021 Global Financial Centres Index, it holds the 23rd spot worldwide.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Royal Exhibition Building are just a few of the well-known monuments that can be found in the city of Melbourne, which is located in the state of Victoria and is included on the list of World Heritage Sites. The city is known for its rich cultural history and is credited with giving origin to Australian rules football, Australian impressionism, and Australian film. More recently, the city has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and as a worldwide centre for street art, live music, and theatre. It was the site of the 1956 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and it will also be the site of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, along with a number of regional areas in the state of Victoria. Major annual international events such as the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open are held there. It played host to the World's Fair in the year 1880. Throughout the most of the 2010s, Melbourne held the title of being the world's most livable city on a constant basis.
The Port of Melbourne is the largest seaport in the country, and its airport, which is also known as the Tullamarine Airport, is the second busiest airport in all of Australia. Flinders Street station serves as the primary rail terminal for the metropolitan area, whilst Southern Cross station serves as the primary rail and road coach terminus for the region. In addition to this, it possesses the most extensive motorway network in all of Australia as well as the biggest urban tram network in the whole globe.