MELBOURNE TRIVIA ARCHIVE

The Melbourne Trivia Archive is a collection* of interesting facts and trivia about the City of Melbourne. * Clarification

Also see Melbourne Trivia Category for more interesting Melbourne tit-bits of trivia.



Melbourne Hook Turn


If you plan to drive in Melbourne, you will need to know about Melbourne's unique "hook turns". Clearly identified intersections have signs showing it is a Hook Turn intersection and to turn right you must complete a hook turn from the leftmost lane.

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1956 Olympic Flame Hoax


During the Sydney leg of the journey, the major of Sydney was fooled into accepting a fake torch from prankster Barry Larkin. Larkin ran with the torch protected by police who thought that he was the official runner to Sydney Town Hall where he presented the fake torch to the Mayor of Sydney, Pat Hills.

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Human Wheelbarrow Record broken in Melbourne


The world record for the largest human wheelbarrow race was broken in 2008 on September 9th when Melbourne’s own Carey Baptist Grammar School in Kew set out to break the previous record that had been held by a high school in Singapore. Aside from breaking the Guinness World record for the largest number of participants, one pair of students decided to take it further and managed to break a second world record that day, also breaking the record for the fastest time in a 50-metre Human Wheelbarrow Race.

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Brunswick Street's Grey History


During a period of Victoria’s naive history, long before political correctness, Fitzroy’s Labour in Vain Hotel (established in 1853) made emphasis of its title by displaying a sign that showed a white woman trying to wash the black from a child to no avail. Not to be outdone, the owner of the nearby Perseverance Hotel erected his own sign, which also emphasised the Hotel’s name by displaying the very same picture but with the child growing whiter as it was washed.

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When the Shrine could have been an Arch...


Originally intended as a memorial arch that would span across St Kilda Rd, it was also proposed at one point that the Shrine of Remembrance instead be a cenotaph in a large "ANZAC Square" at the top of Bourke Street. As this would have also included demolishing one of Melbourne’s oldest buildings, the Windsor Hotel, the 1927 ANZAC Day march was also held as a demonstration, led by General Sir John Monash, former commander of the Australian forces.

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Clothes Line


A rather plain photograph of Sandridge (now Port Melbourne) taken in 1873 shows something quite remarkable. A rotary clothes line! That's 73 years 'before' the Hills hoist developed by Lance Hill in 1946. The Port Melbourne photograph taken for the 1872-73 Victorian Exhibition provides material evidence of a rotary clothes line in use as early as 1860.

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A Small Piece of Melbourne in the Antarctic


Melburnian 'Mac' Robertson, regarded as the greatest entrepreneur and philanthropist in contemporary Australian History has an area of Antarctica named after Melbourne's legendary confectionary wizard. Sir Douglas Mawson named a part of the Antarctic Mac Robertson Land in honour of the great entrepreneur. It was a fitting landscape to pay tribute to the Melbourne icon, who wore white suits, painted his factories white, and even used white draught horses to pull his white carts.

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World's First Female TV Host in Melbourne


In Melbourne Tonight, one of Australian TV's most loved shows, made world history when Graham Kennedy left the show and Toni Lamond took over as host, becoming the first female TV host of a variety and entertainment show in the world.

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Gunzel, Connies and Marmalade


A tram enthusiast is a Gunzel (train-spotter), Connies are Conductors & Marmalade is slang for tram driver / conductor.

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Phar Lap Diary Clue


A diary kept by Phar Lap's trainer Harry Telford, reveals that the most likely cause of death was accidental poisoning in a tonic administered by his devoted handler Tommy Woodcock.

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Toast, Peaches and $100


What does Melbourne, toast, peaches and $100 note have in common.. Dame Nellie Melba who was born on May 19, 1861 at "Doonside" in Richmond. In her lifetime, Dame Nellie Melba achieved international recognition as a soprano and enjoyed an unrivalled 'super-star' status.

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Couldn't you go a Chiko Roll?


Since the 1940s, Chiko Rolls have been advertised by an iconic "girl on a motorbike" with slogans including Couldn't you go a Chiko Roll?, You can’t knock the roll and Grab a Chiko. Australians consum 40 million Chiko Rolls annually was developed by Francis McEnroe from Bendigo.

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World FIRST's


World FIRSTS for Melbourne include a walk-through lion enclosure, blood transfusions, tramcar restaurants, McCafe and the ute...

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Australian FIRST's


You might be surprised to learn just how many Australian firsts took place in Melbourne... traffic lights, seat belts and breathalizers, Olympic Games, pizza, beer, tennis balls and trains to name a few...

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First Electric Tram Route


Given Melbourne's love of trams, one could be forgiven for thinking the first electric tram route would have originated out Melbourne's CBD but no, it ran between Doncaster and Box Hill.

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Batmania?


Long before Melbourne became the City of Melbourne, it was called Batmania, Bearbrass, Bearport, Bareheap and Bearbury. Some of these names were derived from the Aboriginal name for the area which was Berren or Bararing, plus there was the Big Miam Miam (as they termed the Town plenty of white Bread).

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Fastest bird in the world..


Peregrine Falcons considered to be the fastest bird in the world have been found nesting in Melbourne's CBD. Three years after poison claimed the last birds of prey to nest in the city, a pair of the falcons and three fluffy chicks have made a cosy home for themselves 35 floors above Collins St on a window ledge outside the Optus Centre.

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Oldest Melbourne Pub


Melbourne's oldest hotel is the Duke of Wellington Hotel on the corner of Flinders and Russell Streets built in 1850 and licenced in 1853.

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What it means to be an Australian


Amoungst the many interesting things that make Australian's unique...

You know you're Australian when you know that there is a universal place called "woop woop" located in the middle of nowhere... no matter where you actually are.


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Emblems of Victoria


The emblems of Victoria include possums, honey-eaters and weedy seadragons...

Floral emblem: Pink Heath
Animal emblem: Leadbeater's Possum
Bird emblem: Helmeted Honey-eater
Marine Faunal Emblem: Weedy Seadragon

Sadly, the Leadbeater's Possum and Helmeted Honey-eater are considered to be endangered species in 2007.


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smellbourne


Melbourne has had many names but the one it didn't like was SMELLmellbourne.

Today, the Yarra River is generally a clean river but back in the mid 1800's it was literally a cesspool. Originally though, storm water and sewage flowed into the Yarra River and this caused a lot of problems. There was a lot of typhoid epidemics and a lot of sickness as a result of that and eventually Melbourne became known as smellbourne.

In 1897 things improved when the MMBW built the sewerage system and Melbourne's wastewater was transported to Werribee, thirty kilometres away, where it flowed over grass, which filtered out the solids before it ended up in the sea.


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Invented in Melbourne


Melbourne inventions include the Black Box Flight Recorder and the Bionic Ear to name a few.

Australians great ideas and vision can be seen by the many Melbourne inventions that have helped improve the lives of people all over the world.

Australian System - 1856
Eight Hour Day - 1856
Australian Rules Football - 1858
Telephane - 1885
Electrical Drill - 1889
First Feature Length Film - 1906
Kiwi Shoe Polish - 1906
Hills Hoist - 1912
Aspro - 1917
Game of Trugo - 1918
Vegemite - 1923
MacRobertson Chocolates
Utility Vehicle - the 'Ute' - 1933
Dim Sims - 1945
Black Box Flight Recorder - 1958
Bionic Ear - 1979
Relenza | Zanamivir - 1989
The Zeta Platform - 2000


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Melbourne Tunnels


Did you know tunnels run everywhere under Melbourne? More than 50 tunnels dating back to WW2 run under Melbourne..

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Vegemite


Vegemite was not only invented in Melbourne but every jar of Vegemite 'ever made' has come from the Melbourne factory at Fisherman Bend.

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Eight Hour Day


2006 marks the 150th anniversary of the Eight Hour Day in Victoria.

Action taken by stonemasons on 21 April 1856 led to the establishment and maintenance of the Eight Hour Day, recognised internationally as a world first.

The Eight Hour Day became a symbol of the rights of workers to organise to achieve their rights not only as workers, but as citizens in a democratic society.

The timing of this anniversary could not be more appropriate, given the emerging debate about contemporary work issues such as working hours and work/life balance.


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Exhibition Street Past


Exhibition Street was originally named Stephen Street.

However after the Melbourne International Exhibition [1880] and Melbourne Centennial Exhibition [1888] were held at the Royal Exhibition Building, the street was renamed.

The name was officially changed by the Melbourne City Council on 5 December 1898.

The change only applied to the portion of Stephen Street north of Collins Street. The remainder was called Collins Place, and kept that name until it became part of Exhibition Street in 1963.

Exhibition Street was extended across the Yarra River to link up with the southern link of Melbourne’s latest freeway system City Link.


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Not So Rainy


Much to the dislike of Sydneysiders, Melbourne is not Australia's wettest capital city. Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth all receive much higher annual rainfalls than Melbourne.

However, Melbourne does have the highest number of rainy days in a year.

It's also interesting that the average Melbourne summer will see more 30C plus days than in Sydney, although overall averages are lower, keeping in mind Sydney is further north.


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First feature film made in Melbourne


The world's first feature film was shot in Melbourne. 'The Story of the Kelly Gang' was filmed by the Tait Brothers at a property in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg and is generally thought to be the first ever narrative full-length feature film.

Running over an hour, the film was first shown at Melbourne's Athenaeum Theatre on Collins Street in 1906. In 1910 the Victorian government banned the film because they believed the film incited people to crime. Only scraps of the film and a few out-takes remain.


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Sister Cities of Melbourne


Melbourne has seven sister cities around the world.

The Sister Cities programme aims to promote Melbourne’s international profile, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, supporting exchanges in business, tourism, education, culture and sport and promoting tolerance, understanding and friendship.

The cities are Osaka in Japan (our first, back in 1978); Tianjin in the People's Republic of China; Thessaloniki in Greece; Boston in the USA; Saint Petersburg in Russia; Milan in Italy and Galle, Sri Lanka (after the 2004 tsunami disaster Melbourne adopted Galle in order to fund the reconstruction of its cricket ground).


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Parking by phone


For a time in 2002, you could feed your parking meter by mobile phone in Melbourne. Meters in Latrobe Street displayed a number that, when rung, debited the parking fee to your phone bill.

Advantages included a free text message reminding you when the meter was soon to expire. Disadvantages included the 55c fee. The system was discontinued because too few people availed themselves of the service.


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Racing Museum


Melbourne is the home of Australia's only museum dedicated to horse racing.. Australian Racing Museum.

The displays at the Australian Racing Museum in Federation Square include the first film footage ever taken in Australia - of the 1896 Melbourne Cup, state of the art animations and even the skeleton of a famous race horse.

The museum incorporates the Australian Racing Hall of Fame..

Curiously, Australia's most famous race horse, the great Phar Lap is not displayed here, but at the Museum of Victoria.


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1st Skyscraper


Melbourne's first skyscraper was the ICI building on Nicholson Street, East Melbourne, now the Orica Building. Until 1958, buildings had to be under 132 feet - the highest fire ladders could reach.

From November 1958 to 1961 it was the tallest building in Australia.


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Comedy for all ages


Adults of all ages go to the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Figures show that nearly a quarter of the audience is 45 years-old or more, whilst 18 to 44 year-olds comprise most of the rest of the annual festival's 300,000 customers.

Comedy Festival organisers say, 'Our audience are an open-minded, liberal-thinking bunch with progressive personal values for whom the social aspect of the Festival is highly important.' Clearly age doesn't factor.


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Heavy Metal Laneway


ACDC Lane in Melbourne's centre celebrates the heavy metal rock group AC/DC.

Because of street signage rules, the lane's name is without the band's trademark lightning slash however, a Melbourne artist has fixed a metal lightning flash above and below the official sign.

ACDC Lane is off Flinders Lane, a block and a half from Swanston Street, where the video clip to 'Long Way' to the Top was filmed. Appropriately, the main businesses in the laneway are music venues.


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Cricket once controlled tennis!


The Melbourne Cricket Club once controlled the game of tennis in Melbourne. The MCC was in charge from 1878 to 1892, when the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club (then known as the Lawn Tennis Association of Victoria) was formed to take over administration of tennis in the colony of Victoria.

Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club was for many years the home of the Australian Open.


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Royal Melbourne Show


A ploughing competition in 1848 was the earliest agricultural show in Melbourne. Seventeen farmers competed to find who could plough the sraightest furrow.

By the 1870s, all sorts of aspects of agricultural life from horses and cows to produce such as bacon and milk were part of the show and in 1890, the title 'Royal' was added to its name.

The show moved to its present location in 1882 amid complaints that it was too far from town.


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150 years of railway


Melbourne's suburban trains turn 150 on 12th September 2004.

In 1854, Australia's first passenger railway, left Flinders Street Station travelling to Sandridge (the original name of Port Melbourne) with VIPs aboard.

A few minutes later, a second train carried lesser personalities (some of whom complained vociferously about not being on the first) along the line.

Nowadays the Melbourne train system has sixteen branches. Flinders Street Station with its famous meeting place 'under the clocks' sees nearly 1,500 trains each day.

Sandridge was previously named Liardet's Beach.


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Oldest film in Australia


A Melbourne horse race is the subject of the oldest surviving motion picture filmed in Australia. The short film is of the 1896 Melbourne Cup. It was first shown along with imported films at the Princess Theatre on Spring Street two weeks later.

The film, now in the possession of ScreenSound Australia, the National Screen and Sound Archive, was shot by Marius Sestier, an employee of the Lumiere brothers, and produced by Walter Barnett, a well-known Australian photographer.


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Mebourne Olympics Trivia


The 1956 Olympics in Melbourne were the first in the southern hemisphere.

John Landy, the 2nd person to run a mile in under 4 minutes and now Governor of Victoria, took the Olympic Oath, runner Ron Clarke lit the Olympic Flame.

Following a mailed in suggestion by a 17 year-old Australian named John Ian Wing, the athletes entered the stadium together during the Closing Ceremony, as a symbol of global unity, a practice that is still followed.

3,314 athletes competed in 145 events.

Because of Australian animal quarantine laws, the equestrian events were held in Stockholm in Sweden.

Australians won 13 gold medals, 8 silver and 14 bronze, coming third in the medal tally.


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6 o'clock swill


Until 1966, Melbourne pubs closed at 6.00 pm! The rush of city workers to get a drink after work and before the hotel closed became known as the 'six o'clock swill.

In an attempt to curb the public consumption of alcohol, the Victorian Parliament passed the temporary Restriction Of Hours Bill during World War I, which ruled that public houses had to stop selling alcohol at six. The bill was not repealed until 1966, when ten o'clock closing was introduced.

Nowadays it is possible to find a drink in Melbourne at any hour of the day or night.


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Five Beatles in Melbourne


For one night in 1964, there were five Beatles and it happened in Melbourne.

Ringo flew into Melbourne on 14th June, 1964 having recovered from a tonsillectomy and his replacement drummer, Jimmy Nicol, flew back to England the following morning..

Our research leads us to believe that this meant that the Southern Cross hotel was the only hotel ever to play host to five Beatles.


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Dog Poo!


About 90 tonnes of dog poo is left on the streets of Melbourne every day!

The problem is rated as one of the top five litter problems in the city. A survey has showed that only one dog-owner in four bothers to pick up their pooch's droppings.

In September last year, around 200 people attended the first ever dog poo summit, in suburban Doncaster, at which a variety of experts presented different angles to solving the problem of dog poo litter.

One offbeat solution before leaving home is to install a pet toilet. More on pet toilets.


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Ned Kelly Letter


"This is the document given to me by Ned Kelly when the Bank at Jerilderie was stuck-up in Feby 1879" is written on the piece of paper that accompanies an original letter written by Ned Kelly held at the State Library of Victoria in Swanston Street.

Only two original documents by Ned Kelly are known to have survived and the Jerilderie Letter is regarded as the most significant of these. The letter was dictated by Ned Kelly to fellow gang member, Joe Byrne, in 1879 making it the only document with a direct link to the gang and their activities.

A copy of the letter can be seen at the web address below.


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Easy to get a drink


There are over 100 bars in the Centre of Melbourne according to the City Council. There are also more than 50 pubs (according to a quick count among Melbourne Trivia staff).

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, there were well over 1,000 pubs in the central business district.


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Mark Twain in Melbourne


American writer, Mark Twain visited Melbourne in 1895.

He lectured at the Athenaeum and visited the Victorian goldfields as well as going to the races in Melbourne. Twain observed: 'It is the largest city of Australia, and fills the post with honour and credit. It has one speciality; this must not be jumbled in with those other things. It is the mitred Metropolitan of the Horse-Racing Cult' Talking of the Melbourne Cup, he said, 'Nowhere in the world have I encountered a festival of people that has such a magnificent appeal to the whole nation. The Cup astonishes me'.

Unfortunately, whilst in Melbourne he developed a painful carbuncle.


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Melbourne World Firsts


What does McCafe, Eric Ansell, a Lion Enclosure, The Blood Bank and a tram have in common?

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Melbourne International Gateway


The Melbourne International Gateway can be clearly seen on Google's satelite maps is better known locally as the Ribcage and Cheesestick. The Melbourne International Gateway was built to create a create a gateway to the City of Melbourne and represents the Victorian Gold-Rush (cheesestick) and the Wheat Industry of Australia (birdcage).

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Melbourne Television


Melbourne is home to some of the world's most popular tv programs including Neighbours, Secret Life of Us, Prisoner and Working Dog Productions the team behind The Castle, The Dish and Thank God You're Here.

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Backpackers Hotel in Melbourne


Melbourne has the biggest backpacker hostel in the world in terms of bed numbers and floor capacity!

Hotel Discovery [previously Hotel Bakpak] has 700+ bed spaces available all-year round, located in Franklin Street near to Queen Victoria Market.

The majority of of the 200,000 backpackers who visit Melbourne every year come from the UK, Germany, USA, Japan, Canada and Korea.


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1st feature film


What was probably the first feature film ever made premiered in Melbourne.

The Story of the Kelly Gang was made in 1906 and, we think, was shown at the Athenaeum Theatre in Collins Street.

The film was banned several times because authorities felt it might have a bad inluence on public morals.

Related page

Related page


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Talk-back Radio


A Melbourne radio station introduced radio talkback in 1967.

On 17th April, 1967, 3AW was the first station in Australia to take advantage of new legislation authorising the broadcasting of telephone calls (with an obligatory seven second delay). Before then, the law had banned the recording of telephone calls and, accordingly, the Post Master General's Department had squashed early experiments with talkback radio.

Well-known radio host, Steve Price is quoted in The Age as saying, "The Poms can't do it at all. The Americans have a strange way of doing it. We (Australians) do it better than anyone."


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1st Railway


Melbourne had Australia's first steam railway. The 4 km Melbourne & Hobson's Bay Railway began operating from Flinders Street to Sandridge (Port Melbourne) on September 12, 1854.

The Sandridge Bridge that carried trains across the Yarra River from 1988, still exists and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. It is considered to be of "State significance".


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Time Zone


Melbourne, Australia is in the same time zone as Vladivostok, Russia.

A lot of water lies between the two with only part of PNG and a number of Pacific islands between Australia and Russia.


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Melbourne illegal!


Melbourne started as an illegal settlement. A dubious treaty signed with aboriginal leaders in 1835 gave a syndicate of Tasmanian sheep farmers led by John Batman the 'ownership' of most of the land bordering Port Phillip Bay

New South Wales Governor Richard Bourke declared Batman's treaty illegal and the settlers to be trespassers. But within two years, more than 350 people and 55 000 sheep had landed and Melbourne was a fact.

See also "The Price of Melbourne" below in the Trivia Archive.


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Melbourne - Fox Capital of the Western World


Melbourne is the "Fox Capital" of the western world according to the RSPCA.

Scientists estimate that there are between six and twelve foxes per square kilometre in metropolitan Melbourne. Large numbers live in the Docklands and along the Yarra and Merri Creek.

One of the more unusual habits of Melbourne's foxes is that they steal shoes. News item


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1st Hotel with Electric Lights


The Victoria Hotel in Little Collins Street was the first in Melbourne to have electric lights in its rooms - a press notice at the time said, 'with the object of having bedrooms cool in the summer, the electric light is fitted in each room with taps to turn on and off the light as in gas jets'.

One of Melbourne's oldest hotels (1880), The Vic was 'dry' and served no alcohol until 1967 when it obtained a liquor licence for the restaurant.

The Victoria Hotel was originally known as the Victoria Coffee Palace, founded by a Temperance League as an alternative to the rowdy, bawdy pub accommodation on offer during the late 19th century.


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Christmas Windows


The first of the Myer Christmas Windows was not a fairy tale or famous story, it was called Santa and the Olympics - this was in 1956, the year of the Melbourne Olympic Games.

Over the years, subjects have included Santa's Journey into Space, Chinese Fairy Tales and The Gumnut Babies, as well as well-known stories and fairy-tales.

Fred Asmussen created the windows for many years as well as designing floats for the annual Moomba Festival.

Related Web site..


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Melbourne - the seat of government


Melbourne was the home of the Australian parliament for 26 years.

The opening of the parliament was held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens in May 1901. After the opening, the federal parliament met in Spring Street and the Victorian State Parliament moved into the Exhibition Building. This continued until the parliament moved to its new home in Canberra in 1927.


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First Gay Radio in the World


Melbourne had the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world. Starting with a 90 day test licence in 1993, Joy Radio was one of only four community stations to receive a full licence in 2001.

The station now has a wide gay and non-gay listenership in Melbourne.


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Flagstaff Gardens


Flagstaff Gardens were originally the site of a signalling station that flagged the arrival of ships in the bay. The station still exists in the gardens which are at the northern end of the city, near the Queen Victoria Market. Established on the highest point of land in the city, they were Melbourne’s first public gardens.

Also known to early settlers as Burial Hill, the gardens were a pioneer burial site until the establishment of the Melbourne Cemetery (1853).

These days, the park is the most highly used garden in Melbourne (per square metre) and a popular lunch time oasis for workers in the city's northwest.


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Melbourne's Theatre Ghost


A ghost walks Melbourne's splendid Princess Theatre. Singer, Federici, died as he descended from the stage through the trap in March 1888 after playing Mephistopheles in the opera Faust

The night after, the cast claimed that two Mephistopheles stepped forward to take their bows. Federici’s replacement, Ernest St Clair swore that every time he stepped forward to take his bow invisible hands pushed him backwards.

Since then there have been many sightings and it is regarded as good luck to have seen the ghost. It’s said that the Princess leaves a seat for Federici in the balcony on opening nights.


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Stolen painting


A $7 million painting by Picasso was stolen from the art gallery in St Kilda Road in 1986.

Weeping Woman was taken from its display in the National Gallery of Victoria by a group calling itself the Australian Cultural Terrorists who demanded a ten per cent increase in arts funding and an annual prize for painting "open to artists under thirty”.

The painting was recovered from a luggage locker at Spencer Street railway station a couple of weeks later.

 Weeping Woman - Click to view at www.abcgallery.com/P/picasso/picasso204.html

More info..

National Gallery of Victoria

Article June03 - National Gallery - A Jewel Repolished

Spencer Street Station

Article - www.smh.com.au - The woman in locker 227


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Feral Airport


Feral cats, foxes, rabbits and kangaroos are part of Melbourne Airport’s population. There are hundreds of animals living within the 2369 hectare airport’s boundaries The airport also maintains and is revegetating a grey box forest at the north-western end of the (grey box is a variety of eucalypt).

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Victoria Market Built on Bones


The site of the popular Queen Victoria Market, opened in 1878, was once a cemetery. There are still roughly 9,000 people buried under the sheds and car park of the market. Every time work is carried out at the market, bones are disturbed.

There is a memorial to the people buried at the site on the corner of Queen Street and Therry Street.


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The Yellow Peril


The yellow angular sculpture outside the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art at Southbank caused a huge public outcry when it was first unveiled in the City Square in 1980. Its real name is Vault but the media dubbed it “The Yellow Peril” – the name that most Melburnians know it by. It was banished to a riverside park for many years before moving to its current home.

The sculptor, Ron Robertson-Swann, said last year that had Vault been installed in Melbourne's City Square in 2002, he thinks it would have been accepted by the public. Melbourne has "grown up a bit", he said.


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Highest attendance at a cricket match


Melbourne holds the world record for the highest attendance at a cricket match. In February 1961, 90,800 people watched the 2nd day of the 5th test between Australia and the West Indies.

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Town Hall Organ


The Melbourne Town Hall organ was the largest entirely new organ built within the British Empire during the inter-war period.

It was built in 1929 and conserved and enhanced in 2001. It has 10,000 pipes and is the biggest romantic organ in the Southern Hemisphere.

The organ replaced an earlier, not very good, organ that was destroyed in a fire at the Town Hall in 1925 (a contemporary report calls the works of the builder of this first organ as, “The worst organs ever built by a careful professional builder."


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Oldest Lawn Bowls Club


Melbourne has Australia's oldest existing lawn bowls club – Melbourne Bowling Club, founded at inner-suburban Windsor in 1864. In its early years, quoits were also available for those not playing bowls, whilst one portion of the green was occupied by lady visitors pursuing the game of croquet.

Actually, with more than 85,000 registered players statewide, Victoria has been called the nation’s lawn bowls capital.


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Fosters Beer - the beginning


Melbourne’s famous beer, Foster’s Lager was produced by two Americans!

Brothers, William and Ralph sailed from New York in 1887 with a dream of starting a successful brewery on the other side of the world. They set up the Fosters Brewing Company on Rokeby Street in Collingwood and the first Fosters was brewed in 1888. In 1908 the brewery merged with several others to become Carlton & United Breweries.

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Chloe


The model for the famous painting of Chloe in Young and Jackson’s was actually called Marie. She was 19 at the time French artist Jules-Joseph Lefebvre painted her in 1875. Marie committed suicide in 1877 as a result of a failed love.

In 1883, the portrait was withdrawn from view at the National Gallery of Victoria after complaints about its nudity. The painting went on display in Young & Jackson’s in 1909.


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Luna Park


Melbourne's Luna Park is the world’s oldest amusement park under private management. The St Kilda landmark opened in 1912 on the site of 'Dreamland' which closed in 1909.

The Scenic Railway is reportedly a replica of the roller-coaster he built for The Great Durbar Exhibition of Old Bombay for the visit of King George V in 1911.


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Bionic Ear


The bionic ear was invented in Melbourne by a team at Melbourne University led by Professor Graeme Clark in 1978.

Research for the invention was funded by the Victorian public through a series of 'telethons' on the then TV Channel 0. Because scientists didn't believe the bionic ear was possible, research funds couldn't be obtained from government granting bodies


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Stained Glass Ceiling


The world’s largest stained glass ceiling is in Melbourne - at The National Gallery of Victoria, currently undergoing renovations. It is 51 m long by 15 m wide.

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The first 'black box'


A Melbourne man invented the "black box" flight recorder. Nobody in Australia was interested in David Warren's invention, developed at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne in 1956, but he was invited to develop it in the UK. Soon, the "black box" was in use world-wide and in 1960 all Australian airlines were compelled to install them.

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Melbourne called 'Batmania'


Melbourne was briefly named 'Batmania' after one of its founders, John Batman. Other proposed names included Bearbrass, Bareport, Bareheep, Barehurp and Bareberp.

In 1837 the town was officially granted a seal of approval and in 1851 the colony of Victoria was formed and formally separated from New South Wales. The colony was named 'Victoria' after the reigning English monarch Queen Victoria and the main town 'Melbourne' in honour of Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria's most dedicated Prime Minister.


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Comedy Festival Big 3


Melbourne's Comedy Festival is among the 3 biggest in the world, along with Montreal and Edinburgh. The Festival began in 1987. It was very much a grass roots organisation, springing from the abundance of comic talent in Australia (particularly Melbourne), the public demand for access to Australian and international comedy at its finest, and the local comedy community's desire to shine a spotlight on what we have here and celebrate it.

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Redmond Barry


Redmond Barry founded the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Public Library (now the State Library of Victoria) but is also the man who sentenced Ned Kelly to death.

An interesting man, Barry acquitted the Eureka rebels, hanged the murderers of the inspector-general of penal establishments and defended aboriginals throughout his career. He also had four children with a woman who he never married. Redmond Barry's statue still stands outside the library.


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Melbourne Theatre Company


Melbourne Theatre Company turns 50 this year. MTC is the oldest professional theatre company in Australia and one of the largest theatre companies in the English speaking world.

The company was established in 1953 when it was first known as the Union Theatre Repertory Company. Members of the Company have included Barry Humphries, Reg Livermore, Zoë Caldwell, Monica Maughan, Helen Morse, Hugo Weaving and Geoffrey Rush.


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Insulting Moomba


The word Moomba may actually be an insult. Melbourne’s popular annual festival was supposed to be named after an Aboriginal word meaning 'let's get together and have fun' but some experts say differently...

“…one wonders how anyone could be naive enough to believe that all this can be expressed in two syllables. In fact 'moom' (mum) means 'buttocks' or 'anus' in various Victorian languages and 'ba' is a suffix that can mean 'at', 'in' or 'on'. Presumably someone has tried to render 'up your bum' in the vernacular.” (Barry Blake, Australian Aboriginal Languages).


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Oldest Runner


In 2002 Melbourne cheered a 99 year-old runner at the World Masters Games.

Charlie Booth, the oldest person competing in the games, won gold in the 100-metre sprint in the 95-99-year age group. Wonder if he is related to Cliff Young?


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Nellie Melba


World famous opera diva, Dame Nellie Melba was born Helen Porter Mitchell in Richmond Victoria in 1861. Melba Highway in the Yarra Valley just to the north-east of Melbourne is named after Dame Nellie, as is the delicious dessert, Peach Melba.

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Meet you under the Clocks


For decades, the 13 clocks on the Flinders Street and Princes Bridge corner façade of Flinders Street Station giving the time of the next train on suburban lines have been 'the' Melbourne rendezvous spot.

A few years ago, an attempt was made to replace them with video screens, but the public outcry was enormous and they have remained.


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Capitol Building


The designer of Canberra also designed the Capitol Building in Swanston Street. The building was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahony Griffin, and was opened on 7th November 1924. The theatre and 10 storey office block above it, are registered with the Australian Heritage Commission, the National Trust and Heritage Victoria. The Capitol is now owned by RMIT.

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Melbourne's hottest day


January's 43.9ºC (111ºF) day was Melbourne's hottest since 1939. On Black Friday, 12th January that year, the temperature in the city soared to 45.6ºC (114ºF). Fierce fires around Victoria had claimed 21 lives in the previous two weeks. Another 50 died on Black Friday as fires "coalesced into an ocean of flame."

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1923 Police Strike


When Victorian Police went on strike in 1923, many of the volunteer "Special Constables" who were appointed to maintain order during the riots which took place had ironically been involved in an earlier riot of 1919 when they had invaded the offices of the Victorian Premier, using an inkstand to assault the very same man who would later appoint them as officers of the law under duress.

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Speed camera income


Income from speed cameras in Melbourne, is between $88 million and $150 million a year. That's between $167 and $285 every minute!

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Tunnel under Swanston Street


According to legend, it runs from St Paul's Anglican Cathedral under Swanston Street to where else, the pub > Young & Jackson's Hotel [Princes Bridge Hotel] We’re told that, when the hotel was damaged in a fire, kegs of beer were allowed to be stored in the cathedral’s vestry.

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The price for Melbourne


In 1835, John Batman and his associates paid members of the Wurundjeri clan 40 blankets, 30 axes, 100 knives, 50 scissors, 30 mirrors, 200 handkerchiefs, 100 pounds of flour, and six shirts for Melbourne (the government later refused to recognise the deal). Batman returned to Launceston boasting "I am the greatest landowner in the world"

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Phar Lap on view


Many people regard Phar Lap as the greatest racehorse ever, winning 37 of the 51 races in which he started, including fourteen in a row in 1930-31. He is the only horse ever to have been favourite for the Melbourne Cup three years in a row. The mounted hide of Phar Lap is in the Museum of Victoria and is one of the most visited exhibits.

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3AR Radio


In January 1924 3AR became Melbourne's first radio station.

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Steam Bus


In Dec 1905 the Steam Bus begins operating between Prahran and Malvern

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All for the Cats


In 1999, captain of the Geelong Aussie Rules football team, Garry Hocking changed his name to Whiskas - a tinned cat food - all for a club sponsorship.

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1st Census


Melbourne's first census in 1836 showed a population of just 145 men and 35 women

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Yanks at the G


The world-famous Melbourne landmark, the MCG, was used as a US Army Airforce base in the second world war.

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Bunjil


The recently erected statue sitting high on its wooden plinth in Melbourne's docklands, overlooking Wurundjeri Way, is Bunjil the Eagle by Melbourne artist, Bruce Armstrong. To the Aboriginal people of south-east Australia Bunjil is the Supreme Creator and the wise father to the people. Many people in Victoria hold the Great Eagle Hawk as their spiritual guide.

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No Butts


Melbourne City Council regard cigarette butts as their biggest single litter problem - over 76% of all litter surveyed in the Melbourne CBD.

There are an estimated 332,000,000 butts thrown on Australia's streets and parks every year.


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Authentication

* Melbourne Trivia facts are authenticated by a minium of two sources. We accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the Trivia Archive, information or facts. If you believe information is not correct or can add information, please contact us.

Source: Melbourne Trivia Company is recognised as Victoria's leading presenters of Trivia/Quiz Events, popular with corporate and charity organisations. Trivia/Quiz nights are very popular in Melbourne with many pubs and clubs holding weekly events.

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