Australian FIRSTS for MelbourneMelbourne has more than its fair-shair of Australian firsts...
One of the first women only gyms, in Victoria and possibly Australia, was established by Harriet Elphinstone-Dick, who lived from 1858 to 1902. Also known as Harriet Rowell, she was an early English and Australian swimming champion, and was known to be a pioneering physical fitness teacher.
She had an intense interest in physical fitness and in 1879 opened Melbourne's first women's only gymnasium, in the Queen Victoria Building, which used to stand where the Melbourne City Square is now.
Physical fitness for women was a popular idea of the 1880s and the gym attracted many of Melbourne's independent career women, particularly teachers from the city's growing number of private girls' schools.
Melbourne Zoo is the oldest zoo still operating in Australia having opened in 1862.
Both of Australia's first freight and passenger lifts were installed in Melbourne. The first freight lifts were installed in 1877 at Allan's Music Warehouse in Collins Street. The first passenger lifts were installed in 1884 in four apartment blocks on Queen Street.
Australia's first traffic lights were installed in 1928 on the Collins and Swanston Streets intersection.
The first public art gallery in Australia was the Melbourne Museum of Art. It later changed its name to the National Gallery of Victoria and was founded 24th May 1861.
Melbourne was host to Australia's first Olympic games in 1956.
Melbourne-based George Robertson was Australia's first regular book publisher published over 600 works from 1855 to 1890.
The University of Melbourne was the first university to admit women and it opened its doors to female undergraduates during 1874.
The first Federal Parliament was held at the Exhibition Building on 9th May 1901.
In 1864 Melbourne sculptor Charles Summers completed the first bronze casting by an Australian artist, the statue of explorers Burke and Wills. It was unveiled on 21st April 1865.
Australia's first literary club started in Melbourne in 1868 and was called the Yorick Club, named after one of the character's in Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The first anthropological film made by an Australian was made by University of Melbourne biologist W Baldwin Spencer in 1901, studying the rites of Northern Territory Aboriginals.
The first Australian built aeroplane was built by Melbourne engineer J C Tilley.
Australia's first manned balloon ascent took place in Melbourne, a balloon called The Australasian.
Melbourne was home to Australia's first pizza restaurant, opened 7 July 1966 and was called Little Italy, located in Lygon Street Carlton.
Australia's first comic came off the press in Melbourne in May 1934 and was called Fatty Finn's Weekly.
The brewery to first sell beer in cans (not bottles) was the Carlton United Breweries in January 1958.
The first Australian manufactured tractor was produced in 1909 in Melbourne called The McDonald Imperial.
Australia's first all female trade union was founded in Melbourne in 1882 and was called The Tailoresses Union.
The first tennis balls in Australia were manufactured in Melbourne in 1908 by Dunlop.
The first Australian made tanks, known as Sentinels were designed and produced in Melbourne during 1942.
Melbourne's Hall of Commerce became the home for Australia's first Stock Exchange in 1859.
St John's Ambulance established their first branch in Australia in Melbourne during 1883.
The route of the first public steam railway in Australia started in Flinders Street Melbourne and terminated at Port Melbourne in1854.
The first electric telegraph line in the Southern Hemisphere ran between Melbourne and Williamstown and it opened in 1854.
Polo was first played in Australia in 1875 at Albert Park.
WFE Liardet, proprietor of the Brighton Pier Hotel at Port Melbourne organized the first archery club in October 1840.
On 10 July 1869 the first bike race in Australia was held at the MCG and it was called The Royal Boneshakers Cycling Club.
The first school of its kind in Australia, opened in 1994 for aspiring young musos in Collingwood and was called The Rock 'n' Roll High School.
Australia's first drug trafficking conviction was in Melbourne in 1923 when Henry McEwan was found guilty for trafficking opium.
Victoria was the first state to introduce breathalyser tests in November 1961.
In 1970 Victoria was the first state in the world to make wearing seat belts compulsory in all Victorian registered motor vehicles. The rest of Australia did not follow suit until 1972.
Victoria was the first state to introduce air pollution control legislation in 1958.
Victoria was the first Australian state to choose a floral emblem.
The Leadbeater's Possum lives only in Victoria, between Marysville and Tanjil Bren.
Victoria was the first state with its own flag. Victoria was the first colony to purchase a warship, which necessitated a flag, in 1870.
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Australian FIRSTS for Melbourne
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