BATMANIA | The City That Never Was
The mark of a city is not in the manner of its birth, but in what it has become.
Melbourne's greatest hits
Melbourne was the founding place of the federal parliament, which was based here from federation in 1901 until 1927 when Canberra became the capital.
The site? The Royal Exhibition Building, of which The Argus recorded at the time: '' The atmosphere was radiant and illuminated the vast spaces of the building and the great sea of faces with a bright Australian glow.''
Since then, Melbourne has been home to 11 of the nation's 28 prime ministers, some of them born here. The local Lodge honour roll: Deakin, Bruce, Hughes, Scullin, Menzies, Holt, McEwan, Gorton, Fraser, Hawke, Gillard. A 12th PM, Gough Whitlam, was born in Kew but is claimed by NSW.
Melbourne's wide boulevards date almost to the birth of the city - 1837, when surveyor Robert Hoddle came up with a street-scape far beyond the requirements of a city then populated by a mere 4000 people.
Hoddle was a visionary, though surely never imagined his name would become a curse word for modern commuters. Hoddle could also never have envisaged just how valuable those wide streets would become. Almost half a century on, the first tram arriv d, , in 1884 - it was pulled by a horse. The city now boasts one of the world's oldest and largest tram networks.
Street Name Origins
Melbourne, courtesy of the gold rush that turned it into one of the world's richest cities, was home to Australia's first Chinatown, in 1854, the first buildings springing up that year in Celestial Avenue, of Little Bourke Street.
Fittingly, Melbourne was also the birthplace of Australian cof ee culture. The first cof ee house popped up in 1837. In 1893, Cafe Denat opened in Bourke Street - it eventually became Grossi Florentino. The first espresso machine arrived in 1954.
Melbourne was only 20 years old when the sport that defines it, and the game that would become the national code, was born 157 years ago this month, with a clash between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar.
Australian Rules Football
Melbourne is the home of Australian cinema. The first moving pictures were screened in 1896; the first film studio founded by the Salvation Army in 1897; the first feature-length film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, made in 1906, with its premiere at the Athenaeum on Boxing Day that year.
Marvellous Melbourne's memorable achievements
BIRTHPLACE OF THE EIGHT-HOUR DAY
Introduced on April 21, 1856 after a deal between stonemasons and contractors and approved by the colonial government.
HOME OF TELEVISION
From Crawford Productions (responsible for the output that defined local TV in the 1960s and 1970s) to the Logie Awards, Melbourne has long dominated the idiot box. The honour roll is a celebration of local talent, from Logies kings Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton and Rove McManus, to 1980's TV queen Kylie Minogue.
History of Australian Television
TV Show Shooting Locations
HOME OF INVENTION
The Black Box (1956), bionic ear (1978), Vegemite (1922), Kiwi Shoe Polish (1906), Fosters Bee (1888), Cherry Ripe (1924) and Freddo Frog (1930) courtesy MacRobertson Steam Confectionery Works and many more.
Invented in Melbourne
On music's greatest stage, the Grammy Awards, only two Australians have won the top Record of the Year award and both hail from Melbourne: Olivia Newton-John in 1974 and Gotye in 2013. Australian Oscar history is also weighted in our favour, with Melburnians Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush among the handful of winners.
Neil Mcmahon | theage.com.au
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