Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. The metropolis is located on Port Phillip, a large natural bay, with the city centre positioned on the estuary of the Yarra River at the northernmost point of the bay. The metropolitan area then extends south from the City Centre, along the eastern and western shorelines of Port Phillip, and expands into the hinterland.
The City Centre is situated in the municipality known as the City of Melbourne, and the metropolitan area consists of a further 30 municipalities. The metropolis has a population of 4.25 million, growing the fastest in numerical terms and fifth fastest in percentage terms since the previous year. Inhabitants of Melbourne are called Melburnians.
Melbourne was founded in 1835 (47 years after the European settlement of Australia) by settlers from Launceston in Van Diemen's Land. It was named by Governor of New South Wales Sir Richard Bourke in 1837, in honour of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Melbourne was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847. In 1851, it became the capital city of the newly created colony of Victoria. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, it was transformed into one of the world's largest and wealthiest cities. After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as the interim seat of government of the newly created nation of Australia until 1927 ..
Melbourne has been ranked as the world's most liveable city in ratings published by the Economist Group's Intelligence Unit (in 2011 and 2012). It has also been ranked in the top ten Global University Cities by RMIT's Global University Cities Index (since 2006) and the top 20 Global Innovation Cities by the 2thinknow Global Innovation Agency (since 2007). Often referred to as the "cultural capital of Australia", Melbourne is the birthplace of cultural institutions such as Australian film (as well as the world's first feature film), Australian television, Australian rules football, the Australian impressionist art movement (known as the Heidelberg School) and Australian dance styles such as New Vogue and the Melbourne Shuffle. It is also a major centre for contemporary and traditional Australian music.
The main passenger airport serving the metropolis is Melbourne Airport, which is the second busiest in Australia. The Port of Melbourne is Australia's busiest seaport for containerised and general cargo. Melbourne is also home to the world's largest tram network .
Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was occupied for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years by under 20,000 hunter-gatherers from three indigenous regional tribes: the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong. The area was an important meeting place for the clans of the Kulin nation alliance and a vital source of food and water . The first European settlement in Victoria was established by Colonel David Collins in October 1803, at Sullivan Bay, near present-day Sorrento, but this settlement was relocated to what is now Hobart Tasmania in February 1804, due to a perceived lack of resources. It would be 30 years before another settlement was attempted .
In May and June 1835, the area which is now central and northern Melbourne was explored by John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association in Van Diemen's Land (now called Tasmania), who negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres (2,400 km2) with eight Wurundjeri elders. Batman selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that "this will be the place for a village". Batman then returned to Launceston in Tasmania. In early August 1835 a different group of settlers, including John Pascoe Fawkner, left Launceston on the ship Enterprize. John Pascoe Fawkner was forced to disembark at Georgetown, Tasmania because of outstanding debts. The remainder of the party continued and arrived at the mouth of the Yarra River on 15 August 1835. On 30 August 1835 the party disembarked and established a settlement at the site of the current Melbourne Immigration Museum. John Batman and his group arrived on 2 September 1835 and the two groups ultimately agreed to share the settlement.
Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by the New South Wales government (which at the time governed all of eastern mainland Australia), which compensated the association. In 1836, Governor Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, and commissioned the first plan for the city, the Hoddle Grid, in 1837. Later that year the settlement was named "Melbourne" after the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose seat was Melbourne Hall in the market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire. On 13 April 1837, the settlement's general post office was officially opened with that name.