Cook's Cottage, Melbourne Victoria, Australia
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History & heritage

Find reminders of Melbourne's rich history in the numerous historical buildings and monuments around the city. Originally the home of the Kulin nation and made up of five Aboriginal language groups, Melbourne began as a tent city of 50 settlers but quickly grew to a population of 700,000 by 1869.

Aboriginal heritage
Bunjil, the spiritual creator, taking the form of a wedge-tail eagle, gave life to the first people, the rivers, the mountains, the animals and trees – all living and natural things in the Kulin Nation. Today, the Kulin Nation continues to live, practise and strengthen its customs in urban Melbourne through the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung people. Visit the Koorie Heritage Trust and the multi-award-winning Bunjilaka at the Melbourne Museum. Journey into the ancestral lands of the Kulin nation and explore their rich and thriving culture on a heritage walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

The first settlers
The first white settlers sailed up Port Phillip Bay in 1835 and decided upon a site for a trading post. See the striking interiors of the World heritage listed Royal Exhibition Buildings and explore horrifying tales of prison life in the Old Melbourne Gaol. Discover Melbourne's maritime past then stop by the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens to see the reconstructed Cook's Cottage – the childhood home of Captain James Cook, one of the first European navigators to chart the east coast of Australia.

Gold rush boom
The rapid population growth was down to the gold rush of the 1850s, which saw Melbourne take off as a true international city. Those lucrative years and the ensuing land boom left Victoria with an outstanding legacy of fine architecture, examples of which ca be found around the city today. Visitors to the region in the late nineteenth century labelled the city 'the jewel of the southern hemisphere'.

Houses and homesteads
Melbourne is home to a number of outstanding and architecturally significant National Trust homes and museums, as well as historically significant parks and gardens. Among the best are the lavish French Rennaisance-inspired Como house, a colonial mansion set in five acres of garden at Toorak, and Rippon Lea Estate, the last of Australia's great privately owned nineteenth century suburban estates.

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Aboriginal Heritage Walk

The Aboriginal Heritage Walk offers a rich and vibrant cultural experience. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk is one of the most popular tours at Royal...

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Bulla Hill Railway

Bulla Hill Railway

Bulla Hill Railway, operated by Tullamarine Live Steam Society, is located about eight km from Melbourne Airport and offers scenic miniature train...

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Como House

Como House and Garden

A stone's throw away from Melbourne's shopping mecca and perched high above the Yarra River lies the sanctuary of Como. Boasting one of Melbourne's...

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Cook´s cottage

Cooks Cottage

Discover Melbourne's rich history and walk in the footsteps of Captain Cook's family through their eighteenth-century two-storey cottage and garden.

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Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Image: Roberto Seba

Flinders Street Station

Stand beneath the clocks of Melbourne's iconic central railway station, as tourists and Melburnians alike have done for generations.

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Laurel Lodge - Heritage Hill Dandenong

Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens

Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens provides a unique opportunity for visitors to enjoy cultural heritage and public programs, art exhibitions,...

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Hmas Castlemaine at Gem Pier Williamstown

HMAS Castlemaine Museum Ship

HMAS Castlemaine is one of the sixty Australian-built Bathurst Class corvettes to serve throughout World War II, and is the last such vessel still...

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Manchester Unity Building, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Manchester Unity Building

Admire the Art Deco architecture and elegant ornate arcade of this heritage-listed landmark on the corner of Collins and Swanston streets, built in 1932.

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Outdoor spaces at Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum

Touch and feel your way through local history; give Phar Lap a nod, explore a rainforest, rest in a rollercoaster car, and discover Koori heritage.

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Culture Secrets - Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ

The Town Hall's ornate Grand Organ is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Visitors can take supervised tours or hear a recital.

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Aerila View of Mission to Seafares

Mission to Seafarers

The Mission to Seafarers is the ancestral home of the Flying Angel Club in Melbourne that continues to offer a safe and secure place where seafarers...

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Montsalvat, Eltham, Victoria, Australia

Montsalvat

Canvas charming mudbrick cottages housing artists’ studios and a French provincial restaurant, on five acres of peacock-patronised garden in Eltham.

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Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol

Sentence yourself to a day of fun or a spooky night at Victoria's oldest prison, which housed tough criminals and the infamous bushranger, Ned Kelly.

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Overnewton Castle

Overnewton Castle

Overnewton Castle was built in the Victorian Tudor style, inspired by 16th century English and Scottish architecture, by William Taylor in 1849 and...

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Parliament of Victoria at night

Parliament of Victoria

Victoria's Parliament House - one of Australia's oldest and most architecturally distinguished public buildings. The Parliament of Victoria welcomes...

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Polly Woodside

Polly Woodside - Melbourne's Tall Ship Story

Launched in Belfast in 1885, the Polly Woodside sailed 1. 5 million kilometres around the globe. Located in the heart of Melbourne's South Wharf...

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Rippon Lea House and Gardens

Rippon Lea Estate

Visit a grand National Heritage listed estate, established 1868, with sweeping lawns, trees, ornamental lake, fernery, and heritage orchard.

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Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Image: Roberto Seba

Royal Exhibition Building

Visit one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition pavilions, built for the Great Exhibition of 1880 and later housing the Commonwealth Parliament.

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Schwerkolt Cottage

Schwerkolt Cottage

Visit Schwerkolt Cottage and step back in time as you explore the original pioneer stone cottage. Enjoy beautiful gardens and a park like setting...

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Steamrail Victoria

Steamrail Victoria

Steamrail Victoria is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the restoration and operation of vintage steam, diesel and electric locomotives and...

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Easter Sunday 2012

St Michael's Uniting Church

St Michael's Uniting Church is a unique Christian presence in the city of Melbourne. It offers a wide variety of experiences for growth and change....

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St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

St Patrick's Cathedral

Enter via the Pilgrim Path, absorbing the tranquil sounds of water and the spiritual quotes before seeking sanctuary beneath the gargoyles and spires.

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St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

St Paul's Cathedral

Leave the bustling Flinders Street Station intersection behind and enter the peaceful place of worship that's long been at the heart of city life.

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vietname veterans

Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk

Seven years in the making, the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk was opened in March 2013. The Wall includes both the names of all Australian...

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Melbourne

Villa Alba Museum

Villa Alba Museum is an 1880 Italianate mansion in Kew adjacent to Studley Park. It is lavishly decorated with painted ceilings and walls with trompe...

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Werribee Mansion

Werribee Mansion

Smell the roses - all 5000 varieties - in the magnificent grounds of the Victoria's largest private residence, pausing to admire the pastoral style.

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