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Overview

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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History & heritage

12 of 31 results

Heritage buildings

Abbotsford Convent

Home to some of Melbourne's best visual artists, writers and illustrators, the convent is a calm, creative haven on the inner city fringe.

Arts & culture

Aboriginal Heritage Walk

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

Heritage buildings

Brighton Bathing Boxes

Dive into Port Phillip Bay under the watch of 82 distinctive bathing boxes, a row of instantly recognisable wooden huts lining Brighton Beach.

History & heritage

Bulla Hill Railway

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

History & heritage

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...

Heritage buildings

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.

Heritage buildings

Flinders Street Station

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

History & heritage

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,...

Maritime history

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...

Heritage buildings

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.

Museums

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.

History & heritage

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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Things to do

Tours

Explore Melbourne on foot with an expert walking guide, join a bus tour or follow the historic City Circle Tram route on a tour of the city's cafes.

Things to do

Aboriginal Victoria

Explore Aboriginal culture and heritage in Melbourne and surrounds. Take a heritage walk and visit cultural centres, galleries and museums.

Architecture

Heritage buildings

Discover Melbourne's rich history with a visit to one of the numerous historical buildings and monuments around the city.

Art & culture

Museums

Delve deep into the history of places near and far at Melbourne's varied museums, dedicated to all manner of the city's quirky local stories.