The founding of Melbourne and its changing faces
On August 30, 1835, European settlers sailed from Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) aboard the schooner Enterprize. They landed on the north bank of the Yarra River and established a settlement, on the corner of William and Flinders streets – today known as Enterprize Park.
Prior to this time, the people of the Kulin nation: the Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung), Boon Wurrung, Taungurong, Djajawurrung and the Wathaurung, had lived in this area for thousands of years and are the traditional custodians of this land.
Today, the Kulin Nation share this land with the multicultural community of Melbourne, the centre of a thriving metropolis of 5.235 million skirting Port Phillip Bay.
The City of Melbourne itself has around 160,000 residents of which more than 25 per cent are of Chinese heritage. This is a result of the large number of tertiary students who study in universities located in the city.
Only 15 years from Melbourne’s establishment, the Gold Rush of the 1850s saw Melbourne become the gateway to the Victorian goldfields which resulted in Victoria’s population growing from 76,000 to 540,000. A large proportion were Chinese due to the close proximity and compatibility of the English colonial ports of Melbourne and Hong Kong at the time.
As evidence of this past history, Melbourne’s Chinatown in Little Bourke St still thrives as an attraction to the centre of the City. Established in 1851, it has buildings built in the 1860s and still owned by the original Chinese societies.
Melbourne’s multicultural mix changed with a large influx of Italian and Greek migrants seeking a better life when they arrived in Australia from 1945 to 1972.
Today, neighbouring Lonsdale St, around Russell St is home to Greek cuisine while Lygon St, Carlton boasts a thriving Italian food street.
Furthermore, there are three museums representing Chinese, Italian and Greek communities and cultures in the City of Melbourne:
- Chinese Museum at 22 Cohen Place.
- CO.AS.IT at 189 Faraday St, Carlton.
- Hellenic Museum at 280 William St.
Celebrate Melbourne Day at the Chinese Museum
Residents of municipality of City of Melbourne can visit the Chinese Museum for free from Thursday, August 31 to Sunday, September 3 and take a free guided tour at 11.30am and 2pm daily. Museum open from 10am to 4pm (free entry requires proof of City of Melbourne residential address).
While you’re at the Chinese Museum, participate in the online mural wall with a short video telling why you like living in Melbourne! •
For more information: chinesemuseum.com.au