Tuesday, 26 October 2010


“My hometown was so dull that one time the tide went out and never came back.” - Fred Allen

Well, it’s official! Melbourne is the best city in Australia to work, play and live in. We Melbournians knew that all along of course, but kept it a secret just incase we had an influx of immigrants that want to share our good fortune! A national survey was just published indicated that our nation’s Number 1 tourism destination for sport, culture, shopping, theatre, restaurants, bars and nightlife is Melbourne, eclipsing Sydney and the up-and-coming pretender Brisbane… It is the country’s sporting capital and confirmed as the best Australian city to host sporting events, as well. Melbourne was also commended for being home to world-class golf courses, a capable host for musical and theatre experiences and also for having top regional experiences close to the city.

Well, I can’t be an objective commentator as I love my hometown and I am proud of Melbourne. Its lifestyle and facilities, its parks, its galleries, museums, roads, public transport and also of course its people are amongst the best in the world. Melbournians are generally friendly, approachable, cosmopolitan, fashion-conscious, trend-setting, cultured and with a good sense of humour. Having lived here for several decades I have seen Melbourne blossom into a world metropolis from what originally was a large town masquerading as a city. Progress has been staggering and the development that has occurred in the last couple of decades is astounding, to say the least!

Progress though, comes at a price… I shall now be the devil’s advocate and try to become less subjective. The already immense population increase in our city has statisticians predict that Melbourne will become Australia’s most populous city in the next few years, rapidly overtaking Sydney. This will create all sorts of issues that have city planners cringe. Increased traffic, demand for living space, housing, resources, pressure on the surrounding countryside, inadequate public transport and roads, are all bound to become very real threats in the immediate future. Increasing crime, pollution, smog, overcrowding, creation of ghettoes and rising property prices are also anticipated. We are already experiencing some of these problems and no doubt we should brace ourselves because they are likely to worsen, given the refractory nature of bureaucracy and city planning.

It should be noted that most respondents of the survey were people living interstate and contemplating Melbourne as tourist destination. I would hate to city my hometown become “a lovely place to visit, but I wouldn’t like to live there” type of place (incidentally exactly the way that think of Sydney!). Incidentally, Victoria rated fourth in world-class natural attractions, behind Queensland, Northern Territory and New South Wales. It also came fourth on unique history and heritage attractions, the Tourism Victoria survey shows.


  1. I fully agree, with two observations:

    a] "Statisticians predict that Melbourne will become Australia’s most populous city in the next few years, rapidly overtaking Sydney". From the gold rushes on, Melbourne always was bigger and more important. Only in 1905 did Sydney become bigger.

    b] 26% of Melbourne's population was born outside Australia. Without the Greeks, Italians, Poles, Russians, Dutch, Vietnamese etc, this city would not be the multi-cultural metropolis that it is.

  2. Definitely a place to visit then!
    All big cities have problems like those you describe, Nicholas. Very hard to find solutions for them, unless we go back to living in smaller cities...