Melbourne is a stunning part of the world. It’s a great place to call home, and many of us know the best parts of Melbourne, like where to go for a coffee or where to avoid when you don’t want to queue for brunch on a Saturday! While the common things about Melbourne are pretty well known, there are a few incredible facts about Melbourne that are probably a bit less known. In the interest of getting to know Melbourne just a little bit better, RNR Melbourne has compiled a list of 10 surprising facts about this glorious city!
- Fosters beer – the bane of Aussies everywhere and the favoured beverage of the English (go figure) was first brewed in Melbourne way back in 1888, when craft beer was but a twinkle in the eye of Fitzroy locals everywhere. The first batch of Fosters was brewed by brothers from the USA, William and Ralph Foster.
- Another iconic product calls Melbourne home – Vegemite was first made in 1922 after months of exhaustive laboratory testing. Dr Cyril P Callister was the pioneer of Vegemite, as he created a taste that divided public opinion! The tasty treat that is Vegemite is still only made at the Vegemite factory in Port Melbourne at Fisherman’s Bend.
- Another first – Melbourne is home to Toto’s, Australia’s first pizza restaurant which opened – rather fittingly – in Little Italy, Lygon Street in 1961 where it remains to this day.
- Melbournians love their trams, and the tramway network is the largest outside of Europe, and the fourth largest in the world!
- John Batman landed in Port Phillip Bay in May of 1835, and before Melbourne was called Melbourne, it was known as Batmania in his honour. Batman was part of a syndicate who bought up 600,000 acres of land around Melbourne.
- The mighty Yarra was a cesspool in the 1880s and earned the city the creative moniker, ‘Smellbourne’. In 1897 after a typhoid epidemic, the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works built a sewerage system to move the wastewater to Werribee.
- Melbourne is the fox capital of the world, with around six to 23 foxes per square kilometer in the metropolitan area. That’s a lot of foxes!
- Our very own National Gallery has the world’s largest stained glass ceiling – at 51 metres by 15 metres, it’s a highly impressive structure.
- The first traffic lights ever to be installed in Australia were put in on the intersection of Collins and Swanston Streets in 1912.
- Melbourne was once the capital city of Australia from 1901 to 1927.
With such a fascinating history, it makes sense that it’s one of the most livable cities in the world!