2008 Melbourne becomes a UNESCO City of Literature.
1996 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix moves to Melbourne from Adelaide. More than 100,000 people view the race live in Albert Park each year.
1992 Swanston Street is closed to through traffic, making the Central Business District nicer for pedestrians.
1986 Melbourne’s underground rail loop opens.
1981 Queen Elizabeth opens City Square, which originally features a giant video screen and unpopular, angular, yellow steel sculpture. It is later redeveloped with the addition of a popular dog sculpture called Larry La Trobe (which is promptly stolen).
1956 Summer Olympic Games held in Melbourne, the first in the Southern Hemisphere. Against an atmosphere of global political tension, the games introduce the tradition of athletes walking together during the closing ceremony, instead of marching as national teams.
1940s Post-war immigration from Southern Europe kickstarts Melbourne’s coffee culture.
1905 The first Australian Open tennis tournament is held at the Warehouseman's Cricket Ground. Early tournaments attract very few foreign players because the trip by ship from Europe to Australia takes 45 days.
1885 First tramway opens and soon 32km of lines are added. Modern Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world.
1880s Land booms see the city grow upwards and outwards. Fuelled by the Victoria Gold Rush, Melbourne is one of the richest cities in the world until a major crash at the start of the 1890s.
1873 Queen Victoria Market opens on the site of an old cemetery. You can still shop at the market today. The bodies beneath the ground are moved to somewhere more peaceful in 1921.
1872 The Melbourne Mint (a branch of the British Royal Mint) opens to deal with the major discoveries of gold in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia.
1853 Melbourne Cricket Club (founded 1838) moves to Yarra Park, now one of the world’s largest stadiums.
1850s Gold discovered in Victoria. Melbourne becomes a boom town and 60,000 – 90,000 people arrive each year.
1847 Melbourne officially becomes a city with the motto “Vires acquirit eundo” – we gather strength as we go.
1841 Four wards are drawn up, a market is established and Melbourne becomes a recognised town a year later.
1835 The settlement of Melbourne is founded by John Batman (no relation) and is briefly called Batmania, before being named after the British Prime Minister Viscount Melbourne. The governor of New South Wales proclaims that all treaties with Aborigines are void and that the native people should be treated as trespassers on British land.
1803 British colonisers arrive in an area that has been home to the Kulin people for 30,000-40,000 years. Today, although many people of native descent still live in and around Melbourne, there are few traces of their culture to be seen around the city.