24 things you definitely didn't know about Melbourne

4 min read

We all know that Melbourne is the absolute best, but how would you go in a quiz about our fine city?

Brush up on your Melbourne facts, and you'll be the life of the party at any Melbourne-based trivia everning, or just amongst your super cool local friends.

Here's the stuff you probably didn't know...

1. It is illegal to sing an obscene/rude song, tune or ballad in earshot of another person, so we know you're loving the bangin' tunes at the moment, but we put those bleeps in there for a reason.

2. For at least 40,000 years before the arrival of the British, the area around Port Phillip Bay was the home of the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong clans, known as the Kulin people.

3. Perhaps the most famous 'Aussie' beer of all, Fosters Lager, was actually brewed by two American brothers, albeit in Melbourne. this might explain why you can pretty much only get it in the States nowadays...

4. Vegemite was invented in Melbourne in 1922 by food technologist Dr. Cyril P Callister, and if you drive past the Port Melbourne factory on the West Gate Freeway and the wind is just right, you can smell it being made. It feels a bit like being IN a toastie. It's the best.

5. Iconic choccie bars the Cherry Ripe (1924), Crunchie (1929) and Freddo Frog (1930) were invented in Melbourne, at MacRobertson’s Steam Confectionery Works. Founded in 1880, the company was based in Fitzroy for over 100 years, before it was sold to Cadbury in the '60s.

6. Melbourne’s famous tram system is the biggest outside Europe and the fourth largest in the world! Touch on!

7. Originally, before Melbourne was called 'Melbourne', it was named Batmania after John Batman, a colonist farmer from Tasmania, and not because the founders were crazy about Batman. That's not the reason, guys, stop saying it is.

8. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, Melbourne quickly became one of the world’s largest and richest cities.

9. You've probably been told not to swin in the Yarra River recently, but back in the 1880s, it was basically a cesspool and the city was nicknamed 'Smellbourne' (Clever!). In 1897, after one typhoid epidemic too many, the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works said 'that's enough!' and endeavoured to build a sewerage system to transport wastewater to Werribee, 30km away. If you drive past it and the wind is just right... anyway, you know what we're saying.

10. According to the RSPCA Melbourne is the world’s 'fox capital', with up to 23 foxes to be found every square kilometre in the metropolitan area! A fox killed my chickens once, and at the time I lived in Balwyn.

11. The world’s first feature-length movie, The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang was filmed in Melbourne in 1906, and used absolutely no CGI. Mainly due to computers not being a thing, but apparently the director was a purist.

12. On Melbourne’s hottest day ever, Black Saturday - February 7 2009, temperatures peaked at 46.4°C 

13. Melbourne’s lowest temperature on record is −2.8°C on July 4, 1901.

14. Melbourne was Australia's capital city for 26 years between 1901 and 1927.

15. Australia’s first Federal Parliament was held at Melbourne’s Exhibition Building on May 9, 1901.

16. In 1929 Melburnian James Freeland Leacock invented and built the first ute! Utility vehicles (sometimes known as 'pickup trucks' in the US) are still the #1 choice for Australian farmers and tradies. Leacock’s invention pre-dated the launch of the first official Australian ‘ute’ by five years.

17. Dr David Warren invented the Black Box Flight Recorder at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne. Warren’s father had died in a plane crash over the Bass Strait in 1934, and he was keen to make sure as much data about crashes could be collected and investigated post-incident.

18. Love a tall building? Melbourne’s CBD has 5 of the six tallest buildings in Australia, and the tallest one, The Eureka Tower stands at a whopping 297.3m.

19. Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world for viewing street art, and this is backed up by an article in the International Business Times!

20. Rainbow Radio was the world’s first gay and lesbian radio station, and it started and broadcast out of Melbourne!

21. Melbourne has the biggest Greek-speaking population outside of Europe!

22. Tom Wills and some of his mates were looking fora way to keep cricketers fit during the off-season, so they mixed up Gaelic Football, Football and Rugby and came up with Australian Rules Football... brutal!

23. Melbourne was host to Australia’s first Olympic games in 1956, which was also the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.

24. Melbourne been ranked the world’s most livable city since 2011 (and among the top three since 2002), according the Economist Intelligence Unit, and we think they're dead right!

Written By Andy Zito

There are vending machines for everything these days…

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