Ah, Melbourne! The cultural capital of Australia! City of charming laneways, cosy coffee shops, trendy vintage stores and famous street art. There’s so much to explore in Australia’s second biggest city and there’s no shortage of restaurants, cafes, bars and music venues to keep you entertained.
Here are 7 fun facts about Melbourne that even locals don’t know!
First, if you haven’t already.
Then we’ll go through the answers together. We’ll wait for you, don’t worry.
Done? Perfect! Let’s go!
#1 The Queen Victoria Market had approximately 10,000 bodies buried underneath it!
Yep, most of the land where QVM now stands was actually the site of Melbourne’s first official cemetery. It is estimated that it housed the remains of around 10,000 early settlers and Aboriginal people, buried between 1836 and 1854. Some of the bodies were dug up and relocated but most of them remain buried at this site. Spooky!
#2 JJ Clark was only 19 years old when he designed the Old Treasury Building.
JJ Clark was born in England but relocated to Melbourne at age 14 with his family. At this young age, he was employed by the colonial architect’s office as a draftsman and five years later, in 1857, he began designing the Old Treasury Building. Construction began the next year and was completed in 1862. Nowadays, the Old Treasury Building is considered a beautiful example of Renaissance Revival architecture in Melbourne!
#3 Federation Square has over 4,000 springs incorporated in its construction.
The construction of Federation Square took four years, and a whole year of that construction work was dedicated to the deck beneath the square! This was mostly because it could only be done during breaks in the train timetable. In addition to the 4,000 vibration- and shock-absorbing springs, the deck is also supported by 1.4 kilometres of concrete and 3,000 tonnes of steel beams!
#4 The equestrian events of the 1956 Summer Olympics were actually held in Stockholm.
The 1956 Summer Olympics were the first Games to be held in the Southern Hemisphere, so it was a pretty big deal! Unfortunately, due to Australia’s famously strict quarantine regulations, the equestrian events couldn’t be held in Melbourne like the rest of the events. Instead, they were held in Stockholm, Sweden five months earlier.
#5 Melbourne was almost named ‘Batmania’.
Yes, this is not a joke! A man named John Batman, born in the colony of New South Wales, arrived at the current site of central Melbourne in 1835 and declared that this land would be the perfect place for a town and that town shall be named Batmania! Obviously, this didn’t end up happening but the fact that it almost did is pretty funny. Unfortunately, not everything about Batman is that upbeat. It’s also important to note that he is heavily criticised for his treatment of Aboriginal people.
#6 It’s true, Centre Place used to be lined with urinals!
In the 1890s, the area called Centre Place was known as Cummings Alley. It twisted around a series of warehouses from Flinders Lane and was lined with a whole bunch of urinals for the public to use. By 1915, it was renamed ‘Centre Court’ and joined to Collins Street and then in the 1980s it was revitalised as part of a council project. Now, it is one of Melbourne’s most iconic and lively laneways!
#7 You can email over 70,000 trees in the City of Melbourne.
Saving the best for last! Okay, this is probably one of my favourite fun facts EVER. The City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual project maintains more than 70,000 trees in this area. On their website, you can access carefully collected data on every individual tree, including each tree’s assigned email address. The original intention was to open an avenue of communication so people could report on the condition of trees in the city but people took this opportunity and RAN with it. These trees get sent everything from love letters to funny jokes to existential questions. If you send an email, you’ll likely get a response! Of course, it won’t be the actual tree talking to you, the reply is just from a council member. But if you’re interested, check out their website and send an email to a tree! Send some treemail, if you will.
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