Melbourne is located in Australia's smallest continental state, Victoria. Originally a part of the state of New South Wales, Melbourne was made a separate colony in 1851. A year later, gold was discovered and the subsequent gold rushes along with the development of rural industries propelled the city's growth.
This growth also helps explain Melbourne's reputation as a "melting pot", with people of all nationalities coming here in search of a better life.
Today, Melbourne's prosperity continues and the quality of life for its residents is among the best in the world. Testament to Victoria's "Garden State" nickname, Melbourne has some great parks and gardens including those at the Government House and at Captain Cook's cottage as well as the world-famous Melbourne Zoo.