In May 1835 John Batman ‘bought’ around 240, 000 hectares of land from the Aborigines of the Kulin Nation, the traditional owners. The concept of buying or selling land was foreign to the Aboriginal culture and in an extremely one-sided exchange they received some tools, flour and clothing as ‘payment’.
By 1840 there were more than 10, 000 Europeans living in the area around present-day Melbourne. The wealth from the goldfields built this city, known as ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, and this period of prosperity lasted until the depression at the end of the 1880s.
Post-WWII, Melbourne’s social fabric has been greatly enriched by an influx of people and cultures from around the world. Several building booms have altered the city physically so that it’s now a striking blend of ornate 19th-century buildings sitting alongside towering skyscrapers, and what seems like a million modern apartment complexes.
Today the city constantly rejuvenates itself through urban redevelopment. Inner city suburbs, once the haunt of a seedy underworld are now fashionable, hip and pricey to live in (and still a haunt of the seedy underworld).