Melbourne is a smorgasbord（瑞典式自助餐）of a city that invites you to take a bite. A leafy bayside community on the 'upside-down'， brown Yarra River（亚拉河）， it is cosmopolitan， suburban， cultivated， conservative and a haven for the avant-garde（先锋派）。 Visitors come for its shopping， restaurants， nightlife and sporting calendar， and most agree that it's one of the world's most liveable cities.
In the last 10 years the city has undergone a renaissance. Innumerable（无数的）hip boutiques， restaurants and bars crowd the alleys and Victorian-era arcades（拱郎）off the main streets. Its riverbanks and docklands（港区）have been tranformed into spruced-up sites for swanky waterside socialising.
Although mystery surrounds many aspects of Australian prehistory， it seems certain that the first humans came here across the sea from Southeast Asia around 50，000 to 70，000 years ago. There were about 38 tribal groups living around Victoria when white people arrived. Aborigines were traditionally tribal people living in extended family groups and using the environment sustainably. It is believed that Aboriginal people were the first to make polished， stone tools， to cremate（火葬）their dead and to engrave and paint representations（画像）of themselves and animals. Although their society was technologically simple， it was culturally sophisticated， using complex ceremonies which integrated religion， history， law， art and codes of behaviour.
Aboriginal people around Victoria resisted white settlement （which began in 1803）， and although some settlements had to be abandoned， the original inhabitants were really just postponing the inevitable. Soon after settlement， the Aboriginal people had been dispossessed of their lands and massacred in their thousands.
Melbourne was established in 1835 by a group of Tasmanian（塔斯马尼亚的）entrepreneurs， and is the youngest city of its size in the world. Although the settlement was not named until 1837， its characteristic grid layout was imposed by military surveyor Robert Hoddle the same year， and by 1840 over 10，000 people had been attracted to the area. The colony of Victoria was formed in 1851， with Melbourne as its capital， neatly coinciding with the discovery of gold which swiftly and inexorably（无情地）transformed them both.
Gold brought a huge influx of immigrants from around the world， and the wealth it generated created a city of extravagant proportions. In 30 years the designs of the city's architects， the skills of its many European tradespeople（商人们）and the designation of large areas of the city for public parkland had established what was known as 'Marvellous Melbourne - the Paris of the Antipodes（澳大利亚和新西兰）'. This progress was， however， temporarily halted in 1890 by the first of many devastating financial crashes which have afflicted the economically vulnerable city.
The ethnic mix of Melbourne's population has always been an important influence on the city's character： the Chinese and Irish diggers attracted by gold in the 19th century and the postwar arrival of refugees and migrants from all over Europe （particularly Greece， Italy， Yugoslavia， Turkey and Poland） and more recently from Vietnam and Cambodia（柬埔寨）， have all contributed elements of their cultures to what could otherwise have been a conservative， passionless English society. These migrants have boosted Melbourne's population to 4 million and their influences are witnessed in Melbourne's robust and varied architecture， restaurants， festivals and entertainment.
After WWII， Melbourne went into a long period of stable， occasionally complacent， conservative government. Although the city's political establishment liked to think it was the centre of national gravity， in fact Sydney gradually took precedence on the national scale until it became clear， by the 1960s， that Melbourne's star had been eclipsed. Nevertheless， a strong rivalry between the two occasionally still surfaces（浮出水面）。
Conservative dominance continued until the '80s， when the Labor party took office and the city hit boom times（繁荣时期）。 Land prices just kept going up， and so did buildings， until 1990 when the whole thing fell in a heap. In 1992 radical conservative autocrat Jeff Kennett took the reins， provoking ire and admiration in seemingly equal doses. Under Kennett， Melbourne waved goodbye to social services and healthcare， and gave a hearty hello to the Grand Prix（国际汽车大奖赛）and the Crown Casino（皇冠赌场）。
Kennett's Liberal government was comprehensively ousted in 1999's state election， and a refurbished Labor party is now busily reinventing Victoria in the Blairite mould of moderately progressive， strongly pro-business centre-left government. Large construction projects have continued unabated， fuelling another one of those regular property booms that have created and decimated fortunes ever since the city was established. Many of the holes in the inner city business district are being redeveloped， one of the newest developments is Federation Square， an architecturally innovative if controversial use of public cultural space. The fringes of the city are also growing apace， prompting the government to set limits for development that will hopefully slow， and in the long term halt， the city's unseemly sprawl. The city also continues to support a healthy cultural scene， especially in the fields of cinema and contemporary music.