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Melbourne is the state capital and largest city in the Australian state of Victoria, and the second-largest city in Australia (after Sydney), with a population of approximately 3.8 million (2006 estimate) in the Melbourne metropolitan area and 69,670 in the City of Melbourne (which covers only the central city area).

The city's name is pronounced as either /mel.bn/ or /mæl.bn/. Melbourne was the capital city of Australia from 1901 until 1927.

Melbourne is the business capital of Australia and is often declared to be one of the most liveable cities in the world. Melbourne is home to Australia's three largest corporations, Telstra, BHPBilliton and the National Australia Bank. It is also home to the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the majority of companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Melbourne is also home to Australia's biggest events including: The Melbourne Cup, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Australian Open, AFL Grand Final and MotoGP Motorcycle Grand Prix, and will host the Commonwealth Games in 2006. The city also hosted the first Olympics in the southern hemisphere in 1956.

Melbourne has twice ranked first in a survey by The Economist of The World's Most Livable Cities on the basis of its cultural attributes, climate, cost of living, and social conditions such as crime rates and health care, once in 2002, and again in 2004. The US's Utne Reader puts it thus: "Add a long tradition of civic pride, communities of new immigrants from around the world, and the best food in Australia, and you have a recipe for what many claim is the hippest city in the Southern Hemisphere" (Nov/Dec 2001).

Melbourne has undergone a major urban 'revival', such that it is sometimes classed as being in a second tier of "world cities"; the GaWC study group in the UK ranks Melbourne, on the basis of relative availability of specialised "advanced services," as a "minor world city" comparable to cities such as Montreal, Osaka, and Prague. It has one of the highest numbers of international students studying in its universities, after London, New York City, and Paris.

Information courtesy of Wikipedia.

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