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  JEWISH AND KOSHER AUSTRALIA   אוסטרליה

JEWISH AND KOSHER VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA           הקהילה היהודית בויקטוריה, אוסטרליה

 
 
 
  AUSTRALIA  
 

JEWISH AND KOSHER VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA:

  1. CHABAD

  2. ERUV

  3. MIKVAH

  4. SHABBAT HOSPITALITY

  5. ויקטוריה למטייל הישראלי

PARLIAMENT OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA            הפרלמנט של ויקטוריה - מלבורן, אוסטרליה
The Victorian Parliament House, built in 1856, stands in Spring Street, Melbourne. Sep 19, 2009. Author: Donaldytong.

Capital Melbourne
Demonym Victorian
Government Constitutional monarchy
 - Governor Alex Chernov
 - Premier Ted Baillieu (LP)

Australian State

 - Established as Colony 1850
 - Responsible Government 1856
 - Became State 1901
 - Constitution Constitution Act (Vic) 1975
 - Australia Act 3 March 1986

Area

 
 - Total  237,629 km2 (6th)
91,749 sq mi
 - Land 227,416 km2
87,806 sq mi
 - Water 10,213 km2 (4.3%)
3,943 sq mi

Population (June 2010)

 - Population  5,547,527  (2nd)
 - Density  24.39/km2 (2nd)
63.2 /sq mi

Elevation

 
 - Highest Mt Bogong
1,986 m (6,516 ft)

Gross State Product (2009–10)

 - Product ($m)  $293,313 (2nd)
 - Product per capita  $52,872 (6th)
Time zone UTC+10 (AEST)
UTC+11 (AEDT)

Federal representation

 - House seats 37
 - Senate seats 12

Abbreviations

 
 - Postal VIC
 - ISO 3166-2 AU-VIC

Emblems

 
 - Floral Pink Heath
 - Animal Leadbeater's possum
 - Bird Helmeted Honeyeater
 - Fish Weedy Seadragon
 - Colours Navy Blue and Silver

Web site

www.vic.gov.au/

MELBOURNE, THE STATE CAPITAL, IS HOME TO MORE THAN SEVEN IN TEN VICTORIANS. LOOKING ACROSS HOBSONS BAY TOWARDS THE MELBOURNE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT.
Melbourne, the state capital, is home to more than seven in ten Victorians. Looking across Hobsons Bay towards the Melbourne central business district. May 19, 07.  Donaldytong

Victoria is a state of Australia, in the south-east of the country.  Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively.

TWELVE APOSTLES ON THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia (looking west).
Author:
User:Gaz/Images

Victoria is Australia's most densely populated state, and has a highly centralised population, with almost 75% of Victorians living in Melbourne, the state capital and largest city.

Etymology

Victoria, like Queensland, was named after Queen Victoria, the monarch at the time.

History of Victoria

Aboriginal history

The state of Victoria was originally home to many indigenous nations that had occupied the land for tens of thousands of years.According to Gary Presland Aborigines have lived in Victoria for about 40,000 years,  living a semi-nomadic existence of fishing, hunting and gathering, and farming eels.

At the Keilor Archaeological Site a human hearth excavated in 1971 was radiocarbon-dated to about 31,000 years BP, making Keilor one of the earliest sites of human habitation in Australia.  A cranium found at the site has been dated at between 12,000  and 14,700 years BP.

Archaeological sites in Tasmania and on the Bass Strait Islands have been dated to between 20,000 – 35,000 years ago, when sea levels were 130 metres below present level allowing Aboriginal people to move across the region of southern Victoria and on to the land bridge of the Bassian plain to Tasmania by at least 35,000 years ago.

During the Ice Age about 20,000 years BP, the area now the bay of Port Phillip would have been dry land, and the Yarra and Werribee river would have joined to flow through the heads then south and south west through the Bassian plain before meeting the ocean to the west. Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands became separated from mainland Australia around 12,000 BP, when the sea level was approximately 50m below present levels.Port Phillip was flooded by post-glacial rising sea levels between 8000 and 6000 years ago.

Oral history and creation stories from the Wada wurrung, Woiwurrung and Bun wurrung languages describe the flooding of the bay. Hobsons Bay was once a kangaroo hunting ground. Creation stories describe how Bunjil was responsible for the formation of the bay,  or the bay was flooded when the Yarra river was created (Yarra Creation Story. )

Early European exploration

Coming from New Zealand in 1770, Captain James Cook in HM Bark Endeavour sighted land at Point Hicks, about 70 km west of Gabo Island, before turning east and north to follow the coast of Australia.

Ships sailing from the United Kingdom to Sydney crossed the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean, sailing around Van Diemen's Land before turning north to their destination. Several captains viewed the expanse of water between Van Diemen's Land and the east coast of New South Wales and wondered whether it was a large bay or a strait. Survivors of the Sydney Cove, wrecked in the Furneaux Group of islands, also thought it might be a strait.

To clear up the question, Governor Hunter sent George Bass to thoroughly explore the coast in a whaleboat. After reaching Wilsons Promontory and Western Port in January 1798 he was forced by bad weather and lack of provisions to return to Sydney. Bass returned with Matthew Flinders in December 1798 in the Norfolk and sailed through the strait, proving its existence.

In December 1800, Lieutenant James Grant in HMS Lady Nelson, on way from Cape Town to Sydney, sailed through Bass Strait from west to east. Governor King, disappointed at the vagueness of Grant’s chart, sent him back to survey the strait more thoroughly. Bad weather prevented him from proceeding beyond Western Port, where he stayed for five weeks, planting wheat, Indian corn. peas, rice, coffee and potatoes on Churchill Island off Phillip Island.

In January 1802 Lieutenant John Murray in the Lady Nelson visited Western Port and entered Port Phillip on 14 February. He named Arthur’s Seat, explored Corio Bay and formally took possession of the bay (which he named Port King) for Britain.

Three weeks later the French explorer Nicolas Baudin sailed through the strait from east to west and was the first to properly survey the coast to the west.

On 26 April 1802, Flinders, unaware of Murray’s visit, entered Port Phillip in Investigator, climbed Arthur’s Seat, rowed to Mornington and across to the Bellarine Peninsula and climbed the You Yangs.

In January 1803 Acting-Lieutenant Charles Robbins in the schooner Cumberland sailed right around Port Phillip. With him were acting surveyor-general Charles Grimes and gardener James Flemming. At the head of the bay they found a river and followed it upstream where it soon divided. They followed the western branch and named it the Saltwater River (the present Maribyrnong) to what is now Braybrook, and then the eastern fresh-water branch (the Yarra) to Dights Falls. They had a friendly meeting with Aboriginal people and returned to their ship via Corio Bay. They concluded that the best site for a settlement would be on the freshwater at the northern head of the bay, but were unenthusiastic about the soil and its agricultural potential.

1803 British settlement

With Britain involved in the French revolutionary wars, Governor King was concerned that Bass Strait could harbour enemy raiders, and that in peace time it could provide an important trade route and trading base. The appearance of Baudin’s ships served to reinforce the concern that France was interested in the area. King was also looking for an alternative settlement for the increasing number of convicts in Sydney and to reduce the pressure on food resources. Port Phillip, with a favourable climate and rich fishing and sealing resources, seemed an ideal location for another settlement.

A full description of Murray’s and Flinders’ discoveries, together with King’s thoughts on settlement, but not Grimes’ report, reached England just as HMS Calcutta was being prepared to send a shipload of convicts to Sydney. In February 1803, Lord Hobart the Secretary of State changed the destination to Port Phillip. On 24 April 1803, HMS Calcutta, commanded by Captain Daniel Woodriff, with Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins as commander of the expedition, left England accompanied by the store-ship Ocean. The expedition consisted of 402 people: 5 Government officials, 9 officers of marines, 2 drummers, and 39 privates, 5 soldiers' wives, and a child, 307 convicts, 17 convicts' wives, and 7 children[12] One of the children was the eleven year old John Pascoe Fawkner, later a founder of Melbourne, who accompanied his convicted father and mother.

The party entered Port Phillip on 9 October 1803 and chose a site at Sullivan Bay near present-day Sorrento.

Collins was soon disappointed with the area. Reports from exploring parties led by Lieutenant James Tuckey and surveyor George Harris described strong currents, sandy soil, poor timber, swampy land and scarce fresh water. They also clashed with the Wathaurung people near Corio Bay, killing their leader – the first Aboriginal known to have been killed by settlers in Victoria.

Collins reported his criticisms to Governor King, who supported him and recommended moving the settlement. On 18 December Calcutta departed for Port Jackson, and the party was prepared for evacuation. This was achieved in two voyages of Ocean in January and May 1804, assisted by the Lady Nelson which had been surveying Port Dalrymple on the north coast of Van Diemens Land. The party was transferred to the fledgling settlement of Hobart, founded by Lieutenant John Bowen as a penal colony at Risdon Cove in September 1803.

The brief settlement at Sorrento achieved little and left only a few relics for modern tourists to observe. Collins has been criticised for not investigating the bay thoroughly, in particular the northern head with its fresh-water river, and for being too hasty in his condemnation of the bay. The site of the settlement is now a reserve incorporating four graves from the period.

When Collins departed, one man was left behind. A convict, William Buckley, had escaped and was presumed killed by Aborigines. He was to see his next European in 1835.

For the next thirty years a few sealers and whalers rested on the southern coast of New South Wales.

Interest grows in the north coast of Bass Strait

Following a number of exploratory expeditions south from the settled areas of New South Wales, the pastoralist Hamilton Hume and former sea-captain William Hovell set off to explore the country to the south in October 1824. They crossed the Murray River (which they named the Hume River) near the site of Albury and continued south. They crossed the Goulburn River (which they called the Hovell) above the site of Yea, and were forced to detour around mountains. They arrived on the shores of Corio Bay, mistakenly believing it to be Western Port, and returned to Sydney in January 1825, lavishly praising the quality of the country they had passed through.

In April 1826 the French explorer d'Urville visited one of the sealers’ camps on Phillip Island. Worried by this renewed French interest in the area and encouraged by Hume and Hovell’s reports, Governor Darling ordered a settlement to be established at Western Port. A small convict party arrived in November 1826 at Corinella under the command of Samuel Wright, to protect the approaches to the bay. Hovell, accompanying the party, soon realised that this was not where he had arrived two years before, and reported unfavourably on the swampy land around Western Port, although he referred to better land to the north. In spite of clearing the land for crops, and the construction of a fort and houses, the settlement was abandoned in April 1828.

The shortage of good pasture in Van Diemen's Land led to settlers there showing interest in the country across Bass Strait, following Hume and Hovell’s reports and stories of visiting sealers. Pastoralist John Batman and surveyor John Wedge planned an expedition from Launceston in 1825 but permission was not granted. A number of settlers sought land over the next few years, but Governor Darling turned down all requests.

A sealer William Dutton built a hut on the shore of Portland Bay in 1829 where he resided until his death.

The expedition down the Murray River by Charles Sturt in 1830 again aroused interest in settlement in the south. In April 1833 Edward Henty, returning to Van Diemen's Land from Spencer Gulf called in to Portland for a cargo of oil, and was much impressed. In November 1834 John Hart, another sailor, reported favourably in Launceston on Western Port. It was now inevitable that settlement would occur.

In June 1834 banker Charles Swanston advised his client George Mercer that land was scarce in Van Diemen's Land and he should invest across Bass Strait. Pastoralists John Aitken and George Russell suggested forming a partnership, and in August 1834 a group of eight Launceston capitalists formed what became the Port Phillip Association. On 19 November 1834 Edward Henty landed in Portland Bay and began the first permanent European settlement on the north coast of Bass Strait.

1834 permanent settlement

Victoria's first successful British settlement was at Portland, on the west coast of what is now Victoria. Portland was settled on 19 November 1834  by the Henty family, who were originally farmers from Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). When Major Mitchell led an expedition to the region from Sydney in 1835, arriving at Portland in August 1836, he was surprised to find a small but prosperous community living off the fertile farmland.

With the dispossession of Aboriginal tribes from their lands with the establishment of sheep runs by squatters, conflict over resources and land use inevitably occurred. One highly notable incident called the Convincing Ground massacre occurred in Portland Bay in 1833 or 1834 in a possible dispute about a Beached whale between whalers and the Kilcarer gundidj clan of the Gunditjmara people.

Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman, also from Van Diemen's Land and quickly grew into a thriving community, although at great human cost to the original inhabitants. Its foundation was the result of an invasion of wealthy squatters, land speculators and their indentured servants (including ex-convicts) who arrived from 1835, in a race with one another to seize an 'empty' country. The British Crown and colonial governments did not recognize prior Aboriginal ownership of their lands, waters and property, in spite of claiming that Aborigines fell within the protection of the law as British subjects.

Early in 1835, Mr Franks, one of the first immigrants, and his shepherd were killed by some of the Goulburn tribe of aborigines. His station was near Cotterill's Mount, called the Sugarloaf, near the river Exe, now Werribee. They were both killed at one moment by the aborigines, who while pretending friendship, murdered them by driving their tomahawks into the backs of their heads. A party was soon sent out after them, led by tour of the Melbourne tribe, who recovered part of the property stolen, and took vengeance on the murderers.

Between 1836 and 1842, Victorian Aboriginal groups were largely dispossessed of territory bigger than England.   Although the British Colonial Office appointed 5 "Aboriginal Protectors" for the entire Aboriginal population of Victoria, arriving in Melbourne in 1839, they worked "...within a land policy that nullified their work, and there was no political will to change this." "It was government policy to encourage squatters to take possession of whatever [Aboriginal] land they chose,....that largely explains why almost all the original inhabitants of Port Phillip's vast grasslands were dead so soon after 1835".  By 1845, fewer than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licences then issued in Victoria and became the patriarchs "...that were to wield so much political and economic power in Victoria for generations to come."

The first petition for the separation of the Port Phillip District (or 'Australia Felix') from New South Wales was drafted in 1840 by Henry Fyshe Gisborne and presented by him to Governor Gipps. Gipps, who had previously been in favour of separation, rejected the petition.

In the years 1842 and 1843 a severe financial crisis occurred, mainly due to the Government demanding from the banks the large rate of 7 per cent for all moneys deposited with them, the result of land sales. The banks had to charge their customers from 10 to 12 per cent for loans, very often on questionable securities. It was then accerlerated by Lord John Russell's instructions that all lands out of town boundaries to be sold at only £1 per acre. Sheep that had been bought at from 30s to 40s per head are now sold at less than 2s. The Insolvent Court was rushed by all classes of the community.

The British Act of Parliament separating Victoria from New South Wales, and naming and providing a Constitution for the new Colony, was signed ten years later by Queen Victoria on 5 August 1850. It was followed by enabling legislation passed by the New South Wales Legislative Council on 1 July 1851. This was formally the founding moment of the Colony of Victoria as separation from New South Wales was established by Section 1 of the 1851 Act.  

1850s gold rush

In 1851 gold was first discovered in Clunes near Ballarat,  and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power. In ten years the population of Victoria increased sevenfold from 76,000 to 540,000. All sorts of gold records were produced including the "richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world" and the largest gold nugget. Victoria produced in the decade 1851-1860, twenty million ounces of gold, one third of the world's output.

Immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold, especially from Ireland and China. Many Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particularly strong in Bendigo and its environs. Although there was some racism directed at them, there was not the level of anti-Chinese violence that was seen at the Lambing Flat riots in New South Wales. However, there was a riot at Buckland Valley near Bright in 1857. Conditions on the gold fields were cramped and unsanitary - an outbreak of typhoid at Buckland Valley in 1854 killed over 1,000 miners.

In 1854 there was an armed rebellion against the government of Victoria by miners protesting against mining taxes (the "Eureka Stockade"). This was crushed by British troops, but some of the leaders of the rebellion subsequently became members of the Victoria Parliament, and the rebellion is still sometimes regarded as a pivotal moment in the development of Australian democracy.

The first foreign military action by the colony of Victoria was to send troops and a warship to New Zealand as part of the Maori Wars. Troops from New South Wales had previously participated in the Crimean War.

Depression of 1893

A period of prosperity in the 1880's led to a wild speculation in land and buildings, and money was poured in from England. Land companies, mortgage societies, municipal bodies, building societies, and a host of other organisations all clamoured for a share in the good things that were on offer, and probably £40,000,000 flowed into Victoria during a period of six years. With so much easy money In circulation, a fictitious prosperity of a feverish sort resulted. The banks issued notes to the value of millions, and trade and Industry flourished as never before. The reaction came quickly. Public confidence subsided like a pricked balloon. A run commenced on the banks, and the bursting of the boom brought with lt widespread disaster.

In 1893, 14 banks failed, twelve of those, with 905 branches throughout Australia, had liabilities assessed at £166,000,000, and thousands of people lost the whole of their possessions. Bank notes in many cases were worthless, and Victoria reached the farthest depth of a financial depression. Unemployment became widespread, wages and prices dropped and bankruptcies followed one another In disturbing sequence. The most drastic retrenchments were made by the Government and public bodies.

1901 federation

At the beginning of 1901, following a proclamation by Queen Victoria, Victoria ceased to be an independent colony and became a state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Victorian and Tasmanian politicians were particularly active in the Federation process.

As a result of the gold rush, Melbourne became the financial centre of Australia and New Zealand. Between 1901 and 1927, Melbourne was the capital of Australia while Canberra was under construction. It was also the largest city in Australia at the time, and the second largest city in the Empire (after London). Whilst Melbourne remains an important financial centre, Sydney is now the largest city.

1990s economic slump

Victoria experienced an economic slump from 1989 to 1992 during the term of John Cain's government. This was largely attributable to lagging property markets and manufacturing sectors as well as a financial crash involving industry giants such as the Pyramid Building Society and the collapse of The State Bank of Victoria, in particular its merchant banking arm Tricontinental. The result was a loss of employment and a drain of population to New South Wales and Queensland.

In the 1990s, the Victorian state government of Premier Jeff Kennett (Lib) sought to reverse this trend with the aggressive development of new public works, mainly centred around the state capital of Melbourne. These included the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre (nicknamed "Jeff's Shed"), Crown Casino, capital works such as the CityLink tollway, the sale of state assets (including the State Electricity Commission and some state schools), the pruning of state services and a public relations campaign promoting Melbourne's merits, aimed at Melbourne residents and visitors alike. These policies were continued under the governments of Premiers Steve Bracks (ALP) and John Brumby (ALP).

See also

References

External links

--

After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788, Australia was divided into an eastern half named New South Wales and a western half named New Holland, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney. The first European settlement in the area later known as Victoria was established in October 1803 under Lieutenant-Governor David Collins at Sullivan Bay, Victoria on Port Phillip. It consisted of 402 people (5 Government officials, 9 officers of marines, 2 drummers, and 39 privates, 5 soldiers' wives, and a child, 307 convicts, 17 convicts' wives, and 7 children).   They had been sent from England in HMS Calcutta under the command of Captain Daniel Woodriff, principally out of fear that the French, who had been exploring the area, might establish their own settlement and thereby challenge British rights to the continent.

In the year 1826 Colonel Stewart, Captain S. Wright, and Lieutenant Burchell were sent in H.M.S. Fly (Captain Wetherall) and the brigs Dragon and Amity, took a number of convicts and a small force composed of detachments of the 3rd and 93rd regiments. The expedition landed at Settlement Point (now Corinella), on the eastern side of the bay, which was the headquarters until the abandonment of Western Port at the instance of Governor Darling about twelve months afterwards.

Victoria's next settlement was at Portland, on the west coast of what is now Victoria. Edward Henty settled Portland Bay in 1834.Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner. From settlement the region around Melbourne was known as the Port Phillip District, a separately administered part of New South Wales.

Creation of separate colony of Victoria

On 1 July 1851, writs were issued for the election of the first Victorian Legislative Council, and the absolute independence of Victoria from New South Wales was established proclaiming a new Colony of Victoria.  Days later, still in 1851 gold was discovered near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power. In ten years the population of Victoria increased sevenfold from 76,000 to 540,000. All sorts of gold records were produced including the "richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world" and the largest gold nugget. Victoria produced in the decade 1851–1860 20 million ounces of gold, one third of the world's output

Immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold, especially from Ireland and China. Many Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particularly strong in Bendigo and its environs. Although there was some racism directed at them, there was not the level of anti-Chinese violence that was seen at the Lambing Flat riots in New South Wales. However, there was a riot at Buckland Valley near Bright in 1857. Conditions on the gold fields were cramped and unsanitary; an outbreak of typhoid at Buckland Valley in 1854 killed over 1,000 miners.

In 1854 at Ballarat there was an armed rebellion against the government of Victoria by miners protesting against mining taxes (the "Eureka Stockade"). This was crushed by British troops, but the discontents prompted colonial authorities to reform the administration (particularly reducing the hated mining licence fees) and extend the franchise. Within a short time, the Imperial Parliament granted Victoria responsible government with the passage of the Colony of Victoria Act 1855. Some of the leaders of the Eureka rebellion went on to became members of the Victorian Parliament.

The first foreign military action by the colony of Victoria was to send troops and a warship to New Zealand as part of the Māori Wars. Troops from New South Wales had previously participated in the Crimean War.

In 1901 Victoria became a state in the Commonwealth of Australia. As a result of the gold rush, Melbourne had by then become the financial centre of Australia and New Zealand. Between 1901 and 1927, Melbourne was the capital of Australia while Canberra was under construction. It was also the largest city in Australia at the time.

Government

Parliament

Victoria has a parliamentary form of government based on the Westminster System. Legislative power resides in the Parliament consisting of the Governor (the representative of the Queen), the executive (the Government), and two legislative chambers. The Parliament of Victoria consists of the lower house Legislative Assembly, the upper house Legislative Council and the Queen of Australia.

Eighty-eight members of the Legislative Assembly are elected to four-year terms from single-member electorates.

In November 2006, the Victorian Legislative Council elections were held under a new multi-proportional representation system. The State of Victoria was divided into eight electorates with each electorate represented by five representatives elected by Single Transferable Vote proportional representation. The total number of upper house members was reduced from 44 to 40 and their term of office is now the same as the lower house members—four years. Elections for the Victorian Parliament are now fixed and occur in November every four years. Prior to the 2006 election, the Legislative Council consisted of 44 members elected to eight-year terms from 22 two-member electorates.

Premier and cabinet

The Premier of Victoria is the leader of the political party or coalition with the most seats in the Legislative Assembly. The Premier is the public face of government and, with cabinet, sets the legislative and political agenda. Cabinet consists of representatives elected to either house of parliament. It is responsible for managing areas of government that are not exclusively the Commonwealth's, by the Australian Constitution, such as education, health and law enforcement. The current Premier of Victoria is Ted Baillieu.

 Governor

Executive authority is vested in the Governor of Victoria who represents and is appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. The post is usually filled by a retired prominent Victorian. The governor acts on the advice of the premier and cabinet. The current Governor of Victoria is Alex Chernov.

 Constitution

Victoria has a written constitution. Enacted in 1975, but based on the 1855 colonial constitution , it establishes the parliament as the state's law-making body for matters coming under state responsibility. The Victorian Constitution can be amended by the parliament of Victoria. Under new provisions to be enacted, changes to the Victorian Constitution will be subjected to a plebiscite of votes, voting in a referendum.

 Politics

Premier Ted Baillieu leads a Liberal/National Coalition that won the November 2010 Victorian state election.

The centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP), the centre-right Liberal Party of Australia and the rural-based National Party of Australia are Victoria's major political parties. Traditionally, Labor is strongest in Melbourne's inner, working class and western and northern suburbs, Morwell, Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. The Liberals' main support lies in Melbourne's more affluent eastern and outer suburbs, and some rural and regional centres. The Nationals are strongest in Victoria's North Western and Eastern rural regional areas.

 Federal government

Victorian voters elect 49 representatives to the Parliament of Australia, including 37 members of the House of Representatives and 12 members of the Senate. Since 2010, the ALP has held 22 Victorian house seats, the Liberals 12, the Nationals two and the Greens one. As of 1 July 2008, the Liberals have held six senate seats, the ALP five and the Family First Party one.

 Local government

Victoria is incorporated into 79 municipalities for the purposes of local government, including 39 shires, 32 cities, seven rural cities and one borough. Shire and city councils are responsible for functions delegated by the Victorian parliament, such as city planning, road infrastructure and waste management. Council revenue comes mostly from property taxes and government grants.

Source: Victorian Parliamentary Library, Department of Victorian Communities, Australian Electoral Commission

 Demographics

The 2006 Australian census reported that Victoria had 4,932,422 people resident at the time of the census, an increase of 6.2% on the 1996 figure. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that in June 2010 the state's population reached 5,547,500, an increase of 1.8% from the previous year and may well reach 7.2 million by 2050.

Victoria's founding Anglo-Celtic population has been supplemented by successive waves of migrants from southern and eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and, most recently, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Victoria's population is ageing in proportion with the average of the remainder of the Australian population.

About 72% of Victorians are Australian-born. This figure falls to around 66% in Melbourne but rises to higher than 95% in some rural areas in the north west of the state. Around two-thirds of Victorians claim Australian, Scottish, English or Irish ancestry. Less than 1% of Victorians identify themselves as Aboriginal. The largest groups of people born outside Australia came from the British Isles, China, Italy, Vietnam, Greece and New Zealand.

More than 70% of Victorians live in Melbourne, located in the state's south. The greater Melbourne metropolitan area is home to an estimated 3.9 million people.  Leading urban centres outside Melbourne include Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Warrnambool, Wodonga and the Latrobe Valley.

Victoria is Australia's most urbanised state: nearly 90% of residents living in cities and towns. State Government efforts to decentralise population have included an official campaign run since 2003 to encourage Victorians to settle in regional areas, however Melbourne continues to rapidly outpace these areas in terms of population growth.

 Age structure and fertility

The government predicts that nearly a quarter of Victorians will be aged over 60 by 2021. The 2006 census reveals that Australian average age has crept upward from 35 to 37 since 2001, which reflects the population growth peak of 1969–72.  In 2007, Victoria recorded a TFR of 1.87, the highest after 1978.

 Crime

The state of Victoria is divided into four geographical regions; North-West Metropolitan Region, Southern Metropolitan Region, Eastern Region, Western Region. In 2010-2011 there were 152 homicides within the state of Victoria.

 Religion

About 60.5% of Victorians describe themselves as Christian. Roman Catholics form the single largest religious group in the state with 27.5% of Victorian population, followed by Anglicans and members of the Uniting Church. Catholics and Protestants (including Anglicans) in Victoria each form around 30% of the population. Buddhism, the state's largest non-Christian religion, is also the fastest growing with 132,634. Victoria is also home of 109,370 Muslims and 41,105 Jews. Around 20% of Victorians claim no religion, and even amongst those who declare a religious affiliation, church attendance is low.

In 2008, the levels of couples choosing to marry in a church had dropped to 36%; the other 64% chose to register their marriage with a civil celebrant.

 Education

 Primary and secondary

Victoria's state school system dates back to 1872, when the colonial government legislated to make schooling both free and compulsory. The state's public secondary school system began in 1905. Before then, only private secondary schooling was available. Today, a Victorian school education consists of seven years of primary schooling (including one preparatory year) and six years of secondary schooling.

The final years of secondary school are optional for children aged over 17. Victorian children generally begin school at age five or six. On completing secondary school, students earn the Victorian Certificate of Education. Students who successfully complete their secondary education also receive a tertiary entrance ranking, or ATAR score, to determine university admittance.

Victorian schools are either publicly or privately funded. Public schools, also known as state or government schools, are funded and run directly by the Victoria Department of Education . Students do not pay tuition fees, but some extra costs are levied. Private fee-paying schools include parish schools run by the Roman Catholic Church and independent schools similar to English public schools. Independent schools are usually affiliated with Protestant churches. Victoria also has several private Jewish and Islamic primary and secondary schools. Private schools also receive some public funding. All schools must comply with government-set curriculum standards. In addition, Victoria has four government selective schools, Melbourne High School for boys, MacRobertson Girls' High School for girls, the coeducational schools John Monash Science School, Nossal High School and Suzanne Cory High School, and The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. Students at these schools are exclusively admitted on the basis of a selective entry test.

As of August 2010, Victoria had 1,548 public schools, 489 Catholic schools and 214 independent schools. Just under 540,800 students were enrolled in public schools, and just over 311,800 in private schools. Over 61 per cent of private students attend Catholic schools. More than 462,000 students were enrolled in primary schools and more than 390,000 in secondary schools. Retention rates for the final two years of secondary school were 77 per cent for public school students and 90 per cent for private school students. Victoria has about 63,519 full-time teachers.

Tertiary education

Victoria has nine universities. The first to offer degrees, the University of Melbourne, enrolled its first student in 1855. The largest, Monash University, has an enrolment of nearly 56,000 students—more than any other Australian university. Both the University of Melbourne and Monash University are ranked highly among the world's best universities requiring a high entry score, or passing of mature age entrance exams for student admission into their courses.

The number of students enrolled in Victorian universities was 241,755 at 2004, an increase of 2% on the previous year. International students made up 30% of enrolments and account for the highest percentage of pre-paid university tuition fees. The largest number of enrolments were recorded in the fields of business, administration and economics, with nearly a third of all students, followed by arts, humanities, and social science, with 20% of enrolments.

Victoria has 18 government-run institutions of “technical and further education” (TAFE). The first vocational institution in the state was the Melbourne Mechanics' Institute (established in 1839), which is now the Melbourne Athenaeum. More than 1,000 adult education organisations are registered to provide recognised TAFE programs. In 2004, there were about 480,700 students enrolled in vocational education programs in the state.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Department of Education and Training (Victoria), Department of Education, Science and Training (Commonwealth), National Centre for Vocational Education Research

Libraries

The State Library of Victoria is the State's research and reference library. It is responsible for collecting and preserving Victoria's documentary heritage and making it available through a range of services and programs. Material in the collection includes books, newspapers, magazines, journals, manuscripts, maps, pictures, objects, sound and video recordings and databases.

In addition, local governments maintain local lending libraries, typically with multiple branches in their respective municipal areas.

 Economy

The state of Victoria is the second largest economy in Australia after New South Wales, accounting for a quarter of the nation's gross domestic product. The total gross state product (GSP) at current prices for Victoria was at just over A$293 billion, with a GSP per capita of A$52,872. The economy grew by 2.0 per cent in 2010, less than the Australian average of 2.3 per cent.

Finance, insurance and property services form Victoria's largest income producing sector, while the community, social and personal services sector is the state's biggest employer. Despite the shift towards service industries, the troubled manufacturing sector remains Victoria's single largest employer and income producer. As a result of job losses in declining sectors such as manufacturing, Victoria has the highest unemployment rate in Australia as of September 2009.

Victorian production and
workers by economic activities
Economic
sector
GSP
produced
Number of
workers
Percentage
of workers
Finance, insurance
and property
30.5% 319,109 15.3%
Community, social
and personal services
16.6% 562,783 27.4%
Manufacturing 15.4% 318,218 15.3%
Wholesale and
retail trade
12.1% 423,328 20.3%
Transport, utilities
and communications
10.6% 133,752 6.4%
Construction 6.2% 136,454 6.6%
Government 4% 62,253 3%
Agriculture 3.3% 72,639 3.5%
Mining 1.3% 4,472 0.2%
Other 49,208 2%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Figures are for 2004–2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Agriculture

During 2003–04, the gross value of Victorian agricultural production increased by 17% to $8.7 billion. This represented 24% of national agricultural production total gross value. As of 2004, an estimated 32,463 farms occupied around 136,000 square kilometres (52,500 sq mi) of Victorian land. This comprises more than 60% of the state's total land surface. Victorian farms range from small horticultural outfits to large-scale livestock and grain productions. A quarter of farmland is used to grow consumable crops.

More than 26,000 square kilometres (10,000 sq mi) of Victorian farmland are sown for grain, mostly in the state's west. More than 50% of this area is sown for wheat, 33% for barley and 7% for oats. A further 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi) is sown for hay. In 2003–04, Victorian farmers produced more than 3 million tonnes of wheat and 2 million tonnes of barley. Victorian farms produce nearly 90% of Australian pears and third of apples. It is also a leader in stone fruit production. The main vegetable crops include asparagus, broccoli, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Last year, 121,200 tonnes of pears and 270,000 tonnes of tomatoes were produced.

More than 14 million sheep and 5 million lambs graze over 10% of Victorian farms, mostly in the state's north and west. In 2004, nearly 10 million lambs and sheep were slaughtered for local consumption and export. Victoria also exports live sheep to the Middle East for meat and to the rest of the world for breeding. More than 108,000 tonnes of wool clip was also produced—one-fifth of the Australian total.

Victoria is the centre of dairy farming in Australia. It is home to 60% of Australia's 3 million dairy cattle and produces nearly two-thirds of the nation's milk, almost 6.4 million litres. The state also has 2.4 million beef cattle, with more than 2.2 million cattle and calves slaughtered each year. In 2003–04, Victorian commercial fishing crews and aquaculture industry produced 11,634 tonnes of seafood valued at nearly A$109 million. Blacklipped abalone is the mainstay of the catch, bringing in A$46 million, followed by southern rock lobster worth A$13.7 million. Most abalone and rock lobster is exported to Asia.

Manufacturing

Machinery and equipment manufacturing is the state's most valuable manufacturing activity, followed by food and beverage manufacturing and petroleum, coal and chemical manufacturing. More than 15% Victorian workers are employed in manufacturing industries. Victoria has 318,000 manufacturing workers. The state is marginally behind New South Wales in the value of manufacturing output.

Major industrial plants belong to the car manufacturers Ford, Toyota and Holden; Alcoa's Portland and Point Henry aluminium smelters; oil refineries at Geelong and Altona; and a major petrochemical facility at Laverton.

Victoria also plays an important role in providing goods for the defence industry. Melbourne is the centre of manufacturing in Victoria, followed by Geelong. Energy production has aided industrial growth in the Latrobe Valley.

Mining

Mining in Victoria contributes around A$3 billion to the gross state product (~1%) but employs less than 1% of workers. The Victorian mining industry is concentrated on energy producing minerals, with brown coal, petroleum and gas accounting for nearly 90% of local production. The oil and gas industries are centred off the coast of Gippsland in the state's east, while brown coal mining and power generation is based in the Latrobe Valley.

In the 2005/2006 fiscal year, the average gas production was over 700 million cubic feet (20,000,000 m3) per day (M cuft/d) and represented 18% of the total national gas sales, with demand growing at 2% per year.

In 1985, oil production from the offshore Gippsland Basin peaked to an annual average of 450,000 barrels (72,000 m3) per day. In 2005–2006, the average daily oil production declined to 83,000 bbl (13,200 m3)/d, but despite the decline Victoria still produces almost 19.5% of crude oil in Australia.

Brown coal is Victoria's leading mineral, with 66 million tonnes mined each year for electricity generation in the Latrobe Valley, Gippsland. The region is home to the world's largest known reserves of brown coal.

Despite being the historic centre of Australia's gold rush, Victoria today contributes a mere 1% of national gold production. Victoria also produces limited amounts of gypsum and kaolin.

Service industry

The service industries sector is the fastest growing component of the Victorian economy. It includes the wide range of activities generally classified as community, social and personal services; finances, insurance and property services, government services, transportation and communication, and wholesale and retail trade. Most service industries are located in Melbourne and the state's larger regional centres.

As of 2004–05, service industries employed nearly three-quarters of Victorian workers and generated three-quarters of the state's GSP. Finance, insurance and property services, as a group, provide a larger share of GSP than any other economic activity in Victoria. More than a quarter of Victorian workers are employed by the community, social and personal services sector.

Geology and geography

Victoria's northern border is the southern bank of the Murray River. It also rests at the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, which stretches along the east coast and terminates west of Ballarat. It is bordered by South Australia to the west and shares Australian's shortest land border with Tasmania. The official border between Victoria and Tasmania is at 39°12' S, which passes through Boundary Islet in the Bass Strait for 85 metres.

Victoria contains many topographically, geologically and climatically diverse areas, ranging from the wet, temperate climate of Gippsland in the southeast to the snow-covered Victorian alpine areas which rise to almost 2,000 metres (6,500 ft), with Mount Bogong the highest peak at 1,986 m; (6,516 ft). There are extensive semi-arid plains to the west and northwest. There is an extensive series of river systems in Victoria. Most notable is the Murray River system. Other rivers include: Ovens River, Goulburn River, Patterson River, King River, Campaspe River, Loddon River, Wimmera River, Elgin River, Barwon River, Thomson River, Snowy River, Latrobe River, Yarra River, Maribyrnong River, Mitta River, Hopkins River, Merri River and Kiewa River. The state symbols include the Pink Heath (state flower), Leadbeater's Possum (state animal) and the Helmeted Honeyeater (state bird).

The state's capital, Melbourne, contains approximately 70% of the state's population and dominates its economy, media, and culture. For other cities and towns, see List of localities (Victoria) and Local Government Areas of Victoria.

Transport

Victoria has the highest population density in any state in Australia, with population centres spread out over most of the state; only the far northwest and the Victorian Alps lack permanent settlement.

The Victorian road network services the population centres, with highways generally radiating from Melbourne and other major cities and rural centres with secondary roads interconnecting the highways to each other. Many of the highways are built to freeway standard ("M" freeways), while most are generally sealed and of reasonable quality.

Rail transport in Victoria is provided by several private and public railway operators who operate over government-owned lines. Major operators include: Metro Trains Melbourne which runs an extensive, electrified, passenger system throughout Melbourne and suburbs; V/Line which is now owned by the Victorian Government, operates a concentrated service to major regional centres, as well as long distance services on other lines; Pacific National, CFCLA, El Zorro which operate freight services; Great Southern Railway which operates The Overland Melbourne—Adelaide; and CountryLink which operates XPTs Melbourne—Sydney.

There are also several smaller freight operators and numerous tourist railways operating over lines which were once parts of a state-owned system. Victorian lines mainly use the 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge. However, the interstate trunk routes, as well as a number of branch lines in the west of the state have been converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge. Two tourist railways operate over 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge lines, which are the remnants of five formerly government-owned lines which were built in mountainous areas.

Melbourne has the world's largest tram network,  currently operated by Yarra Trams. As well as being a popular form of public transport, over the last few decades trams have become one of Melbourne's major tourist attractions. There are also tourist trams operating over portions of the former Ballarat and Bendigo systems. There are also tramway museums at Bylands and Haddon.

Melbourne Airport is the major domestic and international gateway for the state. Avalon Airport is the state's second busiest airport, which is complements Essendon and Moorabbin Airports to see the remainder of Melbourne's air traffic. Hamilton Airport, Mildura Airport, Mount Hotham and Portland Airport are the remaining airports with scheduled domestic flights. There are no fewer than 27 other airports in the state with no scheduled flights.

The Port of Melbourne is the largest port for containerised and general cargo in Australia, and is located in Melbourne on the mouth of the Yarra River, which is at the head of Port Phillip. Additional seaports are at Westernport, Geelong, and Portland.

Utilities

Energy

Victoria's major utilities include a collection of brown-coal-fired power stations, particularly in the Latrobe Valley. One of these is Hazelwood Power Station, which is number 1 in the worldwide List of least carbon efficient power stations.

Water

Victoria's water infrastructure includes a series of dams and reservoirs, predominantly in Central Victoria, that hold and collect water for much of the state. The water collected is of a very high quality and requires little chlorination treatment, giving the water a taste more like water collected in a rainwater tank. In regional areas however, such as in the west of the state, chlorination levels are much higher.

The Victorian Water Grid consists of a number of new connections and pipelines being built across the State. This allows water to be moved around Victoria to where it is needed most and reduces the impact of localised droughts in an era thought to be influenced by climate change. Major projects already completed as part of the Grid include the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline and the Goldfields Superpipe.

Climate

Victoria has a varied climate despite its small size. It ranges from semi-arid and hot in the north-west, to temperate and cool along the coast. Victoria's main land feature, the Great Dividing Range, produces a cooler, mountain climate in the centre of the state.

Victoria's southernmost position on the Australian mainland means it is cooler and wetter than other mainland states and territories. The coastal plain south of the Great Dividing Range has Victoria's mildest climate. Air from the Southern Ocean helps reduce the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Melbourne and other large cities are located in this temperate region.

The Mallee and upper Wimmera are Victoria's warmest regions with hot winds blowing from nearby deserts. Average temperatures top 30 °C (86 °F) during summer and 15 °C (59 °F) in winter. Victoria's highest maximum temperature of 48.8 °C (119.9 °F) was recorded in Hopetoun on 7 February 2009, during the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave.

The Victorian Alps in the northeast are the coldest part of Victoria. The Alps are part of the Great Dividing Range mountain system extending east-west through the centre of Victoria. Average temperatures are less than 9 °C (48 °F) in winter and below 0 °C (32 °F) in the highest parts of the ranges. The state's lowest minimum temperature of −11.7 °C (10.9 °F) was recorded at Omeo on 13 June 1965, and again at Falls Creek on 3 July 1970.

Rainfall

Victoria is the wettest Australian state after Tasmania. Rainfall in Victoria increases from north to south, with higher averages in areas of high altitude. Median annual rainfall exceeds 1,800 millimetres (71 in) in some parts of the northeast but is less than 250 millimetres (10 in) in the Mallee.

Rain is heaviest in the Otway Ranges and Gippsland in southern Victoria and in the mountainous northeast. Snow generally falls only in the mountains and hills in the centre of the state. Rain falls most frequently in winter, but summer precipitation is heavier. Rainfall is most reliable in Gippsland and the Western District, making them both leading farming areas. Victoria's highest recorded daily rainfall was 375 millimetres (14.7 in) at Tanybryn in the Otway Ranges on 22 March 1983.

Tourism

Some major tourist destinations in Victoria are:

Other popular tourism activities are gliding, hang-gliding, hot air ballooning and scuba diving.

Major events also play a big part in tourism in Victoria, particularly cultural tourism and sports tourism. Most of these events are centred around Melbourne, but others occur in regional cities, such as the V8 Supercars and Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island, the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool and the Australian International Airshow at Geelong and numerous local festivals such as the popular Port Fairy Folk Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Bells Beach SurfClassic and the Bright Autumn Festival.

Sport

Victoria is the home of Australian rules football, with ten of the eighteen clubs of the Australian Football League based in Victoria, and the traditional Grand Final held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground usually on the last Saturday in September.

Victoria's cricket team, the Victorian Bushrangers play in the national Sheffield Shield cricket competition. Victoria is represented in the National Rugby League by the Melbourne Storm and in Super Rugby by the Melbourne Rebels. It is also represented in Football (soccer) by Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart in the A-League.

Melbourne has held the 1956 Summer Olympics, 2006 Commonwealth Games and the FINA World Swimming Championship.

Melbourne is also home to the Australian Open tennis tournament in January each year, the first of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

Victoria's Bells Beach hosts one of the world's longest-running surfing competition, the Bells Beach SurfClassic, which is part of The ASP World Tour.

Netball is a big part of sport in Victoria. The Melbourne Vixens represent Victoria in the ANZ Championship. Some of the worlds best netballers such as Sharelle McMahon, Renae Hallinan, Madison Browne, Julie Corletto and Bianca Chatfield come from Victoria.

Possibly Victoria's most famous island, Phillip Island, is home of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit which hosts the Australian motorcycle Grand Prix which features MotoGP (the world's premier motorcycling class), as well as the Australian round of the World Superbike Championship and the domestic V8 Supercar racing, which also visits Sandown Raceway and the rural Winton Motor Raceway circuit.

Australia's most prestigious footrace, the Stawell Gift, is an annual event.

Victoria is also home to the Aussie Millions poker tournament, the richest in the Southern hemisphere.

The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is one of the biggest horse racing events in the world and is one of the world's largest sporting events. The main race is for the $6 million Melbourne Cup, and crowds for the carnival exceed 700,000.

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