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A Timeline of Melbourne

Home > Melbourne > Trivia | Unusual Events
by Geoff Edlund (subscribe)
Always on the hunt for creative, fun, and interesting places, events, and experiences.
Published May 22nd 2018
A one-page time travel tour of Melbourne
An abridged version of key events in the history of Melbourne across the last century, shows the development of a diverse, rich, and fascinating city, that has faced many challenges, and triumphs.


To open the century, Melbourne became the seat of government of the new Commonwealth of Australia when the six colonies federated in 1901.

Melbourne History Parliament
The Big Picture, the opening of the first Parliament of Australia on 9 May 1901, Painter: Tom Roberts, Wikipedia, public domain.

The first Australian Open was held in 1905 and work on Flinders Street Station commenced in the same year.


The 1910s started with a series of recessions, revivals and a depression in 1914, before the War.

In 1917, permission was given for the cemetery to be moved, so Queen Victoria Market could expand.


W-class trams were introduced in 1923 to deal with the increasing number of commuters, and as traffic grew, the first set of traffic lights was installed at Swanston and Collins Streets in 1928.

The first radio station (now known as Radio National) was established as 3AR in 1924.

In 1927, Federal Parliament was moved from Melbourne to Canberra, the new capital of the nation.


The decade started with 'Phar Lap' winning the Melbourne Cup.

The Shrine of Remembrance was completed in 1934.

The 1930s ended with the start of the Second War.


Trenches were dug in city parks and gardens in the early years of the decade in preparation for potential air raids.

In 1945, Fishermans Bend was home to an airfield and aircraft research factory.


Essendon became Melbourne's first international airport in 1950 and was renamed Melbourne Airport.

In 1954, the railway know knows as Puffing Billy was closed between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook. This year also saw the first Moomba Parade and a visit from Queen Elizabeth II.

The first television station was switched on in 1956 as HSV-7. This was the same time as the Olympic Games.

Toward the end of the decade, in 1959, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl was opened.


Chadstone Shopping Centre opened in 1960 after the land was bought from the Convent of the Good Shepherd. The Eastern Market was also demolished, and replaced by Spencer Street station.

1964 saw the arrival of 'The Beatles' when an estimated 300,000 people turned out on the city's streets in an effort to catch a glimpse of them.

In 1966, after 50 years, the 6pm closing of hotels was finally abolished.

The National Gallery of Victoria was opened in 1968.

NGV Art Melbourne
The National Gallery of Victoria. Credits: Wikipedia, User: Robert Merkel


The decade opened with the tragic collapse of West Gate Bridge. A few years later, in 1974, the construction of the City Loop began. The Eastern Freeway was also built in the 1970s.

Commercial international flights were transferred to Tullamarine Airport in 1970, with domestic flights following the next year.

It was only in 1975, that the first colour televisions were introduced.


Toward the end of a fiercely hot Summer in 1983, the disastrous Ash Wednesday fires occurred and a huge dust storm enveloped Melbourne.

In 1985, the Port Melbourne and St Kilda train lines were converted to light rail.

The Southern Hemisphere's tallest building at the time, The Rialto, was completed in 1986.


The decade began with the opening of Southbank. Melbourne Central also opened with its flagship Daimaru store. An economic slump occurred the next year, and in 1992, to attract more residents to the CBD, many warehouses and offices are converted into apartments.

In 1994, 463 patrons of the Tasty nightclub were detained for seven hours and searched by Victoria Police.

Construction of CityLink freeway begins and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Crown Casino and Bolte Bridge all open in 1996. The Gas and Fuel buildings were also demolished, paving the way for the start of Federation Square. The first Formula 1 Grand Prix was also held at Albert Park.

Albert Park Grand Prix Car Melbourne
Albert Park where the Grand Prix is held. Credits: Wikipedia, User: Tim Serong

In 1999, the Melbourne Aquarium opened, and everyone got ready for the party of the Millennium (if the Y2K bug didn't bring it all to a crashing halt).

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Your Comment
Naww...thanks for writing that, I really enjoyed reading it :)
by clare (score: 1|62) 809 days ago
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