Prior to European settlement, the area now constituting Victoria was inhabited by a large number of Aboriginal peoples, collectively known as the Koori. With Great Britain having claimed the entire Australian continent east of the 135th meridian east in 1788, Victoria was included in the wider colony of New South Wales. The first settlement in the area occurred in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, and much of what is now Victoria was included in the Port Phillip District in 1836, an administrative division of New South Wales. Victoria was officially created a separate colony in 1851, and achieved self-government in 1855.
The Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and 1860s significantly increased both the population and wealth of the colony, and by the Federation of Australia in 1901, Melbourne had become the largest city and leading financial centre in Australasia. Melbourne also served as capital of Australia until the construction of Canberra in 1927, with the Federal Parliament meeting in Melbourne's Parliament House and all principal offices of the federal government being based in Melbourne.
Culturally, Melbourne is home to a number of museums, art galleries and theatres and is also described as the "sporting capital of Australia". The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the largest stadium in Australia, and the host of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The ground is also considered the "spiritual home" of Australian cricket and Australian rules football, and hosts the grand final of the Australian Football League (AFL) each year, usually drawing crowds of over 95,000 people. Victoria includes eight public universities, with the oldest, the University of Melbourne, having been founded in 1853.
Victoria has a varied climate despite its small size. It ranges from semi-arid temperate with hot summers 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. Winters along the coast of the state, particularly around Melbourne, are relatively mild. 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 autumn months of April/May are mild and bring some of Australia's colourful foliage across many parts of the state. Victoria has many lush forests, national parks, parklands, gardens and an abundance of flowers, both wild and cultivated.
In 1976 the State of Victoria in Australia became known as the "Garden State". It was suggested then that our state should be the perfect site for a public Rose Garden, given also that our climate was favourable. In 1980 approval was given. In 1986 the garden was finally opened in Werribee. In 1993 after a public appeal, the supporters group was formed to help maintain the garden even though the Garden is part of Parks Victoria. All of the work pertaining to the Roses is done by Volunteers. This is the largest Public Rose Garden in Australia and the only non-European garden to receive a Garden Of Excellence Award from the World Federation of Rose Societies. The Garden is spread over 4.75 hectares and contains 6000 rose bushes of all types. 120 Volunteers work on average 7000 hrs per year to keep the roses blooming for the visitors' enjoyment.
This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.