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Facts and figures

As Australia's most culturally diverse city, people from more than 200 countries call Melbourne home. Everyone has a connection to another culture in some way and this is shown in the adoption of different food, cultures and traditions throughout Melbourne and Victoria.

Culture and community

People from more than 200 countries call Victoria home. Everyone has a connection to another culture in some way and this is shown in the adoption of different food, cultures and traditions throughout Melbourne and Victoria.

The Indigenous cultures of Australia are the oldest living cultural history in the world – they go back at least 50,000 years and some argue closer to 65,000 years. In Australia, Indigenous communities keep their cultural heritage alive by passing their knowledge, arts, rituals and performances from one generation to another.

Today, nearly half of the population was born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas. English is Australia’s national language, however more than 230 languages and dialects are spoken. Cultural diversity is a part of everyday life and is celebrated.

There are places for worship for more than 100 faiths. Many institutions have prayer rooms and interfaith chapels. Temples, mosques, churches and synagogues are found across the state.

Cultural diversity is celebrated with a range of festivals, including Chinese New Year, Diwali, Vietnamese (Tet) New Year, the Hispanic Latin American Fiesta and Cultural Diversity Week, to name a few.

Outside of Melbourne, celebrations include an Italian Festival at Myrtleford, a Swedish Festival in Walhalla, Pako Festa in Geelong and the Bendigo Chinese Easter Festival.

Ingredients from around the world can be found in popular markets located in Preston, South Melbourne and Footscray; and in supermarkets and smaller grocery shops throughout Melbourne.

Key dates 

Christmas Day is in summer on 25 December. Many businesses close until the New Year. Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on this day. Christmas is a time for celebrating, feasting and giving gifts to family and friends. You don’t have to be a Christian to share this tradition.

Australia Day is on 26 January and marks the day Europeans first settled in Australia. Citizenship ceremonies are held and awards and honours are presented. Many community events celebrate cultural diversity and there are fireworks in the evening. You may see locals with the Australian flag.

Easter falls in March or April. Christians mark the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter. Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday people share chocolate Easter eggs.

Anzac Day, the 25 April marks the date Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. Australians remember those who fought for Australia or lost their lives in war. War veterans and their families attend a dawn memorial service and then join a peaceful march.

National Reconciliation Week starts on 27 May. It celebrates the culture, history and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people. May 27 marks the anniversary of a 1967 Referendum when Australians voted to include Indigenous Australians in the national census.

The Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final takes place in October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australian rules football, or 'footy' is Melbourne's most loved sport. The AFL Grand Final is the most celebrated and anticipated sporting event of the year. Over 100,000 excited fans wearing their team's colours go to the game. Millions watch it on television. 

Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday in Victoria. The Melbourne Cup is a horse race held at Flemington Racecourse. It’s a glamorous occasion. Women wear stylish clothes and hats. Men wear fashionable suits and ties. You can dress up and join in the fun or watch it on television.  Locals may invite you to a party or barbeque.


Melbourne weather is known to be changeable, with locals often saying the city can have 'four seasons in one day'. The weather is generally warm and dry in summer and cold in winter.

Season About Wear Tip
Summer: December to February  Summer days average 25°C (77°F) and humidity is usually low. Heat waves with temperatures over 40°C (104°F) can be followed by sudden cool changes, and even rain. Light clothing – cottons, swimming costume, hat and sunscreen Be ‘sun smart’ and protect yourself with sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, bottled water and protective shoes when walking in parks or along beaches
Autumn: March to May  Autumn in Melbourne is very beautiful - warm and sunny with temperatures ranging from 9°C to 17°C (48°-63°F). The days are still long and the sun may still be strong. People enjoy the light sea breezes and occasionally a little rain. Layers of clothing that can be easily removed or added to, along with light showerproof items Weather in Autumn can change suddenly and sharply, so be prepared for rain and shine   
Winter: June to August  Winter daytime temperatures range from 7°C to 14°C (44°– 57°F) but it gets colder overnight. Most of Melbourne's yearly rainfall happens in winter. Warm clothes and shoes, and a water-resistant jacket If you go to a football game, wear warm clothes, a warm hat and gloves, but don’t take an umbrella as it will block other people's view.
Spring: September to November  Spring weather can be very changeable and often very windy. It starts to get warmer with daily temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (52°-65° F).  Layers of clothing and a waterproof jacket  Melbourne’s many parks and gardens will be full of colourful flowers, and people start wearing lighter clothes and more colour.

The landscape and environment varies quite significantly from alpine snow fields and semi arid land, to white sandy beaches and lush green forests. The state has a series of river systems supporting agriculture and communities.

In winter, you can travel to the alpine region, three hours northeast of Melbourne, to enjoy winter snow sports. Enjoy the many popular beaches in summer.

All year round, you will need to carry or wear a jacket in case of sudden weather changes. Wear comfortable, waterproof shoes when bushwalking or hiking.

Last updated: 29 Sep 2015


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