Celebrating Melbourne Day

August 1, 2012 by

Festivals & Events, Free Things To Do, Things To Do

Celebrations at Waterfront City

Celebrations at Waterfront City. Photo courtesy of mugley via Flickr.

Each year Melbourne celebrates its beginnings on Melbourne Day, an annual celebration that marks the founding of the city on August 30, 1835.

Once a small settlement founded by businessmen and free settlers (released convicts) from Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), the settlement grew rapidly and formed Australia’s second biggest city.

Melbourne is now gearing up to celebrate its 177th birthday with a week-long program of events. To mark this anniversary there will be a regatta on Victoria Harbour in the Docklands, a party at Waterfront City and a flag-raising ceremony at Enterprize Park – a park named after the boat that carried John Fawkner, one of the city’s founders, into Melbourne from Van Diemen’s Land.

Events kick off on Sunday, August 26 with a Melbourne Day Regatta and a re-enactment of the first arrival from the replica schooner Enterprize. Anyone is welcome to take part in the regatta by simply boarding one of the free vessels down at Victoria Harbour, Docklands at 11am.

Other free and discounted events of special interest to visitors include two-for-one entry at some of Melbourne’s biggest tourist attractions including the Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne Aquarium and the Medibank Icehouse. La Trobe’s Cottage, the Enterprize and Melbourne Tours are also available at discounted prices (booking essential). You’ll also find several iconic city venues providing discounted meals or special offers on Melbourne Day. Check out the Melbourne Day website for more details.

Other ways to get into the Melbourne Day spirit are to visit the Melbourne Story exhibition at Melbourne Museum or the Changing Face of Melbourne exhibition at the State Library. Each exhibition contains historical artifacts, photographs, maps, paintings and correspondences that tell the stories of Melbourne’s early years and of its pioneering settlers.

- Emma McMahon

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