Friday, 8 March 2013


Victoria is a state in the south-east of Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, the Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, and South Australia to the west. Australia's most densely-populated state, most of Victoria's population is concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip, including the capital and largest city, Melbourne, which is also Australia's second-largest city overall. 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 1856. 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 leading financial centre in Australasia. With Canberra still under construction, Melbourne also served as interim capital of Australia until 1927, with the Federal Parliament meeting in Parliament House. 

Politically, Victoria has 37 seats in the Australian House of Representatives and 12 seats in the Australian Senate, with the majority belonging to the Labor Party. At state level, the Parliament of Victoria consists of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. Victoria is currently governed by a coalition between the Liberal Party and the National Party, with the Liberals' Denis Napthine the current premier. The personal representative of the Queen of Australia in the state is the Governor of Victoria, currently Alex Chernov. Local government is concentrated in 79 municipal districts, including 33 cities, although a number of unincorporated areas still exist, which are administered directly by the state.