Victoria (state)

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The Garden State[1] • The Education State
Peace and Prosperity
Location of Victoria in Australia
Coordinates: 36°51′15″S 144°16′52″E / 36.85417°S 144.28111°E / -36.85417; 144.28111
Before federationColony of Victoria
Separation from New South Wales1 July 1851[2]
Responsible government23 November 1855
Federation1 January 1901
Named forQueen Victoria
and largest city
37°48′51″S 144°57′47″E / 37.81417°S 144.96306°E / -37.81417; 144.96306
Administration79 local government areas
• Monarch
Charles III
• Governor
Margaret Gardner
• Premier
Jacinta Allan (ALP)
LegislatureParliament of Victoria
Legislative Council
Legislative Assembly
JudiciarySupreme Court of Victoria
Parliament of Australia
• Senate
12 senators (of 76)
39 seats (of 151)
• Land
227,444[3] km2 (87,817 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,986 m (6,516 ft)
• September 2023 estimate
Increase 6,865,400[4] (2nd)
• Density
29.5/km2 (76.4/sq mi) (2nd)
GSP2020 estimate
• Total
Increase AU$458.895 billion[5] (2nd)
• Per capita
Increase AU$68,996 (6th)
HDI (2021)Increase 0.948[6]
very high · 4th
Time zoneUTC+10:00 (AEST)
 • Summer (DST)
UTC+11:00 (AEDT)
Calling code+61 (03)
Postal abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeAU–VIC
BirdHelmeted honeyeater
(Lichenostomus melanops cassidix)
FishWeedy seadragon
(Phyllopteryx taeniolatus)
FlowerCommon heath[7]
(Epacris impressa)
MammalLeadbeater's possum
(Gymnobelideus leadbeateri)
Colour(s)Navy blue and silver[8]
FossilKoolasuchus cleelandi

Victoria (commonly abbreviated as Vic) is a state in southeastern Australia. It is the second-smallest state (after Tasmania), with a land area of 227,444 km2 (87,817 sq mi); the second-most-populated state (after New South Wales), with a population of over 6.7 million;[4] and the most densely populated state[10] in Australia (29.5 per km2). Victoria is bordered by New South Wales to the north and South Australia to the west and is bounded by the Bass Strait to the south (with the exception of a small land border with Tasmania located along Boundary Islet), the Great Australian Bight portion of the Southern Ocean to the southwest, and the Tasman Sea (a marginal sea of the South Pacific Ocean) to the southeast. The state encompasses a range of climates and geographical features from its temperate coastal and central regions to the Victorian Alps in the northeast and the semi-arid northwest.

The majority of the Victorian population is concentrated in the central-south area surrounding Port Phillip, and in particular within the metropolitan area of Greater Melbourne, Victoria's state capital and largest city and also Australia's second-largest city,[11] where over three-quarters of the Victorian population live. The state is home to four of Australia's 20 largest cities: Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. The population is culturally diverse, with 35.1% of inhabitants being immigrants.[12]

Victoria is home to numerous Aboriginal groups, including the Boonwurrung, the Bratauolung, the Djadjawurrung, the Gunai, the Gunditjmara, the Taungurung, the Wathaurong, the Wurundjeri, and the Yorta Yorta.[13] There were more than 30 Aboriginal languages spoken in the area prior to European colonisation. In 1770 James Cook claimed the east coast of the Australian continent for the Kingdom of Great Britain. The first European settlement in the area occurred in 1803 at Sullivan Bay. Much of what is now Victoria was included in 1836 in the Port Phillip District of New South Wales. Named in honour of Queen Victoria, Victoria was separated from New South Wales and established as a separate Crown colony in 1851, achieving responsible government in 1855.[14] The Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and 1860s significantly increased Victoria's population and wealth. By the time of Australian Federation in 1901, Melbourne had become the largest city in Australasia, and was the seat of Federal government until Canberra became the national capital in 1927. The state continued to grow strongly through various periods of the 20th and early 21st centuries as a result of high levels of international and interstate migration.

Victoria has 38 seats in the Australian House of Representatives and 12 seats in the Australian Senate. At state level, the Parliament of Victoria consists of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Labor Party, led by Jacinta Allan as premier, has governed Victoria since 2014. The Governor of Victoria, the representative of the monarch in the state, is currently Margaret Gardner. Victoria is divided into 79 local government areas, as well as several unincorporated areas which the state administers directly.

Victoria's economy is the second-largest among Australian states and is highly diversified, with service sectors predominating. Melbourne hosts a number of museums, art galleries, and theatres, and in 2016 a sports marketing company named it the world's sporting capital.[15][16]


Indigenous Victorians[edit]

The state of Victoria was originally home to many Aboriginal Australian nations that had occupied the land for tens of thousands of years before European settlement.[17] According to Gary Presland, Aboriginal people have lived in Victoria for about 40,000 years,[18] living a semi-nomadic existence of fishing, hunting and gathering, and farming eels.[19]

At the Keilor Archaeological Site, a human hearth excavated in 1971 was radiocarbon-dated to about 31,000 years BP, making Keilor one of the earliest sites of human habitation in Australia.[20] A cranium found at the site has been dated at between 12,000[21] and 14,700 years BP.[20]

Archaeological sites in Tasmania and on the Bass Strait Islands have been dated to between 20,000 to 35,000 years ago when sea levels were 130 metres below present level allowing First Nations Peoples to move across the region of southern Victoria and onto the land bridge of the Bassian plain to Tasmania by at least 35,000 years ago.[22][23]

During the Ice Age about 20,000 years BP, the area now the bay of Port Phillip would have been dry land, and the Yarra and Werribee rivers would have joined to flow through the heads then south and south west through the Bassian plain before meeting the ocean to the west. Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands became separated from mainland Australia around 12,000 BP, when the sea level was approximately 50m below present levels.[22] Port Phillip was flooded by post-glacial rising sea levels between 8000 and 6000 years ago.[22]

Oral history and creation stories from the Wada wurrung, Woiwurrung and Bun wurrung languages describe the flooding of the bay. Hobsons Bay was once a kangaroo hunting ground. Creation stories describe how Bunjil was responsible for the formation of the bay,[23] or the bay was flooded when the Yarra River was created.[24]

British colonisation[edit]

Swearing Allegiance to the Southern Cross at the Eureka Stockade on 1 December 1854 – watercolour by Charles Doudiet

Victoria, like Queensland, was named after Queen Victoria, who had been on the British throne for 14 years when the colony was established in 1851.[2]

After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788, Australia was divided into an eastern half named New South Wales and a western half named New Holland, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney. The first British settlement in the area later known as Victoria was established in October 1803 under Lieutenant-Governor David Collins at Sullivan Bay on Port Phillip. It consisted of 402 people (five government officials, nine officers of marines, two drummers, and 39 privates, five soldiers' wives and a child, 307 convicts, 17 convicts' wives, and seven children).[25] They had been sent from England in HMS Calcutta under the command of Captain Daniel Woodriff, principally out of fear that the French, who had been exploring the area, might establish their own settlement and thereby challenge British rights to the continent.

In 1826, Colonel Stewart, Captain Samuel Wright, and Lieutenant Burchell were sent in HMS Fly (Captain Wetherall) and the brigs Dragon and Amity, took a number of convicts and a small force composed of detachments of the 3rd and 93rd regiments. The expedition landed at Settlement Point (now Corinella), on the eastern side of Western Port Bay, which was the headquarters until the abandonment of Western Port at the insistence of Governor Darling about 12 months afterwards.[26][27]

Victoria's next settlement was at Portland, on the south west coast of what is now Victoria. Edward Henty settled Portland Bay in 1834.[28]

Batman's treaty[edit]

Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman, who set up a base in Indented Head, and John Pascoe Fawkner. From settlement, the region around Melbourne was known as the Port Phillip District, a separately administered part of New South Wales. Shortly after, the site now known as Geelong was surveyed by Assistant Surveyor W. H. Smythe, three weeks after Melbourne. And in 1838, Geelong was officially declared a town, despite earlier European settlements dating back to 1826.

On 6 June 1835, just under two years before Melbourne was officially recognised as a settlement, John Batman, the leader of the Port Phillip Association presented Wurundjeri Elders with a land use agreement. This document, now referred to as the Batman treaty, was later given to the British government to claim that local Aboriginal people had given Batman access to their land in exchange for goods and rations. The treaty itself was declared void as Batman did not have permission from the Crown to establish Melbourne. Today, the meaning and interpretation of this treaty is contested. Some argue it was a pretence for taking Aboriginal land in exchange for trinkets, while others argue it was significant in that it sought to recognise Aboriginal land rights.

The exact location of the meeting between Batman and the Kulin men with whom he made the treaty is unknown, although it is believed to have been by the Merri Creek. According to historian Meyer Eidelson, it is generally believed to have occurred on the Merri near modern-day Rushall Station.[29]

Colonial Victoria[edit]

Victoria Colony
British Crown Colony
 • TypeSelf-governing colony
• 1851–1901
• 1851–1854
Charles La Trobe (first)
• 1895–1900
Thomas Brassey (last)
• independence from the New South Wales colony
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Colony of New South Wales
Victoria (Australia)

On 1 July 1851, writs were issued for the election of the first Victorian Legislative Council, and the absolute independence of Victoria from New South Wales was established proclaiming a new Colony of Victoria.[30] Days later, still in 1851 gold was discovered near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power. In 10 years, the population of Victoria increased sevenfold from 76,000 to 540,000. All sorts of gold records were produced, including the "richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world" and the largest gold nugget. In the decade 1851–1860 Victoria produced 20 million ounces of gold, one-third of the world's output.[31]

In 1855 the Geological Survey collected and determined the major ion chemistry for groundwater in Victoria.[32]

Immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold, especially from Ireland and China.[33] By 1857, 26,000 Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particularly strong in Bendigo and its environs.

In 1854 at Ballarat, an armed rebellion against the government of Victoria was made by miners protesting against mining taxes (the "Eureka Stockade"). This was crushed by British troops, but the confrontation persuaded the colonial authorities to reform the administration of mining concessions (reducing the hated mining licence fees) and extend the electoral franchise. The following year, the Imperial Parliament granted Victoria responsible government with the passage of the Colony of Victoria Act 1855. Some of the leaders of the Eureka rebellion went on to become members of the Victorian Parliament.

In 1857, reflecting the growing presence of Irish Catholic immigrants, John O'Shanassy became the colony's second Premier with the former Young Irelander, Charles Gavan Duffy as his deputy. Melbourne's Protestant establishment was ill-prepared "to countenance so startling a novelty".[34] In 1858–59, Melbourne Punch cartoons linked Duffy and O'Shanassy to the terrors of the French Revolution.[35]

In 1862 Duffy's Land Act attempted, but failed, through a system of extended pastoral licences, to break the land-holding monopoly of the so-called "squatter" class.[36] In 1871, having led, on behalf of small farmers, opposition to Premier Sir James McCulloch's land tax, Duffy, himself, was briefly Premier.

In 1893 widespread bank failures brought to an end a sustained period of prosperity and of increasingly wild speculation in land and construction. Melbourne nonetheless retained, as the legacy of the gold rush, its status as Australia's primary financial centre and largest city.

In 1901, Victoria became a state in the Commonwealth of Australia. While Canberra was being built, Melbourne served until 1927 as the country's first federal capital.[37]


Victoria's northern border follows a straight line from Cape Howe to the start of the Murray River and then follows the Murray River as the remainder of the northern border. On the Murray River, the border is the southern bank of the river. This precise definition was not established until 1980, when a ruling by Justice Ninian Stephen of the High Court of Australia settled the question as to which state had jurisdiction in the unlawful death of a man on an island in the middle of the river. The ruling clarified that no part of the watercourse is in Victoria.[38][39] The border also rests at the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, which stretches along the east coast and terminates west of Ballarat. It is bordered by South Australia to the west and shares Australia's shortest land border with Tasmania. The official border between Victoria and Tasmania is at 39°12' S, which passes through Boundary Islet in the Bass Strait for 85 metres.[40][41][42]

Victoria contains many topographically, geologically and climatically diverse areas, ranging from the wet, temperate climate of Gippsland in the southeast to the snow-covered Victorian alpine areas which rise to almost 2,000 m (6,600 ft), with Mount Bogong the highest peak at 1,986 m (6,516 ft). There are extensive semi-arid plains to the west and northwest. There is an extensive series of river systems in Victoria. Most notable is the Murray River system. Other rivers include: Ovens River, Goulburn River, Patterson River, King River, Campaspe River, Loddon River, Wimmera River, Elgin River, Barwon River, Thomson River, Snowy River, Latrobe River, Yarra River, Maribyrnong River, Mitta River, Hopkins River, Merri River and Kiewa River. The state symbols include the pink heath (state flower), Leadbeater's possum (state animal) and the helmeted honeyeater (state bird). Ecological communities include Victorian Volcanic Plain grasslands, Northern Plains Grassland and Gippsland Plains Grassy Woodland, all of which are critically endangered.[43]

According to Geoscience Australia, the geographic centre of Victoria is located in Mandurang at 36° 51' 15"S, 144° 16' 52" E. The small rural locality is located 10 km (6 mi) south of Bendigo. Due to its central location and the region's historical ties to the gold rush, the town is widely regarded as the "Heart of Gold".

The state's capital, Melbourne, contains about 70% of the state's population and dominates its economy, media, and culture. For other cities and towns, see list of localities (Victoria) and local government areas of Victoria.


Greater Melbourne at night from the International Space Station

Victoria is divided into distinct geographic regions, most commonly for the purposes of economic development, while others for land management (e.g. agriculture or conservation) and for censusing (such as statistical or meteorological) or electoral purposes. Many regions have similar names and extents according to the different regionalisations, and the boundaries of regions can overlap even in popular usage.

In addition to Greater Melbourne, the Victoria State Government has divided Victoria into five regions covering all parts of the state. The five regional Victoria divisions are:[44]

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology defines regions for its own purposes, some of which share names with the economic regions, even though the exact boundaries may not correlate.[45] As of November 2014, they are:

Cities and towns[edit]

This is a list of places in the Australian state of Victoria by population.

Urban centres are defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as being a population cluster of 1,000 or more people. The below figures broadly represent the populations of the contiguous built-up areas of each city.

Population by Statistical Urban Centre
Rank Urban centre Population
2006 census 2011 census 2016 census 2021 census
1 Melbourne 3,375,341 3,707,530 4,196,201 4,917,750
2 Geelong 135,965 143,921 157,103 180,239[46]
3 Ballarat 77,766 85,936 93,761 116,201
4 Bendigo 75,420 82,795 92,384 103,034
5 Melton 35,194 45,625 54,455 N/A
6 Mildura 30,761 31,363 33,445 56,972
7 SheppartonMooroopna 38,247 42,742 46,194 68,409
Pakenham 18,621 32,913 46,421 54,118
8 Wodonga 29,538 31,605 35,131 43,253
9 Sunbury 29,071 33,062 34,425 38,851
10 Warrnambool 28,015 29,286 30,707 35,406
11 Traralgon 21,474 24,590 25,482 26,907
12 Wangaratta 16,732 17,376 18,567 29,808
13 Ocean GroveBarwon Heads 13,701 16,091 18,208 19,394
14 Bacchus Marsh 13,046 14,914 17,303 24,717
15 TorquayJan Juc 9,463[N 1] 13,336 16,942 18,534
16 Horsham 13,945 15,261 15,630 20,429
17 MoeNewborough 15,159 15,293 15,062 16 844
18 Warragul 11,333 13,081 14,274 23,051
19 Morwell 13,399 13,689 13,540 14,432
20 Sale 13,090 12,764 13,507 15,472


Köppen climate types in Victoria
Average monthly maximum
temperatures in Victoria
Month Melbourne
°C (°F)
°C (°F)
January 25.8 (78) 32.8 (91)
February 25.8 (78) 32.7 (91)
March 23.8 (75) 29.3 (85)
April 20.2 (68) 24.1 (75)
May 16.6 (62) 19.6 (67)
June 14.0 (57) 16.0 (61)
July 13.4 (56) 15.4 (60)
August 14.9 (59) 17.7 (64)
September 17.2 (63) 21.1 (70)
October 19.6 (67) 25.0 (77)
November 21.8 (71) 29.0 (84)
December 24.1 (75) 31.7 (89)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Victoria has a varied climate that 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 (see chart at right).

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 Mallee and upper Wimmera are Victoria's warmest regions with hot winds blowing from nearby semi-deserts. Average temperatures exceed 32 °C (90 °F) during summer and 15 °C (59 °F) in winter. Except at cool mountain elevations, the inland monthly temperatures are 2–7 °C (4–13 °F) warmer than around Melbourne (see chart). Victoria's highest maximum temperature of 48.8 °C (119.8 °F) was recorded in Hopetoun on 7 February 2009, during the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave.[47]

The Victorian Alps in the northeast are the coldest part of Victoria. The Alps are part of the Great Dividing Range mountain system extending east–west through the centre of Victoria. Average temperatures are less than 9 °C (48 °F) in winter and below 0 °C (32 °F) in the highest parts of the ranges. The state's lowest minimum temperature of −11.7 °C (10.9 °F) was recorded at Omeo on 15 June 1965, and again at Falls Creek on 3 July 1970.[47] Temperature extremes for the state are listed in the table below:

Climate data for Victoria
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 47.2
Record low °C (°F) −3.9
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[48]


Rainfall in Victoria increases from south to the northeast, with higher averages in areas of high altitude. Mean annual rainfall exceeds 1,800 millimetres (71 inches) in some parts of the northeast but is less than 280 mm (11 in) in the Mallee.

Rain is heaviest in the Otway Ranges and Gippsland in southern Victoria and in the mountainous northeast. Snow generally falls only in the mountains and hills in the centre of the state. Rain falls most frequently in winter, but summer precipitation is heavier. Rainfall is most reliable in Gippsland and the Western District, making them both leading farming areas. Victoria's highest recorded daily rainfall was 377.8 mm (14.87 in) at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park on 23 March 2011.[47]

Source: Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Primary Industries, Australian Natural Resources Atlas


The estimated resident population since 1981
Population growth
estimates for Victoria
Year Population
2001 4,612,000
2007 5,087,000
2011 5,500,000
2016 6,000,000
2021 6,400,000
2026 6,800,000
2031 7,300,000
Source: Dept of Planning and
Community Development
Melbourne, the state capital, is home to more than three in four Victorians.
Chinatown, Melbourne. 2.7% of the Victorian population was born in China, 6.7% of the Victorian population is of Chinese ancestry, and 3.2% of the Victorian population speaks Mandarin at home.

At June 2022 Victoria had a population of 6,613,700.[4] The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that the population may well reach 7.2 million by 2050.

Victoria's founding Anglo-Celtic population has been supplemented by successive waves of migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia and, most recently, Africa and the Middle East. Victoria's population is ageing in proportion with the average of the remainder of the Australian population.

About 72% of Victorians are Australian-born. This figure falls to around 66% in Melbourne but rises to higher than 95% in some rural areas in the north west of the state. Less than 1% of Victorians identify themselves as Aboriginal.

More than 75% of Victorians live in Melbourne, located in the state's south. The greater Melbourne metropolitan area is home to an estimated 4,850,740 people.[49] Urban centres outside Melbourne include Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Warrnambool, Wodonga and the Latrobe Valley.

Victoria is Australia's most urbanised state: nearly 90% of residents living in cities and towns. State Government efforts to decentralise population have included an official campaign run since 2003 to encourage Victorians to settle in regional areas,[50] however Melbourne continues to rapidly outpace these areas in terms of population growth.[51]

Ancestry and immigration[edit]

Country of Birth (2016)[12]
Birthplace[N 2] Population
Australia 3,845,493
England 171,443
India 169,802
Mainland China 160,652
New Zealand 93,253
Vietnam 80,253
Italy 70,527
Sri Lanka 55,830
Philippines 51,290
Malaysia 50,049
Greece 47,240

At the 2016 census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:[N 3][12][52]

0.8% of the population, or 47,788 people, identified as Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders) in 2016.[N 5][12][52]

At the 2016 census, 64.9% of residents were born in Australia. The other most common countries of birth were England (2.9%), India (2.9%), Mainland China (2.7%), New Zealand (1.6%) and Vietnam (1.4%).[12][52]


As of the 2016 census, 72.2% of Victorians speak English at home. Speakers of other languages include Mandarin (3.2%), Italian (1.9%), Greek (1.9%), Vietnamese (1.7%), and Arabic (1.3%).[12][52]


In the 2016 Census, 47.9% of Victorians described themselves as Christian, 10.6% stated that they followed other religions and 32.1% stated that they had no religion or held secular or other spiritual beliefs.[54] In the survey, 31.7% of Victorians stated they had no religion, Roman Catholics were 23.2%, 9.4% did not answer the question, 9% were Anglican and 3.5% were Eastern Orthodox.[55]

In 2017 the proportion of couples marrying in a civil ceremony in Victoria was 77.3%; the other 22.7% were married in a religious ceremony.[56]

Age structure and fertility[edit]

The government predicts that nearly a quarter of Victorians will be aged over 60 by 2021. The 2016 census revealed that Australian median age has crept upward from 35 to 37 since 2001, which reflects the population growth peak of 1969–72.[57] In 2017, Victoria recorded a TFR of 1.724.[58]

Average demographic[edit]

The "average Victorian" according to the demographic statistics may be described as follows: [59]

2016 Victorian Census
Median Age 37
Sex (Mode) Female
Country of Birth of Person (Mode) Australia
Country of Birth of Parents (Mode) At least one parent born overseas
Language Spoken at Home (Mode) English
Ancestry 1st Response (Mode) English
Social Marital Status (Mode) Married in a registered marriage
Family Composition (Mode) Couple family with children
Count of All Children in Family (Mode) Two children in family
Highest Year of School Completed (Mode) Year 12 or equivalent
Unpaid Domestic Work: Number of Hours (Mode) 5 to 14 hours
Number of Motor Vehicles (Mode) Two vehicles
Number of Bedrooms in Private Dwelling (Mode) Three bedrooms
Tenure Type (Dwelling Count) (Mode) Owned with a mortgage


In the year ending September 2020, the statistics were skewed by the introduction of six new public safety offences relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.[60] Total offences numbered 551,710, with 32,713 of these being breaches of Chief Health Officer Directions. The total offences occurred at a rate of 8,227 per 100,000 people, up 4.4% on the previous year. While there have been some dips along the way, the rate of recorded offences have increased year on year since 2011, when the figure was 6,937.7 offences per 100,000 people.[61]

Criminal offences recorded in Victoria 2010–14[62]
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Number of offences 378,082 386,061 423,555 437,409 456,381


The Victorian Parliament House, built in 1856, stands in Spring Street, Melbourne. The building was intended to be finished with a dome, but was not completed due to budget constraints.
The Legislative Council Chamber, as photographed in 1878
One of many local government seats, Geelong Town Hall


Victoria has a parliamentary form of government based on the Westminster System. Legislative power resides in the Parliament consisting of the Governor (the representative of the King), the executive (the Government), and two legislative chambers. The Parliament of Victoria consists of the lower house Legislative Assembly, the upper house Legislative Council and the monarch.

Eighty-eight members of the Legislative Assembly are elected to four-year terms from single-member electorates.

In November 2006, the Victorian Legislative Council elections were held under a new multi-member proportional representation system. The State of Victoria was divided into eight electorates with each electorate represented by five representatives elected by Single Transferable Vote. The total number of upper house members was reduced from 44 to 40 and their term of office is now the same as the lower house members—four years. Elections for the Victorian Parliament are now fixed and occur in November every four years. Prior to the 2006 election, the Legislative Council consisted of 44 members elected to eight-year terms from 22 two-member electorates.

Party Legislative Assembly Legislative Council
Labor 56 15
Liberal 19 12
National 9 2
Greens 4 4
Others 0 7

Premier and cabinet[edit]

The Premier of Victoria is the leader of the political party or coalition with the most seats in the Legislative Assembly. The Premier is the public face of government and, with cabinet, sets the legislative and political agenda. Cabinet consists of representatives elected to either house of parliament. It is responsible for managing areas of government that are not exclusively vested in the Commonwealth, by the Australian Constitution, such as education, health and law enforcement. The current Premier of Victoria is Jacinta Allan.


Executive authority is vested in the Governor of Victoria who represents and is appointed by the monarch. The post is usually filled by a retired prominent Victorian. The governor acts on the advice of the premier and cabinet. The current Governor of Victoria is Margaret Gardner.


Victoria has a written constitution enacted in 1975,[63] but based on the 1855 colonial constitution, passed by the United Kingdom Parliament as the Victoria Constitution Act 1855, which establishes the Parliament as the state's law-making body for matters coming under state responsibility. The Victorian Constitution can be amended by the Parliament of Victoria, except for certain "entrenched" provisions that require either an absolute majority in both houses, a three-fifths majority in both houses, or the approval of the Victorian people in a referendum, depending on the provision. To this day, not a single referendum has been held to change the Victorian Constitution.


Victoria is considered by some analysts to be the most progressive state in the nation.[64][65] The state recorded the highest Yes votes of any state in the republic referendum and same-sex marriage survey. Victorians are said to be "generally socially progressive, supportive of multiculturalism, wary of extremes of any kind".[66]

Premier Jacinta Allan leads the Victorian Labor Party who replaced Daniel Andrews after his resignation in September 2023. Labor has been in power since the November 2014 Victorian state election.

The centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP), the centre-right Liberal Party of Australia, the rural-based National Party of Australia, and the left-wing environmentalist Australian Greens are Victoria's main political parties. Traditionally, Labor is strongest in Melbourne's working and middle class western, northern and inner-city suburbs, and the regional cities of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. The Liberals' main support lies in Melbourne's more affluent eastern suburbs and outer suburbs, and some rural and regional centres. The Nationals are strongest in Victoria's North Western and Eastern rural regional areas. The Greens, who won their first lower house seats in 2014, are strongest in inner Melbourne.

Federal government[edit]

Victorian voters elect 50 representatives to the Parliament of Australia, including 38 members of the House of Representatives and 12 members of the Senate. Since 1 April 2023, the ALP hold 25 Victorian house seats, the Liberals 10, the Nationals three, the Greens one, and independents the remaining three. The ALP and the Liberals hold four senate seats each, while the Nationals, Greens, UAP and an independent hold one seat each.

Local government[edit]

Victoria is incorporated into 79 municipalities for the purposes of local government, including 39 shires, 32 cities, seven rural cities and one borough. Shire and city councils are responsible for functions delegated by the Victorian parliament, such as city planning, road infrastructure and waste management. Council revenue comes mostly from property taxes and government grants.[67]


Primary and secondary[edit]

Camberwell High School, a public secondary school in Victoria
The University of Melbourne, ranked as one of the best universities in Australia and in the Southern Hemisphere, is Victoria's oldest university.
Deakin University consistently leads the state in student satisfaction, and is consistently ranked as one of the world's best young universities.
The State Library of Victoria is the fourth most visited public library in the world.[68][69]

Victoria's state school system dates back to 1872, when the colonial government legislated to make schooling both free and compulsory. The state's public secondary school system began in 1905. Before then, only private secondary schooling was available. Today, a Victorian school education consists of seven years of primary schooling (including one preparatory year) and six years of secondary schooling.

The final years of secondary school are optional for children aged over 17. Victorian children generally begin school at age five or six. On completing secondary school, students earn the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or Victorian Certificate of Education - Vocational Major (VCE-VM). Students who successfully complete their VCE (not including VCE-VM students) also receive an ATAR, to determine university admittance (unless the student is 'going unscored'.

Victorian schools are either publicly or privately funded. Public schools, also known as state or government schools, are funded and run directly by the Victoria Department of Education Department of Education and Training Victoria. Students do not pay tuition fees, but some extra costs are levied. Private fee-paying schools include parish schools run by the Roman Catholic Church and independent schools similar to British public schools. Independent schools are usually affiliated with Protestant churches. Victoria also has several private Jewish and Islamic primary and secondary schools. Private schools also receive some public funding. All schools must comply with government-set curriculum standards. In addition, Victoria has six government selective schools, Melbourne High School for boys, MacRobertson Girls' High School for girls, the coeducational schools John Monash Science School, Nossal High School and Suzanne Cory High School, and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. Students at these schools are exclusively admitted on the basis of an academic selective entry test.

Victoria also offers an online schooling system, called Virtual School Victoria, or VSV.

As of February 2019, Victoria had 1,529 public schools, 496 Catholic schools and 219 independent schools. Just under 631,500 students were enrolled in public schools, and just over 357,000 in private schools. Over 58 per cent of private students attend Catholic schools. More than 552,300 students were enrolled in primary schools and more than 418,600 in secondary schools. Retention rates for the final two years of secondary school were 84.3 per cent for public school students and 91.5 per cent for private school students. Victoria has about 46,523 full-time teachers.[70]

Tertiary education[edit]

Victoria has nine universities. The first to offer degrees, the University of Melbourne, enrolled its first student in 1855. The largest, Monash University, has an enrolment of over 83,000 students—more than any other Australian university.[71]

The number of students enrolled in Victorian universities was 418,447 in 2018, an increase of 5.3% on the previous year. International students made up 40% of enrolments and account for the highest percentage of pre-paid university tuition fees.[71] The largest number of enrolments were recorded in the fields of business, administration and economics, with nearly 30% of all students, followed by arts, humanities, and social science, with 18% of enrolments.[71]

Victoria has 12 government-run institutions of technical and further education (TAFE).[72] The first vocational institution in the state was the Melbourne Mechanics' Institute (established in 1839), which is now the Melbourne Athenaeum. More than 1,000 adult education organisations are registered to provide recognised TAFE programs. In 2014, there were 443,000 students enrolled in vocational education in the state. By 2018, the number of students in the sector had dropped by 40 per cent to 265,000—a five-year low which the education department attributed to withdrawal of funding to low-quality providers and a societal shift to university education.[73]


The State Library Victoria is the State's research and reference library. It is responsible for collecting and preserving Victoria's documentary heritage and making it available through a range of services and programs. Material in the collection includes books, newspapers, magazines, journals, manuscripts, maps, pictures, objects, sound and video recordings and databases.

The state has public libraries in most LGAs (typically with multiple branches in their respective municipal areas) and academic libraries in universities, and some special libraries.


Victorian production and
workers by economic activities
Number of
workers ('000s)
of workers
Finance, insurance
12.8% 115.5 3.8%
technical services
9.1% 274.3 9.0%
Manufacturing 8.6% 274.4 9.0%
Health Care,
social services
8.5% 390.6 12.8%
Construction 7.7% 255.7 6.4%
Education 6.7% 257.7 8.5%
Retail Trade 6.0% 310.6 10.2%
Transport Services 5.7% 165.4 5.4%
Wholesale Trade 5.6% 113.4 3.7%
5.0% 146.5 4.8%
and IT
3.9% 57.0 1.9%
Real Estate 3.7% 43.6 1.4%
3.3% 119.0 3.9%
Accommodation and
food services
2.9% 209.9 6.9%
Agriculture, forestry
and fishing
2.8% 86.1 2.8%
Utilities 2.4% 39.4 1.3%
Mining 2.0% 11.0 0.4%
Arts and
1.1% 63.2 2.1%
Other Services 115.1 3.8%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. GSP as of June 2016. Employment as of Aug 2016.

The state of Victoria is the second largest economy in Australia after New South Wales, accounting for a quarter of the nation's gross domestic product. The total gross state product (GSP) at current prices for Victoria was A$459 billion in June 2020, with a GSP per capita of A$68,996.[5]

Finance and insurance is Victoria's largest income producing sector, while the health care and social assistance sector is the state's biggest employer. The shift towards service industries in the preceding decades has seen manufacturing lose its mantle as Victoria's largest employer and income producer.


Victoria's stand at the Paris Exhibition Universal of 1867, showing bales of wool

During 2003–04, the gross value of Victorian agricultural production increased by 17% to $8.7 billion. This represented 24% of national agricultural production total gross value. As of 2004, an estimated 32,463 farms occupied around 136,000 square kilometres (53,000 sq mi) of Victorian land. This comprises more than 60% of the state's total land surface. Victorian farms range from small horticultural outfits to large-scale livestock and grain productions. A quarter of farmland is used to grow consumable crops.

More than 26,000 square kilometres (10,000 sq mi) of Victorian farmland are sown for grain, mostly in the state's west. More than 50% of this area is sown for wheat, 33% for barley and 7% for oats. A further 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi) is sown for hay. In 2003–04, Victorian farmers produced more than 3 million metric tons (3.3 million short tons) of wheat and 2 million metric tons (2.2 million short tons) of barley. Pgt standard race 126 was the most common Stem Rust (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici) race here from 1929 to 1941, as it was for the whole of Australia.[75] First detected on Tasmania in 1954, standard race 21 was the most common race by the next year in this state, the southern part of NSW, and Tasmania.[75] Leaf Rust (P. triticina) is known to have been present here, and throughout the continent, at least since European colonization.[75] P. triticina pathotype 104-2,3,(6),(7),11 was first found here in 1984 and has contributed to populations ever since.[75] It is considered to be foreign to Australia due to a difference in pathogenicity and due to its unique Pgm2 c allele.[75]

Victorian farms produce nearly 90% of Australian pears and a third of apples. It is also a leader in stone fruit (Prunus) production. The main vegetable crops include asparagus, broccoli, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Last year, 121,200 metric tons (133,600 short tons) of pears and 270,000 metric tons (300,000 short tons) of tomatoes were produced.

More than 14 million sheep and 5 million lambs graze over 10% of Victorian farms, mostly in the state's north and west. In 2004, nearly 10 million lambs and sheep were slaughtered for local consumption and export. Victoria also exports live sheep to the Middle East for meat and to the rest of the world for breeding. More than 108,000 metric tons (119,000 short tons) of wool clip was also produced—one-fifth of the Australian total.

Victoria is the centre of dairy farming in Australia. It is home to 60% of Australia's 3 million dairy cattle and produces nearly two-thirds of the nation's milk, almost 6.4 billion litres (1.7 billion US gallons). The state also has 2.4 million beef cattle, with more than 2.2 million cattle and calves slaughtered each year. In 2003–04, Victorian commercial fishing crews and aquaculture industry produced 11,634 metric tons (12,824 short tons) of seafood valued at nearly A$109 million. Blacklipped abalone is the mainstay of the catch, bringing in A$46 million, followed by southern rock lobster worth A$13.7 million. Most abalone and rock lobster is exported to Asia.

As of 2022 there are almost 100 strawberry farms here, most close to Melbourne CBD in the Yarra Valley.[76] They are represented by the Victorian Strawberries organization.[76] They recommend[77] varieties for production here.

Most of Australia – including this state – imposed a moratorium on GM canola in 2003 to consider the positives and negatives.[78] After consideration the ban here was lifted in 2008 and the state's produced a review of the effects of the moratorium and the expected economic and other effects of adoption or failure to adopt GM canola.[78] The government finds a benefit of AUS$45 per hectare ($18/acre)/season over conventional.[78]


Victoria has a diverse range of manufacturing enterprises and Melbourne is considered Australia's most important industrial city. The post-World War II manufacturing boom was fuelled by international investment, attracted to the state by the availability of cheap land close to the city and inexpensive energy from the Latrobe Valley. Victoria produced 26.4% of total manufacturing output in Australia in 2015–16, behind New South Wales at 32.4%.

Machinery and equipment manufacturing is the state's most valuable manufacturing activity, followed by food and beverage products, petrochemicals and chemicals. Prominent manufacturing plants in the state include the Portland and Point Henry aluminium smelters, owned by Alcoa; Geelong and Altona oil refineries; a major petrochemical facility at Laverton; and Victorian-based CSL, a global biotechnology company that produces vaccines and plasma products, among others. Victoria also plays an important role in providing goods for the defence industry.

Victoria proportionally relies on manufacturing more than any other state in Australia, constituting 8.6% of total state product; slightly higher than South Australia at 8.0%. However, this proportion has been declining for three decades; in 1990 at the time of the early 1990s recession manufacturing constituted 20.3% of total state output. Manufacturing output peaked in absolute terms in 2008, reaching $28.8 billion and has slowly fallen over the decade to $26.8 billion in 2016 (−0.77% per annum). Since 1990, manufacturing employment has also fallen in both aggregate (367,700 to 274,400 workers) and proportional (17.8% to 9.0%) terms. The strong Australian dollar as a result of the 2000s mining boom, small population and isolation, high wage base and the general shift of manufacturing production towards developing countries have been cited as some of the reasons for this decline.

Historically, Victoria has been a hub for the manufacturing plants of the major car brands Ford, Toyota and Holden; however, closure announcements by all three companies in the 2010s has meant Australia will completely lose their car manufacturing industry by the end of 2017. Holden's announcement occurred in May 2013 following Ford's decision in December the previous year (Ford's Victorian plants, in Broadmeadows and Geelong, closed in October 2016).[79][80] Toyota followed suit in February 2014 with an expected announcement as without Holden or Ford, local supply chains would struggle to create the economics of scale required to supply one manufacturer.[81]


Victoria adopted the Torrens system of land registration with the Real Property Act 1862.[82] The Torrens system did not replace the common law system but applied only to new land grants and to land that has been voluntarily registered under the Act, and its successors. The common law system continues to apply to all other private landholdings. Crown land held in Victoria is managed under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and the Land Act 1958.


Yallourn Power Station in the Latrobe Valley

Mining in Victoria contributes around A$6 billion to the gross state product (~2%) but employs less than 1% of workers. The Victorian mining industry is concentrated on energy producing minerals, with brown coal, petroleum and gas accounting for nearly 90% of local production. The oil and gas industries are centred off the coast of Gippsland in the state's east, while brown coal mining and power generation is based in the Latrobe Valley.

In the 2005–06 fiscal year, the average gas production was over 700 million cubic feet (20,000,000 m3) per day (M cuft/d) and represented 18% of the total national gas sales, with demand growing at 2% per year.[83]

In 1985, oil production from the offshore Gippsland Basin peaked to an annual average of 450,000 barrels (72,000 m3) per day. In 2005–2006, the average daily oil production has declined to 83,000 bbl (13,200 m3)/d, but despite the decline Victoria still produces almost 19.5% of crude oil in Australia.[83]

Brown coal is Victoria's leading mineral, with 66 million tonnes mined each year for electricity generation in the Latrobe Valley, Gippsland.[84] The region is home to the world's largest known reserves of brown coal.

Despite being the historic centre of Australia's gold rush, Victoria today contributes a mere 1% of national gold production. Victoria also produces limited amounts of gypsum and kaolin. Victoria's gold production is mostly derived from the Fosterville and Stawell Gold Mines.

Service industry[edit]

The service industries sector is the fastest growing component of the Victorian economy. It includes the wide range of activities generally classified as financial and professional services; health care and social assistance, education, transportation, IT and communication services, government services and wholesale and retail trade. Most service industries are located in Melbourne and the state's larger regional centres.

As of 2015–16, service industries employed over three-quarters of Victorian workers and more than three-quarters of the state's GSP. Finance and insurance as a group provide more value-add to the economy than any other economic activity in Victoria while health care and social assistance employ the most workers.


Some major tourist destinations in Victoria are:

Other popular tourism activities are gliding, hang-gliding, hot air ballooning and scuba diving.

Major events that explore cultural diversity, music and sports play a big part in Victoria's tourism. The V8 Supercars and Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island, the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool and the Australian International Airshow at Avalon and numerous local festivals such as the popular Port Fairy Folk Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Pako Festa in Geelong West, Bells Beach Surf Classic and the Bright Autumn Festival amongst others.


Two E-Class trams on Bourke St as part of the Melbourne tram network.
Two E-Class trams on Bourke St on the Melbourne tram network

Victoria has the highest population density in any state in Australia, with population centres spread out over most of the state; only the far northwest and the Victorian Alps lack permanent settlement.

The Victorian road network services the population centres, with highways generally radiating from Melbourne and other major cities and rural centres with secondary roads interconnecting the highways to each other. Many of the highways are built to freeway standard ("M" freeways), while most are generally sealed and of reasonable quality.

A V/Line VLocity diesel train at Ballarat station

Rail transport in Victoria is provided by several private and public railway operators who operate over government-owned lines. Major operators include: Metro Trains Melbourne which runs an extensive, electrified, passenger system throughout Melbourne and suburbs; V/Line which is now owned by the Victorian Government, operates a concentrated service to major regional centres, as well as long-distance services on other lines; Pacific National, CFCL Australia which operate freight services; Great Southern Rail which operates The Overland Melbourne—Adelaide; and NSW TrainLink which operates XPTs Melbourne—Sydney.

There are also several smaller freight operators and numerous tourist railways operating over lines which were once parts of a state-owned system. Victorian lines mainly use the 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) broad gauge. However, the interstate trunk routes, as well as a number of freight lines in the north and west of the state have been converted to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge. Two tourist railways operate over 760 mm (2 ft 6 in) narrow gauge lines, which are the remnants of five formerly government-owned lines which were built in mountainous areas.

Melbourne has the world's largest tram network,[86] currently operated by Yarra Trams. As well as being a popular form of public transport, over the last few decades trams have become one of Melbourne's major tourist attractions. There are also tourist trams operating over portions of the former Ballarat and Bendigo systems. There are also tramway museums at Bylands, Haddon and Hawthorn.

Melbourne Airport is the major domestic and international gateway for the state. Avalon Airport is the state's second busiest airport, which complements Essendon and Moorabbin Airports to see the remainder of Melbourne's air traffic. Hamilton Airport, Mildura Airport, Mount Hotham and Portland Airport are the remaining airports with scheduled domestic flights. There are no fewer than 27 other airports in the state with no scheduled flights.

The Port of Melbourne is the largest port for containerised and general cargo in Australia,[87] and is located in Melbourne on the mouth of the Yarra River, which is at the head of Port Phillip. Additional seaports are at Westernport, Geelong, and Portland.

As of October 2013, smoking tobacco is prohibited in the sheltered areas of train stations, and tram and bus stops, as is the use of e-cigarettes. Between 2012 and 2013, 2002 people were issued with infringement notices. The state government announced a plan in October 2013 to prohibit smoking on all Victorian railway station platforms and raised tram stops.[88]

A high capacity metro train at a station in Melbourne
A High Capacity Metro Train on the Melbourne metropolitan train network operated by Metro Trains Melbourne. The trains have been introduced as part of the Metro Tunnel project.
A VLocity train at Flinders Street station. V/Line is a government-owned train and coach service provider in Victoria, providing inter-city services to a number of regional cities in the state.



Victoria's major utilities include a collection of brown-coal-fired power stations, particularly in the Latrobe Valley. One of these was the recently decommissioned Hazelwood Power Station, which was number 1 on the worldwide List of least carbon efficient power stations. The Victorian government is aiming to cut 40.6 mega tonnes of greenhouse gases emissions by 2025.[89][90]


Victoria's water infrastructure includes a series of dams and reservoirs, predominantly in Central Victoria, that hold and collect water for much of the state. The water collected is of a very high quality and requires little chlorination treatment, giving the water a taste more like water collected in a rainwater tank. In regional areas however, such as in the west of the state, chlorination levels are much higher.

The Victorian Water Grid consists of a number of new connections and pipelines being built across the State. This allows water to be moved around Victoria to where it is needed most and reduces the impact of localised droughts in an era thought to be influenced by climate change. Major projects already completed as part of the Grid include the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline and the Goldfields Superpipe.[91]


Statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground commemorating the origins of Australian rules football
Panorama of the MCG during the AFL Grand Final on 30 September 2017

Victoria is the home of Australian rules football, with ten of the 18 Australian Football League (AFL) clubs based in the state. The AFL Grand Final is traditionally held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the last Saturday of September. The state has a public holiday the day before the Grand Final, which coincides with the AFL Grand Final parade. The MCG is sometimes called he spiritual home of Australian rules football.[92]

The Victorian cricket team play in the national Sheffield Shield cricket competition. Victoria is represented in the National Rugby League by the Melbourne Storm and in Super Rugby by the Melbourne Rebels. It is represented in the National Basketball League by Melbourne United and South East Melbourne Phoenix. It is also represented in soccer by Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City and Western United in the A-League.

Melbourne has held the 1956 Summer Olympics, 2006 Commonwealth Games and the FINA World Swimming Championship.

Melbourne is also home to the Australian Open tennis tournament in January each year, which is the first of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, as well as the Formula One Australian Grand Prix, which is, on an annual basis, usually held in March or April. It hosted the Australian Masters golf tournament from 1979 to 2015.

Victoria's Bells Beach hosts one of the world's longest-running surfing competition, the Bells Beach SurfClassic, which is part of The ASP World Tour.

The Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies Netball represent Victoria in the National Netball League.

Victoria's Phillip Island is home of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit which hosts the Australian motorcycle Grand Prix which features MotoGP (the world's premier motorcycling class), as well as the Australian round of the World Superbike Championship and the domestic V8 Supercar racing, which also visits Sandown Raceway and the rural Winton Motor Raceway circuit.

Australia's most prestigious footrace, the Stawell Gift, is an annual event.

Victoria is also home to the Aussie Millions poker tournament, the tournament with the highest potential proceeds in the Southern Hemisphere.

The main horse racing tracks in Victoria are Caulfield Racecourse, Flemington Racecourse and Sandown Racecourse. The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is one of the biggest horse racing events in the world and is one of the world's largest sporting events. The main race is for the $6 million Melbourne Cup, and crowds for the carnival usually exceed 700,000.

Victoria was due to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games but withdrew on 18 July 2023 as a result of increased costs of holding the event.[93][94]

Major professional teams include:

Sister states[edit]

Victoria has four sister states:[95]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This figure is for Torquay only
  2. ^ In accordance with the Australian Bureau of Statistics source, England, Scotland, Mainland China and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are listed separately
  3. ^ As a percentage of 5,533,099 persons who nominated their ancestry at the 2016 census.
  4. ^ The Australian Bureau of Statistics has stated that most who nominate "Australian" as their ancestry are part of the Anglo-Celtic group.[53]
  5. ^ Of any ancestry. Includes those identifying as Aboriginal Australians or Torres Strait Islanders. Indigenous identification is separate to the ancestry question on the Australian Census and persons identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may identify any ancestry.


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Further reading[edit]

Victorian frontier history[edit]

  • Jan Critchett (1990), A distant field of murder: Western district frontiers, 1834–1848, Melbourne University Press (Carlton, Vic. and Portland, Or.) ISBN 0522843891.
  • Ian D Clark (1990), Aboriginal languages and clans: An historical atlas of western and central Victoria, 1800–1900, Dept. of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University (Melbourne), ISBN 0-909685-41-X.
  • Ian D Clark (1995), Scars in the landscape: A register of massacre sites in western Victoria, 1803–1859, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Canberra), ISBN 0-85575-281-5.
  • Ian D Clark (2003), "That's my country belonging to me": Aboriginal land tenure and dispossession in nineteenth century Western Victoria, Ballarat Heritage Services, Ballarat.

External links[edit]



General information