National Geographic : 1971 Feb
Rules, incorporating refinements that be wilder an outlander like me; the action that results, however, is gratifyingly quick and violent. Melburnians are so fanatic about the game that they are building a stadium to ac commodate an ear-numbing 157,000 people. Metropolitan Melbourne anticipates a population of some 3,700,000 by 1985 and 5,000,000 by the turn of the century. State officials say frankly they wish it were other wise. They would like growth to be better distributed around Victoria, and the state provides many incentives for businesses to locate away from Melbourne. Nevertheless, the projected figures seem inevitable. Geelong, whose population of 120,000 makes it Victoria's second largest city, lies only 45 miles southwest of Melbourne. It prides itself on a strong identity of its own, but inevitably the two cities will meet and merge, at least in the physical sense. Victoria a Child of Another State It isn't something Victorians like to think about, but the state and its capital are off spring of New South Wales. Sydney, Aus tralia's first settlement, dates from 1788 and the establishment by the British of a penal colony. Not until 1835 did anyone get around to settling in the Melbourne area. In that year two rival syndicates moved into Port Phillip Bay in a land grab unauthorized by officials of New South Wales, who had jurisdiction over the area. These syndicates merged and became so successful that their community named Melbourne after the British prime minister, Lord Melbourne-won a grudging official blessing. Even in those early days the Melbourne Sydney relationship was decidedly chilly, and in 1851 the colony of Victoria split from New South Wales and became a separate state. A year before the founding of Melbourne, John Batman, one of the syndicate leaders, had tried to obtain a land grant on Western port Bay, but the authorities wouldn't permit settlement. If he had obtained his grant, Mel bourne might have grown in the Westernport area, rather than on Port Phillip Bay. Only the boot-shaped Mornington Peninsula sepa rates the two bodies of water (map, page 226). In a very real sense Westernport Bay has just been discovered-thanks to its deep water and soft bottom. It will take ships up to 48-foot draft, and the channel could be dredged deeper. The narrow entrance to Port Phillip Bay, called The Heads, is floored 228 with rock that limits draft to 38 feet. Big tankers and other huge modern ships can't enter and go up to Melbourne-but access to Westernport is easy and safe. Now the area is the hottest industrial prop erty in Australia, with land prices soaring. A large refinery, a petroleum-products fraction ation plant, and a fertilizer plant all have been built recently. One of the biggest steel mills in the world is under construction. Yet everyone is adamant that no ill must befall 39-square-mile Phillip Island, a famous tourist attraction in the mouth of Western port Bay. It offers fine beaches and seascapes, but wildlife is its major lure. Want to watch thousands of fur seals basking on sea-lashed rocks (pages 230-31)? Peer at koalas as they browse on eucalyptus leaves in the roadside trees? See fairy penguins on parade at dusk? You can do it all at Phillip Island. Automobiles roll out of the General Mo tors-Holden factory at Dandenong at the rate of 200 a day. Jigmaker John O'Dowd (right) emigrated from England 19 years ago to join a labor force that still seeks more workers. Drawn by tax benefits and such skilled labor, 150 foreign companies have settled in Victoria in the past decade.