Notebooks and pens out please.

Time for a history lesson, girls. Soon you’ll know a little bit more about our proud and not so proud history of the Australian state capital, Melbourne. Time, as always, runs against me, so I’ll have to be as brief as possible, but let me assure you that this brief overview of Melbournian city history will whet your appetite to make you want to come on over here someday. Who knows, perhaps you’ll end up following in the footsteps of hundreds of other adventurous girls by trekking over here for good. The world is such a gloomy place right now, but here, everything’s quite cool.

Syrians are welcome, by the way.

That’s what I say, and so should everyone else. I’m not going to delve into that country’s sad short history of its five year long civil war and the spineless, brutal and selfish rule by one family, a mindless father and a brainless son, but I would like to make one remark about the Syrians I’ve been reading up about in the last few months or so. In fact, where was I last night before I turned in to sleep – no clubbing last night, just some serious reading on what’s up in the world – I was reading a UK online newspaper and my interest invariably got drawn to the tentative Syrian ceasefire that’s on at the moment?

The story goes that it’s early days and the food trucks and medical supplies haven’t yet been able to reach the most ravaged areas. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Syrian migrants are very much welcome here. Also, you need to understand why some countries, such as ours, have such strict immigration and migration laws. Imagine if things got out of hand and it became a free for all scenario. Surely all hell would break loose.

I do, however, believe that our stuck-up politicians need to loosen up a little. Give Germany and Turkey a hand, for goodness’s sake. The thing about Syrians is that they are better educated than most citizens from around the world. They’ve also got piles of skills that might come in handy for a city like Melbourne. Also, they have such a rich cultural heritage, and I can’t wait to get a taste of their cuisine. It’s quite similar to what I’ve so far tasted of the migrant Lebanese already over here.

That being said, Melbourne does have policies in place which are very welcoming to the likes of you who might be contemplating settling over here. But here’s the thing, you better have those illustrious skills and fine degrees that the Syrians already have in bucket loads. Good luck with your application, I guess. Strewth, and I thought I was going to be giving you a quick guide on Melbourne’s history. Well, so be it. I’ve given you something else interesting to ponder on. And I already explained my fickle habit of changing my mind about things on the last moment.

I make no excuses or apologies, bratty Melbourne city girl that I am.

Melbourne’s earliest known inhabitants were the Wurunjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong. They lived in the area known as the Yarra Valley, on which Melbourne now stands, up to forty thousand years ago. Sadly, thanks to the Australian government’s racist policies shortly after Australia’s independence from Great Britain, not many of the direct ascents of the region’s original Aborigines remain. Thousands of years after these original Aboriginal settlements, a bloke named after a fish arrived. He came over in a whaleboat with six other blokes. And this is why today; the bay is named the Bass Strait.

Wonder Woman and Cat Woman are my two favourite superheroes. But I adore Batman. That’s now a funny thing about names. Batman arrived in Melbourne during the nineteenth century. Actually, this Batman was a part of a Tasman business group known as the Port Phillip Association who after forcing the local Wurunjeri to make a deal with the devil, basically proceeded to plunder the land of these folks and then start up their own village.

That’s colonisation for you.

Tents and primitive huts were what informed the city’s first skyscrapers. The people that settled here weren’t altogether a healthy bunch and ended up polluting the Yarra River with their typhoid fever epidemic. Around this time, gold was discovered and so the immigration floodgates opened. The European population doubled up while the original Aborigines lost still more land, much of which was cleared for grazing sheep.

Just before the turn into the twentieth century, the European settlers got their just desserts for their colonial greed. The gold boom went bust. Banks and start-ups folded and many stock brokers lost a pile of cash. That date was eighteen-ninety. Interestingly, almost exactly one hundred years later, a global stock market crash affected the by now sophisticated Melbourne city business networks. Apart from the poor original inhabitants, Melbournians are a resilient bunch, so whenever trouble strikes, they know how to quickly recover and start all over again.

So, as I was saying; Syrians are most welcome over in Melbourne City.