The origins of Melbourne as a multicultural city 

Chinese Dragon Parade at Citizens Arch in Swanston Street, Melbourne 1901
Chinese Dragon Parade at Citizens Arch in Swanston Street, Melbourne 1901

Melbourne’s Chinatown is a historic precinct established by Chinese migrants during the Goldrush in the 1850s – only 20 years after the first settlers landed in Melbourne port.

Chinatown represents a long-standing immigrant community that has both endured and thrived within the City of Melbourne for 163 years, since the discovery of gold in Victoria, which inspired over 40,000 newcomers to find their fortune.

Its Chinese heritage streetscape is now the longest standing in the Western World, with buildings still owned by the families of the original owners since the 1860s.

Since 1901, the community has been parading dragons in the streets of Melbourne and been an active part of the Community celebrating their own culture within the context of the wider community. As Australian citizens, their contributions have helped transform Melbourne into a modern multicultural city of the 21st Century.

Today Melbourne’s Chinatown plays host to many thousands of diners, theatre goers, families, night clubbers, hotel guests and shoppers – one of the few city precincts that thrives on a diverse range of patrons almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Located in the centre of the city, the unique heritage precinct covers six city blocks bounded by Spring, Lonsdale, Swanston and Bourke Streets, with many laneways straddling Little Bourke Street – the central spine of the Precinct.

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