How to adjust to the local culture in Melbourne

adjusting to the local culture in Melbourne
Updated 2019-05-28 13:50

Melbourne is home to one of the most culturally diverse communities in the world. Around 140 different cultures are represented in Melbourne, including migrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Being voted one of the best cities in the world seven times in a row, you can see why people fall in love with Melbourne and the local, vibrant culture. Home to 4.9 million people, Melbourne is known as Australias most diverse city.

Multiculturism and Indigenous culture

Melbourne acknowledges the traditional landowners, the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation. Melbourne understands and promotes the significant Indigenous culture and celebrates it through festivals, museums, heritage walks, and art, all allowing people to gain a better insight into the rich Aboriginal culture.

Melbourne hosts a highly harmonious and culturally diverse city that sets it apart from other Australian cities. Melbourne's local culture is its diversity. With a range of cultural festivals and markets, Melbourne is welcoming and reflects an inclusive atmosphere where more than 100 languages are spoken.

Melbourne had four main waves of migration which started in the 1830s and saw Anglo-Celtic people displace the area's original inhabitants, the people of the Kulin Nation. The gold rush of the 1850s saw an influx of Chinese settlers trying their luck. The end of World War Two brought immigrants and refugees from Europe, and by 1976, 20% of Melbourne's population spoke English as a second language and a foreign language as their first.

The fourth wave came in the 1970s with significant migration from Vietnam and Cambodia. Due to this strong history of migration, Melbourne is vibrant and colourful, full of different cultures and neighbourhoods that celebrate different traditions, food, and customs. Melbourne's culture lies in its street art, laneways, food and drink, and the best coffee in the world.

LGBTI culture

Melbourne is cosmopolitan and forward thinking, and proud to be a safe and open city for gay and LGBTQ rights. It boasts a vast gay and LGBTQ population, and finally has marriage equality for all. The Melbourne pride events are enormous, and areas are devoted to gay bars, which always guarantee a lively night out. As well as having local gay icons like Kylie Minogue and the swimmer Ian Thorpe, Melburnians are gay-friendly ' the world's fifth most tolerant country.

Do's and don'ts

Melbourne is a pretty laid-back and relaxed city; however, there are some big no no's when it comes to the local culture and general etiquette:

Don't spit in public. This is viewed as distasteful, and while different cultures have different traditions, it is not something that is tolerated in Melbourne.

Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough when you are in public. When flu season is upon us, and you are on busy transport, the last thing anyone wants is a sneezer who doesn't cover their mouth. Keep your gems to yourself and bring a tissue.

Always mind your manners. Always be polite and respond with a 'thank you', 'sorry', or 'you're welcome'. Manners are something Australians rate highly, and while some countries don't have a word for thank you in their own language, it is local etiquette to use it often in Melbourne.

Never litter. Melburnians are proud of their clean city, so always put your litter in the bins or hold onto it. Littering is not tolerated, and you can be fined up to AUD 500 if you are caught.

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