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Melbourne Overtakes Sydney as Australia’s Biggest City

Melbourne Australia Greeks
Melbourne’s population is 4,875,400 – 18,700 more than Sydney’s. Credit: Melbpal , CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikipedia

Melbourne has overtaken Sydney as Australia’s most populous city for the first time since the 19th century, the latest government figures showed.

Melbourne, the city that also boasts the largest Greek diaspora community in the world, now has a population of 4,875,400; 18,700 more than Sydney.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines a city’s “significant urban area”, by including all connecting suburbs with more than 10,000 people.

“With the amalgamation of Melton into Melbourne in the latest… classification, Melbourne has more people than Sydney – and has had since 2018, ” the ABS’s Andrew Howe told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper – which described the redrawn boundary as “a technicality”.

Melbourne’s rapid growth is largely thanks to international migration, Australian National University demographer Liz Allen told the BBC.

Dr Allen noted that unlike Sydney, which has a “historical hangover” from a time when “it didn’t want to be seen as anything other than white”, Melbourne has a reputation for celebrating diversity.

It is also an attractive migration destination, as it has employment and education opportunities comparable to Sydney, but has historically been more affordable than the harbor-side city.

Melbourne: “the Greek city”

Lonsdale Street Greek Festival in Melbourne, Australia
Each year thousands attend the Antipodes Greek Festival Weekend In Melbourne. Credit: Facebook / Antipodes Festival Credit: Facebook / Antipodes Festival

The Greek community of Melbourne is one of the largest Greek diaspora communities in the world, and Melbourne hosts the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Greece and Cyprus.

According to the 2016 Australian census, Melbourne has the largest Greek population in Australia with 173,598 Greeks, making up 3.87% of Greater Melbourne’s population.

The city makes up one of the six important Greek population centers worldwide. The others are Sydney, Toronto, New York City, Chicago and Boston. In the 21st century, most Greeks outside of Greece and Cyprus live in one of these six cities.

Modern Greek civilization in the city is perpetuated by three Greek Australian day schools, dozens of after-hours ‘Greek schools’, a network of care and welfare societies for the aged, many community and cultural organizations, brotherhoods, youth groups, and sporting clubs.

The Hellenic Museum located in Melbourne’s CBD tells the ongoing story of the Greeks in Melbourne and houses the Hellenic Foundation for Culture’s center.

The Greeks of Melbourne have made a rich contribution to Victoria society through achieving a high level of educational attainment and business ownership.

The city’s physical landscape has been shaped by Hellenic influence: the Eureka Tower, the tallest building in Melbourne’s skyline, was designed by Greek Australian Nonda Katsalidis.

Additionally, many of Melbourne’s landmarks feature prominent Greek designs including Parliament House, the Shrine of Remembrance and the State Library.

Every year, the Greek community of Melbourne holds the Antipodes Festival at Lonsdale Street’s Greek Precinct. The Festival features over 90 food, retail and community stalls, as well as free live entertainment, children’s rides and attractions.

In 1993 the city began hosting the Greek Film Festival, which has continued every year since. The Festival offers “a variety of entertaining and informative films from some of the most gifted Greek storytellers in the film industry.

Related: Greek-Australians: One of Australia’s Most Vibrant Communities

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