Despite its shaky start, the British settlement at Port Phillip developed into a colonial city that rivalled Sydney for its wealth and cultural influence. The Gold Rush provided the funds to build magnificent buildings and provide all the infrastructure needed to turn a colonial outpost into a great city. In the 20th century, Melbourne became the first city in the southern hemisphere to host an Olympic Games, and today it has a focus on the arts and a commitment to sustainability. Melbourne has a large and diverse population, and it expects to rival Sydney in numbers of people in the near future.
Each of Australia's eight capital cities has a unique history. Some, like Sydney, depended on convicts for their early survival. Others, such as Adelaide, refused to accept convicts and developed differently as a result. Having a reliable source of fresh water was a common requirement, which is why all of the cities are located beside a water supply of some sort. Many cities struggled through their early years, until the 19th century Gold Rush provided them with the funds to build magnificent civic buildings, as well as roads, bridges and railways. Today, each of the capitals has its own character and attractions, and their development plans will determine the shape of Australia's future.