As prime minister (1834, 1835-39, 1839-41) his views brought him support from Whigs and moderate Tories, and he excluded radicals from his ministries. He conceded such reforms as amendment of the poor law (1834), the Municipal Corporations Act (1835), and liberalization of the Canadian government. He was also conciliatory in his policy toward Ireland. However, he resisted further parliamentary reform and repeal of the corn laws.
Melbourne viewed the prime ministership as a supervisory position; cabinet members, such as Lord Palmerston, played a vital role in developing policy. Handsome and urbane, Melbourne was a favorite of the young Queen Victoria and taught her important lessons in statecraft. It was at her request that he returned to office (1839) after Sir Robert Peel resigned over a disagreement with the queen.
Melbourne's wife, Lady Caroline Lamb, 1785-1828, was clever and beautiful, but also eccentric, impulsive, and indiscreet. She is remembered less for the minor novels that she wrote than for her love affair with Lord Byron. Lady Caroline and her husband separated in 1825.
See Lord Melbourne's papers (ed. by L. C. Sanders, 1889, repr. 1971); biography of him by Lord David Cecil (1954, repr. 1965); biography of his wife by H. Blyth (1972).
Settled in 1835, it was named (1837) for Lord Melbourne, the British prime minister. From 1901 to 1927 the city was the seat of the Australian federal government. The population, once primarily British, has changed since World War II with immigration from E and S Europe and, more recently, Asia.
Melbourne has campuses of several universities, including the Univ. of Melbourne (1853), Monash Univ. (1958), and La Trobe Univ. (1964). Melbourne Technical College, the Australian Ballet School, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, and the galleries and theaters of the Victorian Arts Centre also are in the city. Melbourne is the seat of Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops. Attractive parks, including the notable Royal Botanic Gardens and Melbourne Zoo; the bustling Queen Victoria Market; and the cultural and commercial Federation Square complex draw both tourists and residents. The Melbourne Cup horse race is run annually at Flemington Racecourse, and the city hosts a Formula One Grand Prix race. Melbourne was the site of the 1956 summer Olympic games.
There were 736 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.78.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 21.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,757, and the median income for a family was $31,900. Males had a median income of $23,529 versus $18,264 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,110. About 14.5% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 21.9% of those age 65 or over.