Overview of the Central City

The central city, sometimes referred to as the CBD, or the Hoddle Grid, is the heart of Melbourne and the economic and cultural capital of Victoria. Laid out in 1837, it encompasses the area from the Yarra River Birrarung to Victoria Street, and Spencer Street to Spring Street.

The central city is the centre of the highest density of jobs and activity in Victoria, where over 900,000* people come to live, work and visit every day.

It is home to Melbourne’s famed laneways, arcades and café culture, a distinct blend of contemporary and Victorian architecture and a diversity of events, shopping, dining, and nightlife. It is a truly mixed use area with a number of different character areas within it, including the Little Bourke Street Chinatown precinct.

Many of Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks are located here, including the State Library of Victoria and Federation Square, Melbourne’s major public square and cultural events space, situated opposite Flinders Street Station, the centre of Melbourne’s public transport network.

*based on pre-covid data

Central City in the City of Melbourne

Features of the Central City

Buildings

Population: Residential 37,112; number of businesses 9,444.

Data was sourced from the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing. To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Guide to Census data

People infographics

Residents: Age (median years) 26.3; youth (12-25 years) 47%.

People infographics

Residents: Older (60+ years) 4%; born overseas 74%.

Language infographics

Residents: Main overseas country of birth: China 25%; speaks a language other than English (LOTE) at home 67%.

Learning infographics

Residents: Main non-English language spoken: Mandarin 31%; attending a tertiary education instituation 39%.

Work infographics

Residents: Main occupation - professionals 37%; main work travel method: tram 37%.

Data was sourced from the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing. To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Guide to Census data

House infographics

Households: Occupied private dwellings 16,205; average household size (persons) 2; weekly household income (median) $979.

Money infographics

Households: Low income households (less than $650 p.w.) 37%; high income households (more than $2,500 p.w.) 13%.

Living infographics

Households: Family households 35%; lone person households 37%.

House infographics

Households: Renting 70%; living in a flat or apartment 98%.

Data was sourced from the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing. To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Guide to Census data

Employment infographics

Top three employment types: Business Services 53,510 22.2%; Finance and Insurance 38,046 15.8%; Public Administration and Safety 27,680 11.5%.

Data was sourced from the 2019 City of Melbourne Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE). To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE)

Calendar infographics

Jobs by status: Full time 165,126 68.7%; part time 30,571 12.7%.

Calendar infographics

Jobs by status: Casual 25,152 10.5%; contract 19,604 8.1%.

Data was sourced from the 2019 City of Melbourne Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE). To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE)

Office infographics

Land use (Percentage of total neighbourhood – list not exhaustive): Office 24%; Residential Accommodation 14%; Parking - Commercial and Private 11.7%.

Entertainment infographics

Land use: Public Open Space 0.5%; Sports and Recreation - Outdoor 0%; Indoor Entertainment 3.3%.

Entertainment infographics

Land use: Retail 3.5%; Commercial Accommodation 4.5%; Educational/Research 3.2%.

Entertainment infographics

Land use: Storage/Wholesale 0.7%; Performances, Conferences, Ceremonies 1.2%.

Data was sourced from the 2019 City of Melbourne Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE). To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE)

Building infographics

Development activity (major new commercial and residential property development): Developments 24; Residential dwellings 7,090; Student accommodation 2,544; Hotel/serviced apartments 2,729.

Building infographics

Development activity: Developments 107; Residential dwellings 11,380; Student accommodation 4,569; Hotel/serviced apartments 6,999.

Building infographics

Development activity: Office space 107,423; Retail space 20,254.

Building infographics

Development activity: Office space 383,674; Retail space 70,228.

Data was sourced from the November 2020 City of Melbourne’s Development Activity Monitor (DAM). To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Development Activity

Services in the Central City

Community Facilities and Local Amenities (list not exhaustive)
  • Genius Childcare
  • Goodstart Childcare
  • Guardian Early Learning Centre Collins St Kids On Collins
  • Little Stars At Bourke Children Centre Melbourne City Childcare and Kindergarten Melbourne City Child Care Centre
  • Only About Children
  • QV Children’s Centre
  • Australian Catholic University
  • La Trobe University
  • RMIT University
  • Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • The Australian National University
  • Vic Institute of Business
  • Victoria University
  • City Cite
  • Eltham College of Education City Campus
  • Centre for Adult Education
  • Chisholm Institute
  • Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Southern Cross University
  • Victoria University
  • Victoria University of Technology
  • William Angliss Tourism & Hospitality Training Centre
  • Caroline Chisholm Library Incorporated City Library
  • Swanston Library
  • The Melbourne Athenaeum Library
  • Melbourne Visitor Centre
  • Melbourne Visitor Hub
  • Multicultural Hub
  • Melbourne Town Hall
  • Drill Hall
  • Sea Life Aquarium
  • ANZ Banking Museum
  • Chapter House Lane
  • Chinese Museum
  • First Site Gallery
  • Hellenic Museum
  • Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia
  • Immigration Museum
  • Magnet Galleries Melbourne Inc
  • Mailbox Art Space
  • NGV Studio
  • Old Melbourne Gaol Crime & Justice Experience RMIT Gallery
  • Top Arts
  • West Space Inc
  • Working Heritage
  • Australian Centre For The Moving Image (ACMI) Princess Theatre
  • Athenaeum Theatre
  • Comedy Theatre
  • The Edge
  • Forum Theatre
  • Her Majesty’s Theatre
  • Open House Melbourne Inc
  • Regent Theatre
  • Victorian Opera
  • Zinc at Federation Square
  • Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Victoria Police - Bourke Street
  • Victoria Police - Kiosk Flinders Street
  • Victoria Police - Spencer Street
  • Aim Health Medical Centre
  • CBD Doctors Melbourne
  • Chase Medical Centre
  • City Medical
  • CoHealth community health service
  • Collins GP
  • Collins Place Medical Clinic
  • Collins Street Medical Centre
  • Emporium Melbourne Medical Centre
  • Galleria Medical Centre
  • Little Bourke St Medical Clinic
  • Medical One Pty Ltd
  • Melbourne City Medical Centre
  • Mid-Town Medical Clinic
  • My Clinic Bourke St Mall
  • MyClinic Melbourne
  • Paramount Medical Clinic
  • SMG Health
  • Sonic Health
  • Swanston Street Medical Centre
  • The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre
  • The Town Medical Centre
  • William Street Clinic
  • Batman Park
  • Common Reserve
  • Customs Square
  • Enterprize Park
  • La Trobe and Exhibition Street Reserve Merritts Place Reserve
  • Flagstaff train station
  • Melbourne central train station
  • Parliament station
  • Flinders Street Station
  • Bus routes 200, 207, 216, 220, 232, 234, 235, 236, 237, 250, 251, 302, 303, 304, 305, 309, 318, 350, 546, 603, 604, 605, 684, 905, 906, 941, 944, 945, 951, 952, 955, 961, 966, 969
  • Skybus - airport link
  • Tram routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 16, 19, 30, 35, 48, 57, 58, 59, 64, 67, 70, 72, 75, 86, 96, 109 and City circle

Data was sourced from the 2019 City of Melbourne Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE). To learn more about this data, including definitions, visit: Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE)

Investments in the Central City

  • Enterprize Park
  • Hardware Lane streetscape improvements
  • Melbourne Town Hall ground floor refurbishment works, including a new Customer Service Centre
  • Smoke Free Areas
  • Riverslide Skate Park
  • Queen Victoria Market Renewal
  • City Baths refurbishment works
  • A new park off Market Street
  • Elizabeth Street - design and construction of streetscape improvements
  • Improved pedestrian priority in Little Streets
  • New protected bike lanes along Exhibition Street
  • Cycle infrastructure - new bike lanes

Further information

Please note: this profile contains information that was collected prior to the COVID-19 event and may not represent the current situation. The information does, however, provide a baseline which shows where the population was at the time it was collected. Refer to each category to see the source of the data and when the information presented was collected.

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