Named after the then British Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, the heart of our city is well laid out in a grid with wide streets fitting cars alongside trams. This is a testimony to the work of planners in 1837. The city soon thrived in the 1850’s as a result of the gold rush in Ballarat. Revelation 21:21 tells us of another well planned city with streets of gold, of twelve gates made of solid pearls and much more. Such exquisite beauty comes at a price. Instead of taking from the local Aboriginals, John Batman and a group of businessmen bought 243,000 ha of land from them to found Melbourne in 1835. Was what he paid a true reflection of what the land was worth? For God to populate the celestial city, He had to pay the price with the precious blood of His Son (1 Peter 1:16). Amazing grace! How sweet the sound!
Standing on Swanston Street and looking south you’ll have an unhindered view of the Shrine of Remembrance. The main feature of the Shrine is a marble slab sunk low where all visitors can read these words, “Greater love hath no man”. These words are taken straight from the Bible for a reason (John 15:13). Many years before, Jesus Christ laid down His life for His friends. Just think; God thinks of us as ‘friends’. Melbourne planners make every effort to protect the vista to the Shrine; a monument of love. We hope you will appreciate it as we try to give you a view of the greatest love; found in God’s heart. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” John 3:16.
Federation Square is built to hold large crowds at major events in Melbourne. The architects designed some of these unusual buildings with no vertical or horizontal lines. What God did, at the junction of the ages was to draw attention to His Son and His unique and unusual death. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32) and this tells us how He would be elevated on a cross. “Now once in the end of the age has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Can you appreciate that His death wasn’t accidental, or just an event? It was the major event of the ages and it was to deal with our sin.
Much debate has been stimulated in Victoria about Ned Kelly. Some think he was a national hero, but the law judged him as a criminal. Glenrowan, 200 kms north of Melbourne is the town where the law caught up with Ned Kelly and he was executed on 11th November 1880 in Melbourne Gaol. There in The Old Melbourne Gaol you’ll find artefacts of history recording that grim period in Victoria’s history. We spoke earlier of Christ coming at the end of the age to deal with sin. However, if we ignore the consequence of sin, the Bible reminds us, “ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). Such was the case with respect to Ned Kelly. Shortly before his death he was reported to have said, “Such is life”. It doesn’t seem like he gave serious thought to where his soul was heading.
On what are you resting on for the great eternity? Melbourne’s Observation Deck is in the Rialto, the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere and stands on 75 huge concrete footings attached to rock 20m below the ground. If you ever have the opportunity to park in the basement of the Rialto you’ll see how tight it is for car parking spaces. That’s because of the strong emphasis the engineers gave to the foundations of the Rialto. Is your eternal security built on a firm foundation?
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand
We are powerless to save ourselves for “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” (Job 14:4). If that is so, what can we do? Young Melbournians love to visit Healesville Sanctuary nestled in the foothills of the Yarra Ranges, and renowned for its hospitality to injured, weakened animals. The animal carers look after the victims they work with, and so you too should understand how Jesus Christ provides shelter to weak sinners. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Our little tour of Melbourne is over. Your road to heaven begins when you place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who alone has the ability to pilot you to the safety of heaven. Just like the Port Phillip Sea Pilots who provide a safe pilotage service to guide ships through The Rip and bring these ships safely to harbour. Melbourne has some stately mansions from the 19th century, including Werribee Park mansion, which although superbly restored, will not remain forever. God’s mansions are eternal. “In my Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself” (John 14:2).
Victoria—the place to be … and is not Heaven better? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).