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Victoria is a state located in the south-eastern corner of Australia. It is the smallest mainland state in area, but the most densely populated and urbanised. Victoria shares borders with New South Wales to the north, South Australia to the west, over the Tasman Sea towards the east, New Zealand, and across Bass Strait to the south, Tasmania

Victoria began in the 1830s as a farming community when the Hentys settled at Portland, Melbourne being founded soon after. With the discovery of gold in 1851 and Victorian independence from New South Wales, it was transformed into a leading industrial and commercial centre of the nation. In 1901, it became a part of the Commonwealth of Australia. Melbourne became the economic centre of both Australia and neighbour New Zealand at the time.

The Victorian economy is the second largest in Australia, accounting for a quarter of the nation's gross domestic product. The total gross state product at current prices for Victoria was at just over A$222 billion, with a GSP per capita of A$44,443. The economy grew by 3.4% in 2004, less than the Australian average of 5.2%. Finance, insurance and property services form Victoria's largest income producing sector, while the community, social and personal services sector is the state's biggest employer. Despite the shift towards service industries, the troubled manufacturing sector remains Victoria's single largest employer and income producer.

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Crowded House performing at Hyde Park, London, in June 2007
Crowded House is a rock and pop group formed in Melbourne, Australia, and led by New Zealand musician and singer-songwriter Neil Finn. Finn is widely recognised as the primary songwriter and creative direction of the band, having led it through several incarnations, drawing members from New Zealand (Neil Finn, Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner), Australia (Paul Hester, Nick Seymour, Peter Jones and Craig Hooper) and United States (Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod).

Though the band owes its original success to the Australian live music scene, references to New Zealand people and places in songs pay homage to their roots ("Kare Kare" is written about Karekare Beach, "Mean to Me" refers to Finn's hometown of Te Awamutu). The success of the group's third album Woodface and the general success of Crowded House and Split Enz prompted Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth in June 1993 to bestow the Order of the British Empire on both Tim and Neil Finn for their contribution to the music of New Zealand.

Originally active between 1985 and 1996, the band's notable hits from this period include "Don't Dream It's Over", "Something So Strong", "Better Be Home Soon", "Fall at Your Feet" and "Weather with You". In 2007, the group reunited with a new drummer. In this period, the group has released one album, Time on Earth, which reached #1 on Australia's ARIA Albums Chart.

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Police mounted on horses
Credit: Mriya

Victoria Police is the primary law enforcement agency of Victoria, Australia. As of 2011, the Victoria Police had over 15,000 personnel along with over 2,900 civilian staff across 393 police stations. Pictured above are police officers mounted on horses patrolling Flinders Street station in Melbourne.

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Minogue at the Cannes Film Festival 2008.
Kylie Minogue, OBE, is an Australian Grammy and Brit award-winning pop singer, songwriter and actress. Minogue rose to prominence in the late 1980s through her role in the Australian television soap opera Neighbours, before she commenced her career as a pop artist in the late '80s. Signed to a contract by British songwriters and producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman in 1988, she achieved a string of hit records throughout the world.

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Boinka, Victoria



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