If Sydside is the heart of Australia, then Melbourne is the brain (or possibly the wallet). Home to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), Melbourne is a glossy, cosmopolitan city that oversees most of Australia’s financial transactions. Easily the richest city on Australia’s East Coast, MelbourneSprawl also features the biggest divide between the rich and the poor.
The ASX used to be based in Sydside, but in the aftermath of Sydney’s Mana Storms and independence fever, the Stock Exchange administrators sought to distance themselves from the danger of the time. In the wake of the crash of 2029, the ASX took the opportunity to rebuild in Melbourne, seeing the city as the most stable alternative. The corps soon followed.
Like other financial centres around the PacRim, Melbourne is a battleground between Japanacorps (represented by the PacRim Bank and Mitsuhama) and the Pacific Property Group (Wuxing, Yamatetsu, and the Malaysian Independent bank). The PPG currently has the upper hand, as Wuxing’s local subsidiary Anataeus Offshore Investment Corporation underwrites several of Australia’s major financial institutions, and Wuxing Financial Services owns majority shares in Australia’s Big 4 banks. Yamatetsu lures in the private accounts of Australia’s meta community through its control of National MetaBank. And the MIB secures support with generous financing and vetting local corporations for prospective entry into the PPG.
While the traditional city centre sits at the top of Port Phillip Bay, recent years have seen it transform from a collection of densely packed hi-rises, corporate enclaves, and a mix of shopping districts, to the mammoth it is today.
Recently, a new fully enclosed Arcology has opened up on the site of the Southbank district. Called the Bearbrass Arcology, it is a wonder of modern architecture and technology.
Melbourne in the Shadows
Between the shadows of the hi-rises, the Arcologies, and the corporate enclaves, thrives an underground for the SINless.
Taking up the space of the Old City Loop, is a packed market of legal, and semi legal stalls, shops, offices and even some coffin motels. Large enough to rival even Seattle’s Ork Underground, or Boston’s Undercity. The Loop is lightly patrolled by VicPol (usually only at certain locations) and regularly patrolled by Yakuza and Gang enforcers.
Each of the old underground stations houses certain attractions:
Melbourne Central houses a market for used or cost effective gear. Where once were four platforms are now two levels of market stalls and shadow clinics. The concourse also hosts currency exchange facilities and a number of street food vendors. There’s even a Stuffer Shack Xpress!
Flagstaff is a centre for bunraku parlours, and regulated BTL lounges. There is even an area for other recreational drugs to be found, as well as a coffin motel called Neumayer’s.
Parliament has become an upmarket lounge/entertainment area, for those upper class SINners who want to slum it A number of Fixers have offices in the old station. The Bourke is a watering hole frequented by Shadowrunners who maintain a corporate profile.