|Owner:||United Federation of Planets|
The Melbourne was one of three ships docked at Starbase 74 during the USS Enterprise-D's upgrade there in 2364. When the Enterprise was hijacked by a group of Bynars, the Melbourne was unable to pursue due to her repair status. The station's CO, Orfil Quinteros, initiated a rush repair schedule to get the vessel ready for pursuit, but the situation was resolved before the Melbourne was flight-ready. (TNG: "11001001")
In late 2366, William Riker was offered the command of the Melbourne. While Jean-Luc Picard described her as "a fine ship," Riker decided not to pursue the commission at that time, choosing instead to remain aboard the Enterprise-D. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Soon after, the Melbourne formed part of the forty-strong Federation task force that stood against an invading Borg cube at the Battle of Wolf 359. Early in the battle, it and the Saratoga engaged the cube, but its shields were quickly drained, and had half its saucer blown away by a cutting beam. The burning, lifeless hulk was then rammed by the cube as it pursued the Saratoga. Lieutenant Gregory Bergan was among the Melbourne's crew at that time, it is unknown if he survived the battle. (DS9: "Emissary"; VOY: "Unity", "Infinite Regress")
Never the less, When the Enterprise-D arrived in the system a few hours later, enough of the wreck survived intact and was one of the vessels recognized by Commander Shelby. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
|USS Berlin • USS Cairo • USS Charleston • USS Crazy Horse • USS Enterprise-B • USS Excelsior • USS Farragut • USS Fearless • USS Fredrickson • USS Gorkon • USS Hood • USS Intrepid • USS Lakota • USS Malinche • USS Melbourne • USS Potemkin • USS Repulse • USS Valley Forge • Unnamed|
While on-screen evidence provided a full-on glimpse of the Excelsior-class Melbourne in action, the Star Trek Encyclopedia later revealed that "there were actually two Starships Melbourne [...] the first was a Nebula-class model, barely glimpsed as a wrecked hulk in the spaceship graveyard from "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" (TNG). When the scene was redone three years later in "Emissary" (DS9), a decision was made to instead use the more detailed USS Excelsior model originally built for Star Trek III. Both models were given the same Starfleet registry number but since the Excelsior version was seen fairly clearly on screen, and the Nebula version was not seen well, we now assume that the Melbourne "really" was an Excelsior-class ship."
In a later interview, Michael Okuda revealed that "Ed [Miarecki] made us two nearly-identical Melbourne models. I destroyed one of them to create a battle-damaged ship for BOBW2. Rick Sternbach helped with the battle damage, too. And Greg Jein contributed quite a bit of wreckage as well. The other Nebula model ended up on one of the side tables in Sisko's office in DS9. I think it was labeled "Melbourne", too."  
Appearances of the initial model were featured as the wreckage that appeared at Wolf 359 in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", at the Surplus Depot Z15 in "Unification II", and again in Wolf 359 in "Emissary". The second Nebula-class model was seen as a desktop display in "Future Imperfect" and "The Wounded". It later appeared as a desktop display in several Deep Space 9 episodes, most prominently in "The Way of the Warrior" and "'Til Death Do Us Part".
The TNG short story "Trust Yourself When All Men Doubt You" in The Sky's the Limit establishes that the Nebula-class Melbourne was in fact under construction and intended to replace the Excelsior-class Melbourne. The Nebula-class Melbourne was the ship offered to Commander Riker. The Nebula-class Melbourne was launched early when the Borg attacked, and both ships were lost at Wolf 359.
Footage of the Excelsior-class Melbourne's destruction is used to depict the destruction of the USS Righteous in the game Star Trek: Borg.