I decided to take a trip west, to a suburb of Melbourne shrugging off its rough image to find a new generation of people flocking there. Not only can you find diverse, authentic cuisines from around the world, there is a thriving art scene and along with the riverside green spaces and being only 15 minutes by train from the CBD, it makes Footscray a pretty exciting place to be.
Locals have known of the hidden gem that is Footscray for years, positioned in a prime spot just 15 minutes to the city, beaches, and airport. With regular trains, trams, and buses as well as scenic bike paths, there really is no need for a car here. The streets are lined with an array of shops and eateries to meet your every need.
Footscray Market stands firmly in the centre of things, thrusting you into a hive of activity. Live crabs stare back at you and pig’s heads hang from butcher’s hooks, the smells of fresh mangoes and exotic herbs draw you in and a week’s groceries can be done in a blink of an eye, for very little money.
"Each culture brings their own flavour to this neighbourhood creating an exotic and diverse community."
If its food you want to eat, Vietnamese is the obvious choice with Pho steaming and sweet treats glistening. Or why not try some African cuisine and sample a cup of Ethiopian roasted coffee. Each culture brings their own flavour to this neighbourhood creating an exotic and diverse community.
Walking away from the main high-streets, past interesting graffiti pieces, I head down towards the arts precinct and notice a huge change. The wide tree lined streets and old weatherboard houses, give a sense of quiet and calm. It gets even more picturesque as I hit the rail bridge at Moreland street which offers a fantastic view of Melbourne past the Maribyrnong river just below.
I have visited this area before at the annual St. Jeromes Laneway Festival but it’s great to appreciate it without the crowds! Centred around the Footscray Arts Centre there are gardens, a café and artist studios. With a gallery and auditorium, it offers the neighbourhood an exciting calendar of arts and events. Worth a mention is the impressive historical Edwardian designed Footscray Park just along the river from here.
It seems a transformation is taking place on the streets of Footscray, driven by the need for cheaper rent in Melbourne. Disused spaces are being revived and the streets are being cleaned up. The established communities give the suburb its vibrancy and personality to which the students and new demographic brought on by gentrification are all adding to. This working-class area with a high-density population, once tarnished by its high crime rate reputation is now an appealing suburb to live in and visit.
I encourage you to take the short journey west.
Words & Images by Netta Justice
A big thanks to Netta for exploring the neighbourhoods we couldn't reach ourselves! For more places within our cities, take a look at what we have in store! http://store.acitymadebypeople.com/store