Fitzroy is Melbourne’s first and smallest suburb (or neighbourhood or borough, as suburbs are called in some cities around the world), and is where Melbourne meets Williamsburg. Yes, Fitzroy is the hipster heartland of Melbourne.
Melbourne is full of very distinct neighbourhoods, each offering up something to appeal to someone. Fitzroy was a run down, former industrial suburb full of social housing blocks and drug fuelled violence, Fitzroy has completely transformed over the past decade to become “the spot” for the trendy Melburnian who want a bit of grit-lite in their lives. The suburb has already gentrified to a large extent, with property values being high enough to make buying in the area out of the reach of the very artists and creative types that kicked off the area’s resurgence in the first place.
Former grungy bars, with the occasional fight, have now become expensive restaurants serving amazing food that those living in the council blocks across the road could never hope to afford. A recent article in one of Melbourne’s newspapers, The Age, even stated that the government is considering knocking down the council towers and replacing them with something “nicer” and more diverse – i.e. less social housing and more retail space for boutiques and cafes.
The gentrification of Fitzroy therefore shows non signs of abating. Some would argue that the suburb has been ruined, others would argue that it’s only getting better. Is Fitzroy, today, a great suburb to visit and hang out in? Yes. There’s great food, great bars, great little shops, and a great vibe. Was it better before? I don’t know. Will it be better or worse in the future? Who knows.
My fiancée needed to grab some supplies for the wedding invitation she is making, so we stopped in Brunswick Street, which is in the heart of Fitzroy, for about 10 minutes. I will take a more focused look at Fitzroy in a future post, but for enjoy my 10 minute tour of the suburb.
I wanted to take more photos of people, and Fitzroy generally offers up plenty of opportunities to take photos of all sorts of characters. Unfortunately, at 11 am on a weekday, the streets were rather quiet. One thing that Melbourne unfortunately lacks outside of the CBD is that constant transient tourist population that keeps areas such as this really alive outside of standard recreational hours.
One of the many famous Melbourne trams that buzz around the city and its inner suburbs.
It wouldn’t be a hipster heartland without the ubiquitous fixie. These bikes are all over the place in Fitzroy.
There are lots of little popup cafes and markets dotted down the side streets of Fitzroy.
There are also lots of laneways, strewn with a combination of amazing street art and not so amazing tagging. Most are safe, some are not.