Multifaceted Melbourne

Interesting things to see and do ::: by the full time MBA students of Melbourne Business School

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Faces of Footscray

Faces of Footscray

A stone’s throw away from Melbourne, Footscray has been a Gateway to Melbourne for new immigrants.

Footscray is a collage of immigrant cultures fused together, characterised by various immigration waves over several decades. Starting from Italian and Yugoslavian migrants — and then post-Vietnam war — Footscray experienced a large influx of Vietnamese immigrants. Today, Footscray has a large Vietnamese population, with an increasing African migrant population.

It’s easy to be led astray in Footscray – with authentic Vietnamese, Chinese, and African cuisines, and exotic shops.


How to get there

So close to the city, yet so completely different to any other suburbs within a 5km radius, Footscray offers a fascinating insight into the evolution of Melbourne, and the waves of immigrants who have contributed to the diverse fabric of Melbourne life.

Melbourne view 2


Jump on the Sunbury, Werribee or Williamstown line train from anywhere on the city loop to Footscray station – it takes a mere 10 minutes. Head North along the overpass, and voila – you will find yourself exploring the many faces of Footscray – the landing point for many of Melbourne’s diverse immigrants.

Nestled on the Maribyrnong river (Melbourne’s ‘other’ river), sits the city of Footscray. It’s an easy wander around the relatively densely packed city – stick to the centre, bordered by the river, Hopkins St, Barkly St, and Irving St, and you won’t miss a thing.


Post-World War Two Mass Migration: Making new homes away in Footscray

Nick’s Olympic Doughnuts

Start your tour immediately next to the train station at Olympic Doughnuts. Nestled amongst the ongoing revamp of Footscray station and the surrounding regional rail link redevelopment, Olympic doughnuts is a true Footscray institution.

Olympic doughnuts

Nick’s family arrived in the post-world war two years, and they have been manning this doughnut stand ever since – and you can certainly tell once you bite into the crispy and soft, jam filled dough.


Italian migration: Cavallero and Sons Pasticceria

Tommaso and his wife Sarina Cavallero opened their Footscray sweet store in 1956, importing traditional Sicilian recipes, which are still made by hand the same way today. Tommaso’s son, Carmelo, and his wife Serafina now run the store, and they haven’t changed a thing. Fresh cannoli – made to order – are their speciality, and once you try one, you’ll know why!

Cavallero and Sons

Storefront on Hopkins Street


Nillo and Serafina



Franco Cozzo furniture store

Most Melburnians present during the 1980s and 1990s will recognise the name, and the man – ‘Franco Cozzo’ – from legendary TV advertising. In fact, the same ad, featuring Franco himself, was used for 20 years and can still be found on You Tube if you’re interested!

Rumours abound that the imported furniture had a little more ‘stuffing’ than usual, but to most Franco was a hardworking, generous man, who migrated with his young family during the 1950s – a success story for ‘new Australians’ everywhere.

The store is not really worth visiting – unless you’re in the market for some out-dated Italianate furniture – but a wander past the deteriorating store offers a glimpse into the lives of some of Melbourne’s most hard working immigrants. Who knows what this site will hold in a decade or so?

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Conways: Melbourne’s Fish Distributor

If you feel like some seafood for dinner, you must stop by Conways – these guys are the seafood experts of the Western suburbs. Established in 1960 by Con Goulas, and his son Dimitrios, Conway Fish Trading is a major distributor of fresh and frozen fish and seafood products.

Fish floor - Conways

Whole baked fish, octopus, oysters, or whatever takes your fancy, they are more than happy to talk you through a recipe and teach you how to cook your chosen fish.

You can’t miss their sea floor entrance, and the characteristic mural on the Western wall – a must see.

Conways muralConways Fish Trading

Growing prosperity – moving to bigger homes

It’s no doubt Footscray is changing – many of the Italians, Greeks, Macdeonians, and Yugoslavs who arrived in the post-world war two era have moved to greener pastures as their hard work has paid off. Prahran, Avondale Heights, Werribee, and Carlton, to name a few suburbs, have been fortunate to have become homes to the second and third generations, who have enriched those suburbs, just as their parents and grandparents contributed to the flavour and story of Footscray back in the 1950s.

This really could be somewhere in Italy...

This really could be somewhere in Italy…

Little Saigon: a touch of Asia

Vietnamese migrants began arriving in Australia in greater numbers as a result of the Vietnam War in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Many of these migrants settled in Melbourne, and Footscray is home to a large Vietnamese community.

Vietnamese operate a variety of businesses throughout the main shopping district of Footscray, including bakeries, groceries, as well as arts and craft.

Footscray’s ‘Little Saigon Market’ provides a taste of Vietnam, with live crabs, green padan cake, Asian green vegetables as well as pigs tails and trotters.  The market is a great place to visit if you are interested in sourcing exotic items and cheap produce and is very popular amongst the local Vietnamese community.

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In the heart of Footscray is an antique business that imports traditional Vietnamese furniture and pottery. This business is run by a father and his son who moved to Australia from Vietnam 15 years ago.  They import a lot of their goods from Vietnam, which supplies the “best quality wood in the world”.  Their pottery is also imported from villages in Vietnam where the people are trained from a young age to be masters in the art.


In more recent years, the Vietnamese community in Footscray has been reducing as the people are moving further out to suburbs such as Sunshine, where greater money can be made.


21st Century migration: Aromas from Africa

If you’ve had enough of European cuisine and American fast food from the CBD, you could try out some traditional fare from the Northern and Eastern Africa. A popular suburb for immigrants from these regions, Footscray offers quite a number of authentic African restaurants and coffee shops. Walk along the streets around Footscray market and along Barkly Street and you will come across “African Town”, the “Selam Authentic” and the “Cafe d’Afrique”

1MenuAT poster

One such place is the Shebelle Bar and Restaurant at 241 Barkly Street. The owner and professionally trained head chef, Sheto, has been serving Ethiopian and Morrocan dishes prepared using traditional recipies. He is friendly and quite open to some chit chat. “We have customers from Australia, Asia as well as Africa. We also have a live African band on Saturday nights.” Out of a 3 page menu, the most popular dish here appears to be the “Harissa Chicken”, prepared in a Morrocan sauce. You can try it with some Ethiopian beer.

Restaurant seatingMenu page 1

Footscray’s underside

Drugs, Graffiti and Art! Be it association, correlation or causation, all three were found to be more than thriving in the lanes of Footscray!

From a (clockwise from top left) Beetle beached on an island, a decorative piece of art, to a soccer player ‘netting’ a goal that would put some premier league teams to shame, all show an artistic side of the diverse community.


Footscray has more than its fair share of ‘Art Crimes’ on its walls. Graffiti artifacts are managed and displayed like an art gallery with provisions for avid art lovers to sit and admire the art ….

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… or may be to come up with a masterpiece by themselves!


As a package deal, drugs can be solicited under the shades and emergency services are available just round the corner in case something goes wrong. And if the wrong could not be made right, ‘requiescat in pace’ would bless you forever.


Gentrification of Footscray

Only ten minutes from Melbourne CBD and house prices at just under $1M, Footscray is placed to be the next big thing in affordability for Melbourne’s inner city yuppies. Scatterings of beamers amidst newly minted high rise apartments and millions injected by the local government and private investors leaves one to wonder about what the future holds for this suburb.


Will it uphold it’s long tradition of being a stepping stone for the next wave of hopeful immigrants looking for prosperity or to the regret of its proud multicultural residents, will it become the next Port Melbourne?

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Artistic Views in the Streets of Fitzroy

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Fitzroy is a mecca for street artists in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs.  Unfortunately for tourists, these artworks are not concentrated in one place but are scattered throughout the laneway’s criss-crossing between Brunswick and Smith Streets.  Those willing spend some time wandering through these quiet residential streets will be rewarded by a rich and diverse collection of street art created by crews of local artists.

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Some of the themes found on the walls are rooted in Australian folklore such as the infamous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly or stencils of the archetypal 1960’s brick cottages that litter the area.

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Some walls feature murals of indigenous Australians, a reflection of the local indigenous community in the area.  On the other hand, some of it is just plain weird (see the photo of the bald guy with the cat on his shoulder).

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“Some of the walls are free-for-alls where local crews will put stuff up.  If it’s any good, other artists will leave it there out of respect” said Lizzie who worked in one of the local paint stores.  “Sometimes local pubs or stores will provide paint to the art crews to paint over the tags and other rubbish on the walls.”

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Stacey, another local we met while touring Fitzroy’s laneways, said “the walk is brilliant, thanks. It helped that it was a beautiful sunny morning – it gave me a skip in my step!”  Stacey was drawn to the street art of Melbourne, because she was fascinated by the creativity and freedom of the artists.  She thinks it is a fantastic way for the public to enjoy the artwork of many Melbourne artists.

“It is great to see the artistic freedom which the city of Melbourne allows them to have.”

Though the works of the artists are impressive and obvious to see as you meander through the alleyways and streets of Fitzroy; very rarely will you actually see the masters at work.


For all Fitzroy locals they never have to deal with bland walls of boring buildings.  They are decorated with colorful displays of artistic expression.  The street art of Fitzroy is a very normal and expected part of the suburb.  Though many people find the artwork breath-taking and amazing, it is just a way of life.


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Flying the Waves of St. Kilda

Think sport. Think Australia.

Extreme Adventure Sports Australia

Extreme Adventure Sports Australia

Sport is a fundamental part of Australian culture. Melbourne, the sporting capital of the country, hosts an array of sporting events such as Formula 1, Australian Open, Melbourne Cup and Australian Football league. We wanted to find the most exhilarating sporting experience in the country, which is when we came across Kiteboarding.

Kiteboarding by the city

Kiteboarding by the city

What is Kiteboarding? Think of a sport that allows you to roam the surface of the ocean and use the wind to launch off the waves. It literally involves strapping a board to your feet and holding a kite to leverage the sea breeze. It’s a bit like flying a kite, only in this case, the kite is flying you. To cut a long story short, kiteboarding combines aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one (seriously cool) sport.

Kiteboarding enthusiast

Kiteboarding enthusiast

St. Kilda beach has always been a great way to escape the clamor and commotion of the city. Experienced boarders often refer to the beach as Kite Paradise.

A Kiteboarding paradise

A Kiteboarding paradise

We interviewed a passionate local kiteboarder, who informed us that Melbourne is one of the only kiteboarding locations in the world that provides the benefit of proximity to a city. Another great aspect of a good kiteboarding beach is a shallow one, and St. Kilda possesses these characteristics.

One can learn the basics in just 5 hours (although it takes a lot more effort to gain the skill of launching off the waves!). It’s a good idea to reach early because too many kites in the water can be dangerous. The wind direction is an important aspect in that it should be in the direction of the beach as a safety measure.

Experienced boarders often define the experience as surreal, mainly due to the natural aspect. This also gives it an edge over its sister sport, wakeboarding, which allows boarders to attach themselves to a boat rather than a kite.

Kiteboarding in St. Kilda

Kiteboarding in St. Kilda

Price Range: Approximately $90- for 1 hour up to $360- for 5 hours (includes gear)

Personal or shared lessons are available for novices as well as experts

Local companies to check out:

  • The zu
  • Go kite
  • Melbourne kiteboarding
  • Kite republic
Kiteboarding Lesson Shacks

Kiteboarding Lesson Shacks

Authored By: Syndicate 6

  • Amanda “the Birthday Girl” Griman
  • Cheryl Tan
  • Divyan Salotra
  • Nischinth “the Niz” Chirla
  • Jenson Mader
  • Andrew Hale

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Thinking outside the square




A View From The Park Bench

Upon this old familiar bench
From which I’ve spent a time or two,
Just gazing at the sky above
And watching chestnut trees,
Which change throughout the seasons
Now their copper leaves do fall,
Which gather on this stony path
And tossed upon the breeze.

Upon this bench so old and worn
That’s scrawled and etched on every slat,
And smeared with food from yesterday
Yet still to me so kind,
For here within my solitude
Away from all the toil and spite,
I’ll take my time to look around
While others seem so blind.

–       Andrew Blakemore

A visitor to Melbourne who picks up a tourist guide is likely to encounter the usual sightseeing destinations: Eureka Tower, Victoria Market, Federation Square, Melbourne Cemetery, Royal Botanic Gardens etc..  However, there is another side of Melbourne that is often overlooked in such guides.  For locals looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life – whether for a brief moment or for a few hours – there is a myriad of small green leafy parks which provide perfect refuge.  While these small patches of greenery may on the surface seem very ordinary, many in fact harbour interesting secrets.  One such place is University Square – a small patch of parkland in Carlton.

At first glance, it would seem there is nothing special about the place.  Apart from a few tree-lined pathways and park benches, its location means it is often nothing more than a thoroughfare – a place of transience. But dig deeper and its charm begins to reveal itself.  It is at once draped in history and connected to the future.  A curious mixture of the new and old can be found not only within the parkland itself, but also all around – in the four rows of architecture that line the bounds of the square.  University Square – like many other small parklands in Melbourne, represents a surprising window to this complex and wonderful cosmopolitan city.  For the traveller who prefers an unusual approach to touring Melbourne, places like University Square provide a keystone – a gateway to the authentic Melbourne.

History (or, what is this place?)

Built between 1892 and 1900, the square was known as Barry Square until 1998 when it was renamed University Square by The University of Melbourne. The original name was in honour of Daniel Joseph Barry, a private in the 7 Machine Gun Company, who was killed in action in World War 1 on 3 October 1918.

At the southern end of the square is a drinking fountain of no great beauty. Nevertheless, it has its own story to tell.  It was dedicated to Thomas Ferguson, who from 1868 to 1904 was the secretary of the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society, a society formed in 1842 to discourage use of opium and alcohol.  This somewhat modest-looking fountain was originally positioned in Russell Street and had reached a towering height of six metres.  However, after it was hit and damaged by a truck in 1947, it was downsized and relocated to the current site.

On its four sides, University Square is flanked by neat rows of original 19th century Victorian terrace houses as well as some unusually-shaped modern architecture.  The stark contrast between the old and the new is what makes Melbourne so special: the past flows into the future in a seemingly effortless fashion – much like a living record of history.  For most Melbournians, the sight of modern high-rise towering over 19th-century terrace houses is a normal part of every-day life.  The past and the present coexist in harmony, in perfect continuity.

A Networking Hub (or, who are these people?)

Games of soccer and Frisbee are common in the square, which is also a popular lunch destination. But more interesting than what happens in the park is “who are these people?”  On any day the park is populated with interesting people, of diverse backgrounds and experiences.  Situated in the vicinity of The University of Melbourne, the park is frequented by academics and students alike.  In our brief sojourn around the area, we met undergraduate and postgraduate students studying commerce, mechanical engineering, physiotherapy, and law.  People are more than happy to sit and chat for a while and it is no stretch to suggest that the square exudes its own culture.

Transport (or, where should I go now?)

There are no less than five forms of transport servicing the square. The first two transport options being:

  • Greenshare car: Two car spaces are reserved for the Greenshare car scheme. Whether or not you will find cars there is a matter of luck, but these “pay and go” hire cars offer the opportunity to get around town at your own leisure.
  • Carpark: The north end of the square is in fact the roof of the central Melbourne University car park, conceived in 1970 and completed only two years later.  The car-parking in the centre of Leicester Street is also one of the cheapest around Melbourne, costing no more than 60 cents an hour.

But why drive at all? Indeed this would not be in line with the “gateway” approach to touring.  Instead, let the city guide you with any of these options:

  • Bicycles: At the north end of the square is a rack of Melbourne bike share bicycles. The bike share scheme extends around all points of the city and can cost only a few dollars a day.
  • Free tourist shuttle: A must-do ride to see some of the major tourist attractions in the city.
  • Buses: Footscray and North Melbourne. For the less traditional tourists, hopping on a local bus can provide great insight into the people and places that make up the “real” city, from Footscray’s bustling market to North Melbourne’s cafes and unique shops.

* * *

The theme of “keystone” touring is quite simply to stop and observe.  Even something as simple as a thoroughfare can provide many hidden interests. What appears to be a small urban park not only has links to architectural and war history, but connects people with diverse experiences, and is a transport gateway to the entire city.  Taking this “keystone” approach, the tourist only needs to be guided by the city itself.  Instead of visiting the typical places cited in a guidebook, one follows the sights and sounds of the city and immerses in a world of wonders.

How to get there?

Meander along multicultural Sydney Road, Brunswick


Melbourne is famed for its multiculturalism and food.   Sydney Road, Brunswick (located approximately 5 km north of Melbourne’s CBD) is a melting pot of many different cultures and cuisines and Melbourne’s longest continuous shopping strip.

multicultural sydney rd

We recommend that you take public transport to the further reaches of Sydney Road, then meander back towards the City, stopping along the way for food, cakes, coffee and possibly even beer.  You can then hop back on a tram to the City when you are too full of food or your feet are too tired.


How to get there?


Following Sydney Road will eventually get you to Sydney, New South Wales, but we recommend that you stop off a little bit earlier.   You can check out the Public Transport Victoria Website to plan your trip, but we have included two popular options departing from Flinders Street Station, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

Tram (approximately 30 minutes from Flinders St Station)

The tram may take a bit longer, especially in traffic, but you get the opportunity to

From Flinders Street Station, take the Number 19 tram towards North Coburg from Stop 1 on Elizabeth Street.  Disembark at stop 26 and walk about 50 meters to the corner of Sydney Road and Albion Street.

Train (approximately 20 minutes from Flinders St Station)

From Flinders Street railway station, go to Platform 5 and take the train towards Upfield.  Get off at Anstey Railway Station.  From the stop, walk about 290 m to the corner of Sydney Road and Albion Street.



Near the corner of Albion Street and Sydney Road is the delicious Lebanese bakery, A1 Bakery .  This bakery sells a wide array of cheap sweet and savoury items. We recommend the Spinach and Feta Triangles ($4) and the baklava.


The food available on and off Sydney Road, Brunswick, represents nearly all of multicultural Melbourne, with Lebanese, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Afghani, Balinese, African, Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese food available.



Other places we recommend, that are worth visiting are:





Time required: Half a day

Nearby options to make a full day! Melbourne Zoo, Princes Park, or even a cemetery tour!

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A Hot Date In Melbourne

The following is our guide and tips for an authentic Melbourne date.

A classic Melbourne-style date begins with a picnic lunch in the park, in any of the many gorgeous parks in town. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to find a picturesque park, lay down a picnic mat and enjoy a relaxed afternoon in the shade. We recommend visiting the Carlton Gardens  located on Rathdowne Street.

lunch in parkpark old couple

For dessert, and the quintessential Carlton experience, visiting any of the many original Italian gelati shops on Lygon Street is a must. Out of the many flavors to be tasted we recommend the love-chocolate.

gelati gem&tuck gelati

Having had a good lunch and dessert, and to escape some of the summer heat, take a walk down the Melbourne Museum which is right next to the Carlton Gardens, for an unforgettable experience down history’s path.

museum museum two ppl

Neither would you want to miss out on the IMAX theatre experience; the third largest screen in the world. Be sure not to argue over which movie to watch though…


After the movie, a romantic stroll or swing, or both, through the neighbouring Carlton Gardens… Photos are only illustrative…

swings tim & inder

After a fun filled afternoon we suggest drinks. You can visit any of the little Italian places on Lygon street, or stop by the deli and impress your date with your culinary skills by designing your own tapas.

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Following these simple steps will assure you a wonderful time and a second date, if you wish…

Stay tuned for tips on second dates or how to lose a bad first date..