Footscray, Victoria

Last updated

Footscray
Melbourne,  Victoria
The Footscray Hotel 2016.jpg
The Footscray Hotel on Hopkins Street
Australia Victoria metropolitan Melbourne location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Footscray
Location in metropolitan Melbourne
Coordinates 37°47′53″S144°53′56″E / 37.798°S 144.899°E / -37.798; 144.899 Coordinates: 37°47′53″S144°53′56″E / 37.798°S 144.899°E / -37.798; 144.899
Population16,345 (2016 census) [1]
 • Density3,300/km2 (8,500/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 3011
Area5 km2 (1.9 sq mi)
Location5 km (3 mi) from Melbourne
LGA(s) City of Maribyrnong
State electorate(s) Footscray
Federal Division(s)
Suburbs around Footscray:
Maidstone Maribyrnong Flemington
West Footscray Footscray West Melbourne
Kingsville Seddon Yarraville

Footscray is an inner-western suburb of Melbourne, Australia, 5 km from Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Maribyrnong. At the 2016 census, Footscray had a population of 16,345. [1]

Contents

Footscray is characterised by a very diverse, multicultural central shopping area, which reflects the successive waves of immigration experienced by Melbourne, and by Footscray in particular. Once a centre for Greek, Italian and former Yugoslavian migrants, it later became a hub for Vietnamese and East African immigrants in Melbourne. It has recently begun to undergo rapid development and gentrification, and Timeout Magazine placed Footscray at 13th in its '50 Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World' for 2019, reflecting its evolving reputation; citing in particular its diverse array of international cuisine, bars and nightlife, as well as its arts scene. [2]

Footscray is named after Foots Cray, on the River Cray in London, England. [3]

History

Photograph of a bridge over the Maribyrnong River, showing a man wearing a hat standing in middle of punt. The building on the hill in the background was known as Malakoff's Castle. Raleighs Punt. 5 Miles N.W. from Melbourne.tif
Photograph of a bridge over the Maribyrnong River, showing a man wearing a hat standing in middle of punt. The building on the hill in the background was known as Malakoff's Castle.

Footscray is part of the City of Maribyrnong and was built largely on the traditional lands of the Kulin nation. [4]

For thousands of years, Footscray was the meeting place of the lands of the Yalukit-willan, the Marin-balluk and the Wurundjeri. Koories stalked game, collected food and fished along the river junction, estuaries, swamps and lagoons. Within Melbourne's western region, the Marin-balug and Kurung-jand-balug clans of the Woiwurrung cultural group, and the Yalukit willam clan of the Boonwurrung cultural group shared the luscious resources around the Maribyrnong Valley. [5]

The first European to visit the area was Charles Grimes in 1803. A park, where he landed, is named after him at Napier St. [6]

In 1839 a punt was built on the Maribyrnong River, it was the only connecting link between Melbourne and Geelong, Ballarat, Castlemaine and Bendigo. The Punt Hotel opened three years later and was the first building in the area. During the first decade drovers transporting cattle and sheep provided the only business at the hotel. After 1851, when gold was discovered out west, the pub did a roaring trade with diggers. Part of the old pub still stands and it has been renamed The Pioneer. (Ref: Charlie Lovett's Footscray)

The Post Office first opened on 12 October 1857. [7]

Footscray was declared a municipality in 1859 with a population of 300 and 70 buildings. Around the same year the first bridge was built across Saltwater (now Maribyrnong) River. (Ref: Charlie Lovett's Footscray)

Between 1881 and 1891 Footscray's population more than tripled from almost 6,000 to 19,000. (Ref: Charlie Lovett's Footscray)

Footscray developed into an industrial zone in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the manufacturing industry beginning to decline in the 1960s and 70s. [6]

The Footscray Magistrates' Court closed on 1 February 1985. [8]

Looking east towards the City of Melbourne from Footscray Maribyrnong River Footscray 2021.jpg
Looking east towards the City of Melbourne from Footscray
Paisley Street in central Footscray FootscrayStreetscape2.jpg
Paisley Street in central Footscray

People

Railway Bridges and Maribyrnong River - Footscray 2020 Railway Bridge Footscray 2020.jpg
Railway Bridges and Maribyrnong River - Footscray 2020

Footscray was home to the Aboriginal Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung tribes of the Kulin nation. [9]

In 2011, Footscray's 13,193 residents [10] came from 135 countries. [11]

In 2006 less than half the population (41.1%) was born in Australia, [12] the main countries of overseas origin are Vietnam, China, India, United Kingdom and Italy. In the 21st Century, Maribyrnong of which Footscray is a part, saw a major increase in residents from Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, including a large proportion of refugees. [13]

Footscray has Victoria's fourth-highest proportion of residents born in South-East Asia (13.9%). [14]

The average person in Footscray is 33 years of age. [15]

Maribyrnong Council predicts a population boom will more than double Footscray resident numbers from 14,100 to 30,500 by 2031, requiring about 7000 new dwellings. [16]

Politics

Footscray falls within the federal electorate of Gellibrand (currently held by Tim Watts from the ALP) and the state electorate of Footscray (currently held by the ALP's Katie Hall), and the City of Maribyrnong at local level ( 2020 election: 3 Labor, 1 "Independent", 2 Green, 1 Socialist councillors). The suburb's historical voting patterns have been fairly typical of a working-class suburb with a high migrant population. Footscray is a very safe state ALP seat, 65% of the vote went to Labor at the 2014 State election. [17]

Consistent with other inner-city electorates in Melbourne, and other state capitals, voter support for the Australian Greens has increased in recent years; the Greens received 17 per cent of the primary vote in Footscray at the 2014 State Election. [17] One third of voters at the Central Footscray booth voted for the Australian Greens in the 2010 Federal election, almost doubling the Greens vote in one election cycle. [18]

At the Federal Election of 2010, the ALP won Gellibrand, which includes Footscray, with 59% of the vote. The Lib/Nat parties got 23%, whilst The Greens saw a swing of +6% with 15% of the vote. [19]

Janet Rice of The Greens was elected to Maribyrnong Council in 2003, re-elected in 2005 and then elected mayor in 2006. [20] Whilst Mayor, Janet had a Mayoral bike instead of a car. [21]

The first Vietnamese woman mayor was Mai Ho, from 1997 to 1998. [22] Mai Ho arrived in Australia in December 1982 with two small daughters and sixteen dollars. By 1997 she was Mayor of Maribyrnong. Twelve months later her daughter, Tan Le, was voted Young Australian of the Year. [23]

Food

In 2013, there were over 130 restaurants in Footscray, including; 30 Vietnamese, 20 Indian, 17 Chinese and several; African, Australian, Indonesian, Italian, Thai, Turkish and Japanese. Footscray also has one each of the following restaurants; Croatian, Korean, Malaysian and Portuguese. [24] Subway and Nandos are the only multi-national corporate food outlets in central Footscray.

Notable restaurants include the Station Hotel, the winner of radio 3AW's "Pub of the Year" award. [25]

The Footscray Market is a large indoor fresh produce and seafood market, with 33 food stalls and 50 general stalls, [26] catering particularly to the various ethnicities and local restaurants. It is located opposite Footscray railway station.

The Melbourne Wholesale Market on Footscray Road (often referred to as the Footscray Traders Market) moved to Epping in 2015. [27]

Another large market in Footscray was Little Saigon, which opened in 1992 to cater to Asian population growth, but had customers from all backgrounds. Little Saigon was noisy and crowded, with a wide array of tropical fruits and Asian produce. However, this market was destroyed in a large fire on 13 December 2016, with more than $12 million worth of damage. There are reportedly plans to rebuild the market. [28]

Culture

Footscray has some fine 1930s Art Deco buildings, most in disrepair and hidden behind shop signs and awnings. [29]

The former Footscray Town Hall is the only American Romanesque civic building in Victoria. The outside is a mix of Art Deco, Moderne, Celtic, Spanish and Medieval. [30]

Footscray Park is one of the largest and most intact examples of an Edwardian park in Australia; characteristic features include rustic stonework, ornamental ponds and extensive use of palms. The 15-hectare park is classified as a heritage place on the Victorian Heritage Register. [31] The 'heavily indebted' [32] local Council approved a 1.8 million makeover for the park in March 2011. [33] In 2019, Council failed to privatize one third of the park.

Footscray has been the setting of several Australian movies.

In 1992, the film Romper Stomper was set in and filmed in and around Footscray. It deals with a fictional gang of neo-Nazi skinheads and their battle against Vietnamese immigrants. Not all scenes were filmed locally: the "Footscray Railway Station" featured in the movie has a pedestrian underpass, while the real station has an overpass for foot traffic; the actual station used for filming was Richmond Station.

The 1994 film Metal Skin and the 2015 film Pawno are also set in and around Footscray.

The song Footscray Station by Melbourne band Camp Cope is about Footscray, where the lead singer and guitarist Georgia Maq, originally from Kew, resides.

Australian pop punk outfit Nö Class frequently reference Footscray in their lyrics, such as their 2018 hit Carry Me Home, which centres around the legendary establishment the Footscray Hotel.

Groups

Footscray streetscape, prior to a multimillion-dollar street redevelopment in 2012 FootscrayStreetscape1.jpg
Footscray streetscape, prior to a multimillion-dollar street redevelopment in 2012

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre on Nicholson Street gives aid, welfare and medical care for thousands of asylum seekers.

The Australian Croatian Association headquarters is located in Footscray, serving the large Croatian Community in the area. Other Ethnic Community, Migrants and Refugees groups include African, Albanian, Burmese, Chinese, Croatian or Bosnian, Ethiopian, Filipino, Greek, Harari, Hungarian, Italian, Macedonian, Multicultural, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Latin American, Sudanese and Vietnamese. [34]

The Footscray Club is a social club that has been part of Footscray since 1894. This was the original Footscray Cycle Club, when cycling became quite popular in Australia in the 19th century. By 1909 the club had built a permanent site on Paisley Street where it still stands today. Early in the last century the club evolved into a purely local social club where members of the local community meet and socialize to this day.

The Footscray Historical Society works on a number of local fronts to record and preserve the history of the area. The Society has an active membership who take part in a range of activities to assist this endeavour. Records such as rare books, business records and correspondence are held at the Society's headquarters at Ercildoune, built in 1876 as a branch of the National Bank of Australasia. The Society owns this historic building and has had the interior and exterior restored. Tours, forums and discussions are held regularly.

Footscray is at the centre of the Kariwara Scout district of Scouts Australia. The word 'Kariwara' means 'West' in a local Aboriginal dialect. [35] Started in 1909, the 1st Footscray Scout hall is a historic building next to the Footscray Police Station in Hyde Street. 3rd Footscray is the hall seen from the railway line and no longer has youth programs but is home to adult training. The 2nd Footscray Scout hall has a modern brick hall after the first hall burnt down in 1982. The group has programs for children aged 7 to 26 and meets at Guadion Park in Barkly Street. The 10th Footscray Scout group is in Essex Street next to the YMCA and has programs for 7- to 15-year-olds. The 5th Footscray group is opposite Seddon railway station and has programs for 6- to 15-year-olds. All are part of Scouts Australia.

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group and Less Trucks For Moore work towards cleaning the air in Footscray and surrounding suburbs.

Other groups include; Footscray Traders Association, Footscray Asian Business Association, Save Railway Place, Footscray Sings Fair Go for Footscray Rail Residents and Footscray Rotary.

Arts

In 2013 the City of Maribyrnong ran a competition for a $170,000 public art installation. [36] The winning entry by artists Vicki Couzens, Maree Clarke and Jeph Neale features massive rock boulders which form a circle across the intersection at the southern end of the Footscray Mall, symbolising a coolamon or welcome bowl. [37] The work was installed in June 2013. [38]

Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) is a centre for contemporary arts, community engagement, cultural development and multicultural arts. Since its establishment in 1974, it is estimated that over 2 million community members have visited FCAC or directly participated in one or more of its many events, initiatives, projects, workshops and programs. [39]

Phoenix Youth Theatre opened in 2014 at Phoenix Youth Centre at 72 Buckley St, Footscray. [40]

The historic Footscray Drill Hall is home to Women's Circus, founded 1991, [41] and the world famious Snuff Puppets, founded 1992.

Music

Footscray has a rich history of music and brass bands, currently being home to the Footscray-Yarraville City Band – FYCB, which rehearses weekly and performs throughout the year locally, nationally and internationally. The FYCB conduct an annual Carols by Candlelight event each December in the Yarraville Gardens. They were the 2010 VBL State Champions. [42]

The Hyde Street Youth Band. [43] was established in 1928. The Hyde Street Youth Band contributed to the history of the region as the band played the official theme song for the Footscray Football Club (now the Western Bulldogs) while they were playing at the Whitten Oval. The FYCB is one of five A-Grade Brass bands in Victoria and has been successful in the National Championships.

JABULA! – An African Community Choir, and is run by Sudanese singer Ajak Kwai and percussionist Tawanda Gadzikwa. The choir brings together people from broad skill levels and diverse African heritages. The choir meets fortnightly on Saturdays at the Footscray Community Arts Centre.

Festivals

Emerge in the West 17 May 2015 in the City of Maribyrnong reveals emerging African arts, culture and small businesses that have been growing rapidly in Melbourne's West, marking the start of the week long Africa Day Celebrations in Melbourne.

Founded in 2011, this annual 'Emerge' event is an outcome of MAV's CCD program for emerging and refugee artists and communities, triggering the founding of the Australian-African Small Business Association in 2014 to represent the growing number of African restaurants and cafes in Melbourne's West.

The St Jerome's Laneway Festival is an annual block party held in partnership with the Footscray Community Arts Centre. 15,000 enjoyed the festival in 2015. More recently, the festival is held at Footscray Park. [44]

The Western Bulldogs Community Festival and Family Day is held every summer on Whitten Oval.

Central Footscray Streets are closed for the all-day-long Chinese New Year celebrations organised by the Footscray Asian Business Association (FABA). The Quang Minh Tet Festival celebrations in neighbouring Braybrook were expanded. [45]

The Big West started in 1997 under the name MAP (Maribyrnong Arts Project), it continued for two decades. In 2011 it was attended by over 37,000 people.[ citation needed ] The last Big West Festival was in November 2015. In July 2016 the Big West board announced a plan to destroy Big West. The local arts community then set up the Save Big West group and failed.

Town planning

The 'Liveable Melbourne' 2011 survey listed Footscray as the 37th-most-liveable suburb in Melbourne. [46]

In 2008, the State Labor Government designated Footscray as one of six Central Activities Districts. [47] Melbourne's CADs were given planning rules aimed at creating lively mixed use CBD-like districts. [48] The area, according to the local mayor, 'would soon have the second-highest skyline outside the Melbourne CBD'. [49]

Local Footscray real estate agent Darren Dean of Sweeney Estate Agents said one pocket of Footscray – bounded by Geelong Road, Ballarat Road, Victoria Street, the railway line and Moore Street – had been intended for "a mini Manhattan". [50]

"There are cranes popping up in the skyline everywhere over here", he said.

Hoarding sign on a building Footscray mcnab ave.jpg
Hoarding sign on a building

Examples of new real estate developments in Footscray: [51]

Examples of the changing face of Footscray include:

The landscape of Footscray station was upgraded significantly as a result of the Regional Rail Link from 2012 to 2014. Works included:

All works at Footscray station were complete by November 2014.

Transport issues in Footscray:

Community initiatives

Grasslands Organic Grocery is a non-profit community initiative, established in 1997. All the produce is certified organic/biodynamic; free of animal ingredients; minimally processed/packaged; healthy to use; affordable; locally made; produced by small enterprises that have good working conditions and who are not involved in other unethical or unsustainable practices. Concession card holds get a discount when buying in store, currently only open on Thursdays.

Sport

Aussie Rules Football

Basketball

Canoeing

Cricket

Cycling

Football (Soccer)

Gridiron (American Football)

Gyms

Gymnastics

Hockey

Horse Racing

Lacrosse

Martial Arts

Rowing

Rugby

Swimming

Water Polo

Industry

While many factories and warehouses are still to be found in and around the suburb of Footscray, many former industrial sites are being transformed into modern housing estates. Perhaps the largest of these is the former Footscray Ammunition Factory in a prime elevated position overlooking the banks of the Maribyrnong River with views across to Flemington Racecourse and the Melbourne city centre.[ citation needed ]

The eastern portion of Footscray, in the fork between the Yarra River and Maribyrnong River, contains railway yards, Appleton and Swanson Docks which were the site of the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute and the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market. The market houses 400 businesses, employs 3000 people and supplies 60 per cent of Victoria's fresh produce, it is due to move to Epping in 2013–14. [98] In 2005, the State Government announced the closure of the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market to make way for an extensive redevelopment of the Port of Melbourne and the construction of new freight rail links to the area.

Lonely Planet's former headquarters in Footscray LonelyPlanetBuildingFootscray.jpg
Lonely Planet's former headquarters in Footscray

The headquarters of Lonely Planet Publications were located in eastern Footscray on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, adjacent to the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail. Lonely Planet has published over 100 million books [99] and in 2013 the BBC sold Lonely Planet to an American company for $75 Million. [100] The headquarters were moved to Carlton in 2016, [101] with the space taken over by coworking space The Dream Factory. [102]

Notable residents

Statue of Ted Whitten Ted whitten statue.jpg
Statue of Ted Whitten

Educational institutions

Kindergartens

Primary

Secondary

Originally Footscray Technical School offered years 7-11, but went onto to offer years 7-12. With the change to the Kinnear Campus as part of the Footscray Learning Precinct initiative, it will offer years 8-12 from 2020, before moving to years 10-12 only by 2022.

Universities

Institutes and more

Neighbourhood Houses

Public libraries

The Footscray Public Library is operated by the Maribyrnong City Council. Services include 'story time' for pre-schoolers, orientation tours, reference and information services to assist with research needs, internet classes, and services for those unable to visit the library. Facilities include public internet, word processing, photocopiers, study carrels, local studies/family history room, conference and discussion rooms, a baby change room and community notice boards. The library is open 7 days (closed public holidays). [106]

The Footscray Mechanics' Institute Inc. was established in 1856, and has operated a library since its inception. [107] The current FMI Library has been located at 209 Nicholson Street since 1913. The library is a private subscription library, which is open 3 days a week Weds-Thurs-Fri 10am - 4pm, closed for Weekends, Public Holidays and for 3–4 weeks over the Christmas/New Year period.

Health

The health needs of Footscray and surrounding residents are served by the Western General Hospital or WHF. The Western General is a large teaching and research hospital responsible for providing a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient acute health services. The hospital currently conducts research in gastroenterology, colorectal cancer, emergency care, oncology, respiratory medicine, sleep disorders, and vascular surgery.

Key services at the Western Hospital include acute medical and surgical services, intensive and coronary care, emergency services, renal services, specialist drug and alcohol services, aged care and palliative care.[ citation needed ] The hospital also serves as one of the teaching campuses for the University of Melbourne's medical program.

The Western Region Health Centre was established in 1964.[ citation needed ] Services include an African community worker, refugee health nurse, women's health nurse, dieticians, youth health nurse, diabetic educator, podiatrist, counsellors and physiotherapists. Visiting specialists include a general surgeon and paediatrician. Pathology services and dental services are co-located on site.

Places of worship

Heavenly Queen Temple Heavenly Queen Temple, Footscray, Victoria, Australia 2013.jpg
Heavenly Queen Temple

60% of Footscray residences admitted to belonging to a religion in 2011, down from 70% in 2006. [108] There are many religious organisations and places of worship in Footscray, including Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Evangelical Christian, Independent Christian, Lutheran, Muslim, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Uniting Church.

The Heavenly Queen Temple, the largest temple of the Chinese sea-goddess Mazu in Australia, is being built on the banks of the river. Its grounds include a 16 m (52 ft) gold statue. [109] [110]

Media

Two free suburban weekly newspapers are delivered in Footscray on Wednesdays:

See also

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