South Melbourne Central


South Melbourne Facts:


South Melbourne is one of Melbourne’s oldest inner city suburbs. Originally called Emerald Hill, you will find a number of historic buildings with interesting architecture that you can appreciate the beauty as you explore the precincts and streets.

During the late 1870s, South Melbourne became a favoured place of residents for Melbourne's middle class, with fashionable terraced housing becoming the norm, including some English style squares, the best example of which was St Vincent Gardens. The South Melbourne Town Hall was built between 1879 and 1880 and designed in suitable grandeur to evoke the city's booming status, establishing a civic heart at Bank Street, bordered by Clarendon, Park, Cecil and Dorcas Streets. In 1883 Emerald Hill became a city, changing its official name to South Melbourne.

In the 1980s, South Melbourne experienced one of Melbourne's biggest waves of gentrification. Many of the terrace homes were restored and renovated and a new middle class moved in. As a result of the development of Southbank in the 1990s, Clarendon Street has become one of the highest rental yielding commercial streets in the entire city of Melbourne, attracting many of the residents from the apartment buildings to shop.

South Melbourne offers a comprehensive retail and dining experience for shoppers along Clarendon and Coventry Streets. While you are there, don’t miss the South Melbourne Market with almost 150 stalls operated by small business owners providing fresh produce, groceries and specialty foods as well as a range of clothing and jewelry. The surrounding streets bustle with shoppers in and out of boutique stores, homeware and gift shops, and diners from the many alfresco cafés and restaurants.

Recently, there has been some new developments within South Melbourne and at the Southbank end of Clarendon Street, including Australia's largest hotel. Like the Melbourne CBD, there are many small laneways in South Melbourne, most of them cobbled in bluestone.

Enjoy a wander through the many galleries and explore some of the hidden laneway art too!

Getting there

Tram - 1, 112 & 96

Bus - Route 253

For timetables & information or to plan your journey visit


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