TEXTURES OF COLLINGWOOD
Collingwood is one of the oldest formal suburbs in Melbourne. Collingwood sits 3 kilometres north east of Melbourne CBD and covers 130 hectares. The suburb is bordered by Smith Street, Alexandra Parade, Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade. It is flanked by the surrounding suburbs of Fitzroy, Clifton Hill, Abbotsford and East Melbourne.
Collingwood is set on a grid with smaller streets such as Peel Street, Oxford Street, Cambridge Street intersecting the main streets (see the map here).
Together, architecture and business activity determine the feel of each.
Small businesses dominate the main streets – Smith St and Johnston St. Two dollar shops, news agencies, the Turkish grocery shop, health food stores, bakeries, cafés, clothing stores, galleries…As well as the commercial Woolworth and Coles. The side streets are home to fabricators, wholesale clothing shops, auto repair shops and hidden creative studios.
Architecturally it is a mix of old and new; of brick, concrete, glass and metal.
Collingwood, for now, is a diverse and fricticious urban crossway.
2. Smith Street (Streets)
The vast majority of the action takes place along Smith street.
Smith Street runs north-south and is Collingwood main street. It forms the boundary between Fitzroy and Collingwood.
3. Hot Potatoes Super Two Dollar Shop on Smith St (Streets)
4. A little fabricator workshop on Rokeby St (Streets)
Many of the side streets that connect the main thoroughfares are populated with garment factories, auto repair shops, fabricators and creative professional studios.
5. Shops on Smith St (Streets)
6. Peel street (Streets)
7. Factories on Keele St (Streets)
8. Tax accountant shop on Smith St (Streets)
9. (Places of Congregation)
Broadly speaking, the people of Collingwood congregate in bars and cafés. There is very little civic space; and the green space that does exist is clumsily fitted out with uncovered seating and play equipment.
We call the main points of congregation – Goon Park, Drug Park, Boredom Park and Rainbow Corner.
10. Smith St seats (Places of Congregation)
The streetscape is a manufactured one – concrete, bricks, asphalt and metal; punctuated by very few and very small green pockets clumsily laden with uncovered seating and play equipment.
11. The Tote on Johnston St (Places of Congregation)
People mainly congregate in bars and pubs like The Tote (a corner pub – the home of rock (and punk-metal-pop-indie-shoegaze-post-dole-synth-wave and miscellanea).
12. Lazer Pig restaurant and bar (Places of Congregation)
Pizza, drinks and part time disco
13. Boredom Park on Langridge St (Places of Congregation)
14. Goon Park on Peel St (Places of Congregation)
15. Drug Park on Cambridge St (Places of Congregation)
16. Rainbow Corner on Smith St and Gertrude St (Places of Congregation)
17. Tiggy's café inside School House Studios on Rupert St (Places of Congregation)
Tiggy’s serve one dish ever day that has a vego and meat variation… People come to eat but also to work, markets are held here, as well as classes and workshops, and there is a gallery.
Despite the concrete nature of Collingwood there are many trees here. A mix of natives including deep red flowering bottlebrushes (iconic to Collingwood), paper bark tea trees, and several types of eucalypts; as well as deciduous European trees such as London plane trees. They grow out of the pavement; invade cracks and are contained in pots.
19. A eucalyptus tree on Otter St (Nature)
20. Grass and weeds growing over fake grass on Rokeby St (Nature)
Some people do try to green the space. There are small pockets of green, but on the whole they are badly and inappropriately landscaped.
21. A small invasion growing through brick (Nature)
Greenery also creeps through manmade cracks; tiny but resilient invasions.
22. Nature is also coerced into staying with pots. (Nature)
Image taken on Rokeby St.
Collingwood is Wurundjeri Country owned by the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. Their connection to this land and its waterways (the Merri Creek and the Yarra River in neighbouring Abbotsford) goes back tens of thousands of years to the beginning when the creator spirit Bunjil (the Eaglehawk moiety totem) shaped the land and all living things. Collingwood was an important place for finding food and ceremony.
In the late 1830s European settlers began to occupy the area and the government began to subdivide and sell the land in Collingwood (just four years after the settlement of Melbourne city itself).
This dispossession of land, the resulting dislocation, clashes and introduced diseases saw a dramatic decline in the Wurundjeri population.
Collingwood’s bones were shaped by the rapid growth during the gold rush years in the 1850s.
The area has had its ups and downs. Overall however times were tough for the people that lived here and its character was shaped by factories and the people that worked there and lived in Collingwood’s slums.
Its current trend towards gentrification is quite recent.
24. Members of the Wurundjeri Tribe on the Yarra River (History)
The name Wurundjeri comes from the word wurun meaning Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis, a common tree along the Yarra River) and djeri, a grub found in the Manna Gum.
25. 252 Wellington St stone building built in 1850 (History)
In the 1850s Collingwood growth was quick and large; partly the result of the gold rush that began in 1852. The forest was cleared and construction began.
Construction worked to accommodate and house the working class (cheaply) and industry – numerous small dwellings, schools, shops and churches, and large industrial developments; the largest being the flour mill and the Fosters beer brewery.
26. Collingwood in 1870 looking back to the city. (History)
In the 1870s, Smith Street became the main shopping strip, in 1887 its tram line was constructed.
27. Hood St in 1935 (History)
In the 1930s, local employment in Melbourne began to dwindle. Collingwood once again became home to people looking for cheap accommodation. Times were tough and the streets smelt of ‘Collingwood Coke’ – leather offcuts collected from the boot factories and burnt on domestic stoves in lieu of wood.
28. This Collingwood house with a corrugated iron 'bathroom' and external tap as the only water supply, was rented out for around $1.25 per week. May 1936. (History)
29. Children play in a street within an area marked for demolition and reconstruction, 1946 (History)
30. Shed housing typical to the Collingwood slums, 1950s (History)
31. The Salvation Army helped to feed families, 1969 (History)
32. The commission flats on Wellington St built post WWII (History)
In the 1960s, after WWII, the Housing Commission of Victoria flattened whole blocks and replaced them with medium and high rise flats.
Hoddle Street was widened and in the 1970s the F19 freeway was built to connect the outer eastern suburbs to the inner suburbs. The road physically separated Collingwood from Clifton Hill.
33. Terrace houses in Gertrude St, Fitzroy, 1983 (History)
Collingwood’s trajectory towards gentrification is relatively recent
Collingwood has been shaped by many people and cultures. Today, the 2011 Census counts the population at 6,467. Collingwood is made up of a mix of residents that have lived here forever, students and share house dwellers, professionals living in expensive and newly refurbished warehouses, new high-rise apartment dwellers, and people living in government flats. In 2011 Collingwood’s population was made up of 54.0% of people born in Australia, Vietnam 5.8%, New Zealand 3.2%, England 3.0%, China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 2.2% and Ethiopia 1.5%.
35. No Room for Racism sticker (People)
The area remains an important meeting place for the traditional owners of this land, the Wurundjeri people. There are many important Aboriginal organisations here that provide community, health, wellbeing and legal services; and sustain political Indigenous activism.
It was here that many people from the Stolen Generations (people forcibly separated from family and community under racist government policies) found family and community.
36. Members of the Collingwood Italian International Cycling Club, 1955 (People)
37. The original caption written for this photo defined the poor as widows, the unemployed, unmarried mothers and the derelict. (People)
In the 1960s, after World War II Collingwood also saw another population move; this time an exodus towards jobs in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
By the 1960s Collingwood’s population had shrivelled to an all-time low since colonisation.
38. Neil Mann and Ian Ridley in the Melbourne v Collingwood grand final, 1956. (People)
The Collingwood Football Club, known as the pies, was formed in 1892. They are a polarising club made up of hardcore hard-knocks fans… You either love them or hate them.
39. The Greek shot by Rennie Elliz, 1977 (People)
By 1971 overseas-born migrants made up approximately 41% of the population – Irish, Greek, Italian and Indochinese legacies are still apparent in the area even though many of these communities have since moved away towards more affordable housing.
40. A Pies supported 1974 (People)
41. People climbing a tree in Collingwood shot by Rennie Ellis, 1970 (People)
From the 1970s onwards; middle-class professionals and university students began to move in; liking it for its closeness to the city and University of Melbourne.
The old warehouses began to be transformed into studios and apartments, the worker’s cottages were renovated, and the old hotels turned into bistros.
42. Si Tan Nguyen in his office at the firm where he worked at 62 Smith St, 1988 (People)
43. Mrs. Di Virgilio, housewife, in her kitchen at 64 Cambridge St, 1988 (People)
44. Reclaim the shame party at the Glasshouse (People)
The suburb is home to Melbourne’s second largest gay village and thus gay bars and performance venues.
45. Rally to save The Tote, 2010 (People)
Collingwood has a history of community activism in relation to preserving the suburb’s character against development. Some highlights are noted here.
In 1958 the community (unsuccessfully) opposed the Housing Commission of Victoria’s ‘slum reclamation’ project that saw the demolition of 122 dwelling.
In the 1970s residents (unsuccessfully) opposed the construction of the F-19 freeway that cut off Collingwood from Clifton Hill.
In 2006 community protested again the Banco large mixed use Smith & Co development (unsuccessfully).
In 2010 more than 2000 people collected to (successfully) save The Tote Hotel (one of Melbourne’s live music institutions); at risk due to newly introduced “high risk conditions” imposed by Victorian Liquor Licensing laws.
46. Jack Charles, first came to Collingwood to look for his family (People)
You can see Jack about on Smith St. He was born to a Bunurong mother and Wiradjuri father on the Murray River. We was forcibly removed from his family as part of the Australian Government’s forced assimilation programme. He first came to Collingwood to look for his family. He is an actor and potter.
Collingwood is a mix of old (by colonial Australian standards, so 19th century) and new buildings – domestic, industrial and commercial. The landscape is distinctive for the fact that small residential dwellings exist next door to commercial factories, retail buildings, more recently high-rise flats, and most recently apartment developments. Different types of architecture also sit next to each other resulting in a textured and multi-layered suburb.
48. Architecture mix on Stanley St (Architecture)
49. One of the earliest buildings that still stands is the Grace Darling Hotel (144 Smith St), built in 1854. (Architecture)
As one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs, Collingwood has a number of historic buildings dating back to the 1850s.
50. The Foy and Gibson department store warehouse on Oxford Street, now residential apartments. (Architecture)
The backstreets are populated with old factories and warehouses many of which have been converted into apartments.
51. Architectural mix on Smith St (Architecture)
52. Early victorian architecture on Rokeby Street. Shot by Frederick Oswald for the slum board, 1935 (Architecture)
The early architecture is typified by Victorian architecture (1837 to 1901). Early Victorian architecture was characterised by workers cottages – symmetrical layouts and façades, a centrally located front door and a hipped roof of corrugated iron, leading to a veranda on the façade.
53. 1850s cast iron detail on a butcher's shop. Shot by Algernon Darge, 1913 - 1916 (Architecture)
During the 1850s cast-iron lacework began to be incorporated into the buildings. The buildings were made from weatherboard, brick or bluestone and were mostly unadorned, formal structures. A little later in this period terraced houses became popular. Later still (in the late Victorian style) decoration began to find its way into the builds, this architecture was often referred to as Boom Style.
54. Hannahford’s Pianos and Organs on Smith St, built in the early 1900s (Architecture)
From 1901 to WWI Collingwood architecture evolved into Edwardian style (or Federation style) that were still ornate but less ostentatious.
55. Two and three storey retail buildings on Smith St (Architecture)
By the early 20th century Smith Street was almost fully developed with ornate two (and at times three) storey buildings built for retail purposes.
Manufacturing and storage warehouses were mainly built on the side streets.
56. The former Collingwood Technical School Complex designed in the Art Deco and Moderne style (Architecture)
Inter-war architecture (1918 to 1939) saw a move towards more modernist buildings (less ornate although at times still influenced by decorative styles such as Spanish Mission and Art Deco).
57. The Commission flats Wellington St built post WWII (Architecture)
The end of WWII saw the construction of high rise commission flats.
58. Post Office on the corner Smith St and Brunswick St (Architecture)
59. Smith st architecture (Architecture)
60. National bank of Australasia on Smith St (Architecture)
61. Melbourne Polytechnic building on Otter St (Architecture)
62. Corrugated sheds on Rokeby St (Architecture)
63. Houses on Oxford st (Architecture)
64. Old house on Keele St (Architecture)
65. Brutalist style silo apartments on Langridge St (Architecture)
The retail and restaurant offering in Collingwood is mostly made up of small independent shops and restaurants. Both retail and restaurants range from very low end to mid end and there are a few higher end options on Gertrude St (technically Fitzroy). Restaurants are culturally diverse – Ethiopian, Greek, Vietnamese… as well as modern Australian and European. You can find pretty much everything in Collingwood with the exception of very high-end fashion and luxury items.
67. Two Dollar Shop on Smith St (Retail)
68. 'Smith's Cakes and Aquilana Pasticceria' on Smith St has operated for 49 years (Retail)
Some long-standing cafés and shops still remain; precious for their legacy and for providing a contrast to the increasingly abundant hipster fried food outlets.
69. A wholesale fashion shop on Langridge (Retail)
70. Collingwood Confidential on Rupert St - For your pleasure... Sophisticated Ladies, Sexy XXX Bombshells, Mistresses and Escorts. (Retail)
A small but solid number of brothels and erotic massage parlours also operate from Collingwood side streets; as well as the Japanese bathhouse (which has no sexy vibes).
71. Sonsa Turkish fruit and veg on Smith St (Retail)
The retail offering is mostly made up of small independent shops.
72. Freinds of the Earth food coop on Smith St (Retail)
73. Aesop HQ on Gertrude St, Fitzroy (Retail)
There are a few higher end shops on Gertrude St (technically Fitzroy).
74. Copacabana Brazilian restaurant and shows (Retail)
75. Rose Cheong's costume shop on Gertrude St (Fitzroy) (Retail)
76. Third Drawer Down on George St, Fitzroy (Retail)
77. Collingwood Memorabilia shop on Smith St (Retail)
78. Tokyo Bikes shop on Peel St (Retail)
79. Mid century vintage shop on Smith St (Retail)
80. Raffle's Singaporean restaurant on Johnston St (Retail)
81. Enoteca wine shop and bar (Retail)
82. Minanoie Japanese café and shop on Peel St (Retail)
83. Smith's Kebabs on Smith St (Retail)
84. Burnside café on Smith St (Retail)
85. Nice clothing shops on Gertrude St (Fitzroy) (Retail)
86. Alimentari eatery and food store (Retail)
87. Trippy Tacos vego burritos on Gertrude St (Retail)
88. Aka Sira Japanese restaurant on Peel St (Retail)
89. Jim's Tavern Greek restaurant on Johnston St (Retail)
90. The Horn Ethiopian restaurant on Johnston St (Retail)
91. A fancier fit out at Hotel Jesus on Smith St. Serving Mexican food. (Retail)
92. One of the few fancier places - Ricky and Pinky fit out by Sibling on Gertrude St (Retail)
93. (Cultural and Creative)
Collingwood has long been associated with creative endeavour. Gertrude Contemporary moved into to Gertrude Street in 1985, opening a gallery and a number of artist studios. Gertrude Contemporary has just left this location and is now being replaced by a 24 gym.
There are a number of commercial and independent art spaces in Collingwood including Bus Projects, Junior Space, and Seventh Gallery. Collingwood Arts Precinct is a big new project at 35 Johnston Street that will see the development of spaces and studios for not-for-profit artists.
A common story amongst smaller creatives is the constant moving required to secure affordable and longterm space.
94. Bus Projects is one of the independent art spaces in the back streets of Collingwood (Cultural and Creative)
There are a number of commercial and independent art spaces in Collingwood includeing Bus Projects, Junior Space, and Seventh Gallery. Collingwood Arts Precinct is a big new project at 35 Johnston Street that will see the development of spaces and studios for not-for-profit artists.
95. A place for making and living (Cultural and Creative)
Collingwood was always been a place that has mixed industry and residential. Early on this was noxious industry and workers cottages, more recently light manufacturing and today it is home to many creative studios. Our friends at U-P occupy a corner 1970s building on Peel Street, running their design studio from the mezzanine of the Japanese café Minanoie.
96. Schoolhouse Studios at 81 Rupert street (Cultural and Creative)
Schoolhouse Studios currently live at 81 Rupert Street. They exist to provide affordable workspaces for emerging artists and creative businesses. They run an exhibition space and run a year long program of events. The space features a modular fit out that references the artist village by forming a series of laneways and courtyards.
97. John Wardle Architects on Rokeby (Cultural and Creative)
John Wardle Architects occupies the warehouse of an English paint manufacturer on Rokeby Street.
98. Assemble Papers on Langridge Street (Cultural and Creative)
Assemble Papers make a magazine on the culture of living closer together. They live on Langridge Street with their friends Fieldwork Architects and Local Peoples.
99. Alice Oehr bunks in with Kloke on Oxford Street (Cultural and Creative)
Alice Oehr is a designer who draws things.
100. Kloke makes clothes for Collingwood, and Tokyo, and Paris (Cultural and Creative)
Kloke makes nice clothes for men and women and have their design studio in a warehouse on Little Oxford Street. They make the wardrobe for our staff at Hotel Hotel
101. Looseleaf. More than a plant shop on Sackville Street (Cultural and Creative)
Looseleaf is a little urban nursery. But more than this they run workshops and make books. They describe themselves as a botanical design studio.
102. Vice studios on Rupert Street (Cultural and Creative)
At time of writing (July 2017) we counted 25 new development in Collingwood at different stages of planning and approval. Mostly these are larger scale developments. We counted four major developments (over 10 storeys).
Some existing buildings will be preserved and others will be demolished.
104. Cambridge St development (Development)
105. Hotham St development (Development)
106. Langridge St development. Click for a complete list of developments. (Development)
Major developments (over ten storey)
5 – 9 Alexandra Parade by Koúl Property
162sqm of shop floor space at the ground floor
53 apartments/dwellings (17 x 1 bedroom, 32 x 2 bedroom, 4 x 3 bedroom);
50 car parking spaces
42-44 Oxford Street and 61-63 Cambridge Street and 16 Langridge Street
Four café tenancies
80 serviced apartments (78 x 1 bed and 2 x two bed)
99 dwellings/apartments (12 x 1 bed, 82 x 2 bed and 5 x 3 bed)
123 car parking spaces
71 – 93 Gipps Street by Alpha 14 Property Group
Full demolition of the existing building
Construction of a part 6, part 11 storey building with an overall height of 46m
Food and drink premises (café) at ground floor
Total of 8,923sqm of office floor space
87 car spaces provided within a basement
5 motorbike spaces
23 – 33 Johnston Street by Gurner
Full demolition of 31 Johnston Street and part demolition of 23 and 27 Johnston Street (façade and canopy to be retained)
12 storey building (plus basement levels) a
154 dwellings (86 x 1 bedroom, 56 x 2 bedroom and 12 x 3 bedroom)
125 car spaces
Smaller developments (under ten storey residential)
416 Smith Street
Angelo Property Group
47 Peel Street
195 Wellington Street
Blue Earth Group
75 Wellington Street
PACE Development Group
7 Little Oxford Street
468 Smith Street
23 Little Oxford Street
Brandy Ridge Pty Ltd
88-92 Smith Street
Brandy Ridge Pty Ltd
80-90 Johnston Street
88 Johnston Street Pty Ltd
2-16 Northumberland Street
Impact Investment Group
Mid-rise, 5 and 13 storeys
109 Dight Street
61 Wellington Street
88 Cambridge Street
Centreland Property Pty Ltd
60 – 66 Islington Street
Willow Apartments Pty Ltd
10 Keele Street
1 Otter Street
366 Smith Street
Gleneg Investments Pty Ltd
15-21 Derby Street
Our Oxford Scholar Pty Ltd
75-77 Harmsworth Street
Oz Property Group
1-35 Wellington Street
42-44 Oxford Street
Langridge & Cambridge Development Funding
Whilst Collingwood is mostly a streetscape of cement, bricks and metal; neighbouring suburbs (Abbotsford, Fitzroy, Carlton and East Melbourne) are characterised by their green space.
108. Carlton Gardens (Outskirts)
109. The Yarra River in Abbotsford (Outskirts)
110. Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy (Outskirts)
111. Collingwood Children's Farm in Abbotsford (Outskirts)
112. Abbotsford Convent in Abbotsford (Outskirts)
113. Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne (Outskirts)
All Australian cities enjoy lots of sun, but poor Melbourne is the least sunny city.
The average hours of sunshine in Melbourne range from 3.24 hours for each day in June and 8.05 hours each day in January
It is sunny 47.4% of daylight hours. The remaining 52.6% of daylight hours are likely cloudy or with shade, haze or low sun intensity.
The longest day falls occurs between 20 and 22 December and is 14.37hours long
The shortest day falls on 20 – 22 June and is 9.22 hours long
Melbourne is know for its changeable weather conditions due to its geographical location
January is the hottest month in Melbourne with an average temperature of 21°C and the coldest is July at 10°C. Temperatures can reach 45°C in the warmest months and drop to 5°C in the cooler months.
It snowed once in 1849 and again but quite lightly in 1951. Sleet was recorded in the Collingwood most recently as 1986. Frosts and fogs are common in winter.
Temperatures only fall below zero once in about every three years in the city.
Once in 1924’s Christmas Day was 31.9°C while Boxing Day was just 11.6°C
Humidity is low, especially in summer months averaging at 47% from December – March
Melbourne’s wettest month is May. Average rainfalls are 68mm. It also rains a bit in Octoer with average rainfall at 65mm. January to March are the driest months with an average rainfall of 46mm.
Melbourne is prone to isolated convective showers forming when a cold pool crosses the state, especially if there is considerable daytime heat. These showers are often heavy and can contain hail and squalls and significant drops in temperature (sometimes by more than 10°C in under 10 minutes) but they pass through very quickly at times with a rapid clearing trend to sunny and relatively calm weather and the temperature rising back to what it was before the shower.
October is the windiest month average 12.6 Km/H
April is the least windy month with averages at 8.7 km/h
Air quality in Collingwood is considered acceptable by the EPA. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particles and sulfur dioxide levels are generally a little higher than surrounding suburbs. Hoddle St, the main arterial road that cuts through Collingwood, is traversed by 40,000 cars per day.
Collingwood is serviced by a rail line. Collingwood train station is actually not in Collingwood but located at Gipps Street / Eddy Court in Abbotsford. It is cut off to Collingwood by Hoddle Street . It takes 8 minutes on the train to reach the city centre.
The 86 Tram runs from Bundoora. It cuts up Smith Street and turns up Gertrude Street into the city. No tram offers a greater smorgasbord of humanity. It used to be laughably slow but it’s improved a bit and is generally considered a good amenity.
Lots of people ride bikes in Collingwood. There are some dedicated bike tracks along some main road (such as Wellington St) but all in all it is a bit of a shit fight with cars and slippery tram lines.
Smith Street, Wellington Street and Hoddle Street all get congested at peak hour but generally there aren’t too many cars in the back streets and they are quite nice for walking.
There is limited street parking.
The pedestrian experience of Collingwood varies.
There are main streets with wider footpaths that are quite nice to walk along but busy and commercial in nature such as Gertrude Street and Smith Street.
There are wider side streets such as Peel Street, Gipps Cambridge Street and Oxford Street, many dotted with Plane trees that are quite peaceful to walk along, but cars can zoom along quite fast and resulting in the occasional near death experience.
There are narrow backstreets such as Rupert Street, Rokeby Street and Cromwell Street with narrow footpaths with many obstacles that are less permeable. It’s not uncommon to walk down the middle of a narrow backstreet. It’s nice that people walking these street own them in this way.
Over the past 15 years the price of housing in Collingwood has more than doubled. Since the late 1980s it has increased six-fold. This trend is likely to continue. Collingwood’s character will continue to change with the developments that are being built up and up… People with less income will continue to move out towards more affordable rent.
The needs of the people that live and work in Collingwood vary… A though from our own perspective is that there is a need for the human and nature.
Across the board there does seem to be a need for greater connection with nature. A place from which to see the moon, considered green space, plants that have meaning and use.
It is a man-made environment. Current and proposed developments use metal and glass in their construction. The older elements of brick and wood and patina are being eroded. There is a need for more recessive design and human materials.
These things require ongoing contact and care to ensure that these elements are maintained long after a build… A caretaker is required to give ongoing love.