The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

MEL­BOURNE: A CITY OF VIL­LAGES Dale Camp­isi (Hardie Grant, $49.95)

“This will be the place for a vil­lage,” John Bat­man wrote in 1835 about the site of nows­plen­did Mel­bourne (what­ever hap­pened to a pro­posal to call it Bat­ma­nia?). Author Dale Camp­isi has iden­ti­fied 50 vil­lages, each with dis­tinc­tive traits that give the mod­ern city its ap­peal. Camp­isi’s style is re­laxed and in­for­ma­tive, and the book di­vided into snack­sized sec­tions with just enough back­ground in­for­ma­tion to ab­sorb over a cof­fee and vil­lage del­i­cacy be­fore the ex­plo­ration be­gins.

Check out Carl­ton, Colling­wood, Brunswick and Fitzroy, cross the river to South Yarra, Prahran and St Kilda, look­ing out for the ves­tiges of fac­to­ries and great trad­ing names (high up on fa­cades) that of­ten gave th­ese places their iden­tity. Sur­prise, sur­prise, many once-for­mi­da­ble in­dus­trial sites are now apart­ment con­verts. One of th­ese is the Swal­low and Ariell’s Bis­cuits and Cakes (later, Arnott’s) fac­tory in Port Mel­bourne. Imag­ine the heav­enly aroma that may still waft around the site (is that a fresh Teddy Bear?). Be mind­ful that the city was once known as Smell­bourne. Those city laneways, loved as places for a browse, a buy and a bev­er­age, had an­other role up un­til the 1890s and the ar­rival of a sew­er­age sys­tem.

The Cup’s over for an­other year but, as Camp­isi points out, those big sport­ing events for which Mel­bourne is des­ti­na­tion-city are only part of the story. Let’s go hang with the vil­lage peo­ple.


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