A LITTLE FLIGHT READING
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.