History & Culture of Cremorne

Pubs of Cremorne

Part 1. -Sir Henry Barkly Hotel

Sir Henry Barkly Hotel 1920 (SLV). Looking up Punt Rd Richmond from the Sth Yarra side

Once upon a time there was no freeway that blocked access to the river and there was no Hoddle bridge that connected Punt Rd to Sth Yarra. The Sir Henry Barkly Hotel sat at the end of Punt Rd where the punt would take you across the river. It was the home of the Richmond Rowing Club before they relocated to their current digs near Princes Bridge. The hotel site later became the Riverside Inn before it was demolished to make way for the expanded freeway ramp.

This once lively and social riverside part of Cremorne is now a concrete cavern beneath a freeway overpass. It is a difficult to access space that at least provides a link to the Yarra Trail. Could something better be done here for the community? The developments at the Malting site provides some opportunity and there have been several recent examples of possibilities beneath Skyrail sites.

Same site in 1938, now as the Riverside Inn. About the same time as the building of the Hoddle Bridge.

Part 2. Station Hotel

Station Hotel. Cnr of Swan & Dover Streets. William Canny Licensee 1899.

The Station Hotel was so named because it was opposite the entrance to Richmond Station on Swan St, though the railway station was in a different position to where it is now. The hotel was on the corner of Swan and Dover St. when those to streets met. When Richmond station was redeveloped in 1959, the entry was placed further toward Punt Rd and the railway bridge was expanded to add extra tracks. This engulfed the pub and several shops along side.

The Station Hotel was built around 1884. There was an earlier pub around the same site called the Dove Hotel. Presumably Dove St was named after the pub just as Swan street was named after its namesake hotel.

On street names – Dover St was once called Barney St but had a name change around 1860 when the Cremorne Gardens was still operating. Apparently Barney St had developed such a disreputable reputation related to certain activities associated with Pleasure Gardens that it had to be cleansed of its name.

Stephenson Street looking north. Station Hotel on the left

Looking toward the old Richmond Station from where Stephenson St used to be. Railway land has a huge presence in Cremorne. Apart from lines creating barriers to movement, there is plenty of real estate alongside that is owned by Vic Track. Much of this is used as car parking while there are chunks of land that do not seem to be doing much at all. Considering there is such a dearth of green space in Cremorne, this public land could be looked at creatively to be more be more beneficial to the Cremorne Community.

Looking south from Swan down Stephenson Street. Station Hotel on the corner

A different perspective looking down from the old station toward Stephenson St. Date about 1948. The Station Hotel is on the corner next to Nick’s Cyprus Cafe. This whole scene is now beneath the existing rail bridge.

Part 3 Village Belle Hotel

15 Cubitt St.

Village Belle Hotel, 15 Cubitt St. Copy of pencil sketch.

It’s difficult to imagine this scene in Cubitt St now, but the Village Belle was first licensed around 1880 and lived nestled among residential cottages, with a malt house behind it in Gwynne St. Prior to this time there was an earlier pub called the New Cremorne Hotel on the same or similar site. Down the Rd on the corner of Kelso St was the Red Lion Hotel. Both pubs fell prey in 1917 to the Victorian delicensing Board, along with many other pubs in a wave of temperance sentiment at the time. As the drawing suggests there was a bit of green space around the hotel itself, which is confirmed in the old 1896 MMBW map. Ironically, the Red Lion site is now a space, though reserved for car parking.

Cubitt St was also where the great Tommy Hafey spent part of his time growing up. Being a teetotaler, he wouldn’t have missed the nearby pubs, though he would have appreciated some green open space to do his pushups. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a green space that is not reserved for cars, for some healthy physical recreation that we can dedicate to Tommy? – and maybe for a quiet beer as well?

Part 4. Grand Crystal Bar –Cremorne Gardens

The 1850s was a boom time in Melbourne and the Cremorne Pleasure Gardens were established to cater to that boom. A big influx of population seeking their fortune were also in need of entertainment and sanctuary.

The Cremorne Gardens provided such an assortment of delights in salubrious, cultivated surroundings. Drinking was just one aspect of it. There were two drinking establishments within the gardens. One was Mrs. Peachman’s Hotel, situated just within the river entrance at the bottom of Cremorne St, where you’d be deposited by gondola from Princes Bridge. The other was George Coppin’s Crystal bar which was situated near the Balmain St entrance opposite the Cherry Tree. George appreciated the benefits of beautiful green open air spaces in a boom town to make people feel happy. He is the guy with the top hat in the image.

A review of the Crystal Bar from .The Argus 1858:

“…it is one of the handsomest places of the kind we have ever witnessed. An air of coolness and increased spaciousness has been given it by the erection of a wall of plate-glass in the rear of the counter. At the top of the mirrors at the back of pendant crystals are the jets of light which illuminate the place. Statues and flowers vases and pictures, are deposited wherever there is a chance of heightening the general effect. Altogether, as an exhibition of taste devoted to a special purpose, we imagine the bar may challenge competition with anything of the kind in either hemisphere. In our own country this style of drinking is rarely attempted. It is in America where they are found in the greatest perfection, and we therefore must leave it to our trans-Atlantic brethren to decide upon the comparative merits of this Bacchanalian resort.”

Part 4. Yarra Hotel

119 Cremorne St

Matthew Dwyer obtained his license for the Yarra Hotel in 1854. It was one of seventeen Richmond pubs operating that year, whereas just a few years before it was considered two licensed premises were enough. Melbourne was booming. One of those two was the Richmond Hotel that sat down the road on the corner of Balmain St, while the Beehive came along up the road about ten years later, just north of Blanche St. The Yarra out lived them both lasting to the ‘big delicensing’ of Melbourne pubs in 1917. The existing building replaced an earlier one in 1909. It spent most of the 20th century as home to a rubber goods manufacturer, before being nicely restored as a residence.

Then as now, boom times in the neighbourhood can be accompanied by dangerous neglect. The Argus in 1868 bemoans the state of street access at the bottom end of Cremorne St. It accuses the council not acknowledging responsibility for the street following fatal accidents on the Yarra bank:

“What did it matter if an occasional wood-carter or cabman’, or a couple of children, were precipitated into the river from the break-neck bank.”

“Between the Sir Henry Barkly Hotel and the extremity of Cremorne-street, there is a “lagoon” or, more correctly, an extensive cesspool, which is constantly fed by liquid stuff running from Mitchell’s brewery. This quagmire is very insufficiently protected, ……. If a horse were to bolt near this spot he would be compelled either to take the river, or plunge to the saddle-girths in sludge”

The cesspools have been cleared up in Cremorne St., but so have the pedestrian crossings that until recently provided some protection from ever increasing traffic in boomtown Cremorne. Hopefully the council this time will acknowledge its responsibility of keeping this street safe.

A view of Cremorne from the South Yarra side, 1873. Can you spot the Yarra Hotel?
A shot of the rear of the old Yarra Hotel when it was being sold a few years ago as a residence
This is detail from the old 1873 view across the river. Youn can make out the pub behind the brewery buildings
As it is today. Built in 1909 to an Arts and Crafts style. Pity it only lasted for another eight years as a pub. You can see how it differs to the previous building above.

Part 6. Freemasons Tavern

5 Wellington St. 

Born in1865, the Freemasons Tavern lasted as a pub till the licencing court removed its licence in 1884. The court described it as a “house containing only six small rooms and being in a very bad condition. It never ought to have been licenced.”

Just prior, nearby on Punt Rd, was the Wellington Hotel. Perhaps another case of a street being named after a pub? It existed from about 1853 and lasted till around 1862 having then become the Red Lion.

After the loss of its licence, the Freemasons Tavern spent some time as John Webb’s ‘Tabernacle Ragged School Relief Mission and Night Shelter’ before it found a more purpose built premises in Cremorne St. An earlier ‘Hornbrook Ragged School’ also existed around the corner in Little Cremorne St (now Jessie St).

There were other early schools and community services in Cremorne. When the Cremorne St Primary school opened in 1878, it was next door to a ‘Scripture Free School’ which was operating from a ‘Wesleyan Chapel’. This caused a bit of early friction that reached as far as state parliament. Apparently the state school head master was accused of manipulating bell times to disrupt religious discussion and declaring to students that they had no souls.

The chapel also became meeting place of a lodge of the ‘International Order of Good Templars’ as well as the ‘Hope of Cremorne Juvenile Temple’.

St Stanislaus catholic infant school, until the late 1980s occupied the stretch of Balmain St between Cubitt and Dover Streets. A site that had earlier been part of Mr Harcourt’s ‘Asylum for Lunatics and Inebriates’, which succeeded the Cremorne Gardens.

The old state primary school buildings is about all that remains of these institutions. Now absorbed by Kangan Institute, the site is a significant presence in Cremorne. Could it be better utilised as a community asset as part of its educational charter?

As it is today – wearing urban camauflage

Part 7. Bowling Club

36 to 38 Swan Street

Swan Street in 1891 looking west. The Bowling Club is on the left

In 1865, in the west end of Swan St, Mary Smith became the publican of the newly established Daniel O’Connell Hotel. By 1876 Mary had died and the next year the pub’s licence was refused on the grounds ‘that larrikins were allowed to frequent the place and play cards’.

The pub still hung on with a succession of owners to 1884, when it had rebadged itself as the Bowling Club Hotel. Was there an actual bowling club nearby? There appears to have been a bowling green at the bottom of Lennox St for a while in the 1870s. There were also bowlers that would gather in Yarra Park on the corner of Swan St. and Punt Rd around the time.

Bowls Club, just south of the railway line, 1880

Whatever it’s naming inspiration, it was the focus of the early commercial development of Swan St. However, The Bowling Club was yet another that met its demise in 1917 when it lost its licence. The building has remained over the decades since. More recently, it has been as a born again pub badged as Holliava.

In this 1891 image of Swan Street, looking west, the Bowling Club Hotel is on the far left. The picture was taken during the ‘Great Flood’ that year. It was reported then that Cubitt, Dover, Cremorne and Wellington Streets were completely inundated. Families were removed and temporarily lodged in the Cremorne St State School.

The houses and industry south of Balmain Street, that had been the site of the Cremorne Gardens was particularly affected. This was already known to be below the flood water mark after major floods in1863. An early example of the importance of some sustainable and appropriate development in Cremorne.

As we see it now as Holiava
Same stretch of Swan St in the 1891 flood
Looking over the scene from the old Richmond station toward Gosch’s Paddock in flood

Part 8. Bricklayers Arms

484 Church St.

The Bricklayers Arms first appeared on the corner of Pearson St about 1862 and finished as a pub in 1923, by which time it had become the South Richmond Hotel. It briefly had a near neighbour in Church Street on the other side of the railway line, called the Britannia Hotel. That pub existed for just a few years around 1870.

This is an image of Church St looking south, about 1878. The Swan Hotel can be seen on the left, while it would appear that barrels are being unloaded outside the Great Britain Hotel. The Bricklayers Arms is a little further on the Cremorne side. At the far end of the street is The Prince Alfred which had just changed its name from the Prince Patrick Hotel. The actual Prince Alfred had visited to extraordinary local interest in1868. An attempted assassination by an aggrieved Irishman prompted a great wave of sympathy which led to a mass naming of hospitals, streets, parks…and pubs after the Prince. It didn’t help the Prince Patrick that most of the ire was directed at Irish Catholics who were most antagonistic to the Prince and his visit, so a name switch from Patrick to Alfred must have seemed apt.

Those early days of the rapidly developing Richmond were reflected in the names of the pubs. Not only were the local bricklayers acknowledged, but across the road at the same time was the Quarryman’s Arms Hotel, which was to later become the Great Britain.

Similarly, the Gardener’s Arms in Brighton St, Blacksmiths Arms in Bridge Road, Builders Arms in Rowena Pde, Foresters Arms in Victoria St, Tanners and Curriers in River St and of course the Cricketers in Punt Rd all give us an idea of what people were busy doing locally.

With Cremorne now undergoing another bout of rapid development, perhaps some of the associated ‘food and drink premises’ could also reflect the local industry. Digital Designer’s Arms, maybe?

Part 9. Duke of Richmond

100 Swan St

Looking east down Swan St.

The Duke of Richmond Hotel appeared at the base of Lennox St round 1862. Twenty years later, it became the Richmond Club Hotel, as we know it today.

This is a view of Swan Street, looking south-east from the railway crossing in about 1870. The initial two storey pub building can be seen across the road. The vacant land in the mid ground is where the ‘Posty’ now stands. On the corner on the left hand side would be the original Corner Hotel, which would have been newly built at this time.  

The Richmond Club Hotel was rebuilt in1927 ‘in accordance with the latest ideas in hotel development’ with its ‘classic columns and ornamental balustrading’ according to the Herald in the day. The Corner Hotel was rebuilt in the sixties once the railway overpass was further extended.

In the 1870s, the railway was run by Melbourne and Hobson’s Bay Railway Company, with one line going to Hawthorn and the other making it to Windsor. The state would take over the growing rail system in1878.

The Victorian railways got to claim a decent allocation of Cremorne real estate from very early on. In the ensuing decades the value of every small patch of land here has increased significantly in such a congested urban precinct. As we try to find small patches of turf to turn into ‘parklets’ to address the dearth of public green space, VicTrack sits on land that lies fallow. As a publicly owned entity, perhaps VicTrack could come to the party and be part of the Cremorne community.   

Detail of above image showing the pub more closely – on the right
In 1916, same original building as Donohues Richmond Club
The existing RCH in ’70s

Part 10. The Greyhound

60 Swan St.

The Greyhound was one of Richmond’s very early pubs, established in the early 1850s. The current building is much younger, built in 1926, as proclaimed on its facade.

Since the 1980s it has had a series of name and character changes. It became Bensons Tavern and then the Depot before settling on The Precinct, as it is now.

The pub has had quite a history of being run by footballers; Royce Hart and Craig McKellar while it was still the Greyhound. Peter Daicos had it as Bensons. Dave and Luke Darcy have since turned it into the Precinct.

From 1942 for about twenty years, The Greyhound was run by the legendary Frank “Checker” Hughes who had won premierships as coach at Richmond and Melbourne.

In September 1942 the pub was the target of arson. As the Age at the time reported:

“a terrific explosion was heard…… followed by the crash of glass from shattered doors and windows, and the wrenching of metal sheets from the underside, of. portion of the verahdah……..,the police found that the double door leading to the bar on the Cremorne-street frontage had been practically blown out, and a bar partition, with extensive glass panels, wrecked………….A curious ‘ feature was that, with the exception of a bottle of schnapps and a bottle of wine, which over turned, and two bottles of : ginger ale which were broken, the bar stock, inoluding pots,” glasses, &c., was not affected by the concussion……The police believe that the explosion was caused by a plug of gelignite, to which a detonator and fuse had been; attached. ‘

This is an image of the old Richmond station in 1910, looking south. The Greyhound is seen on the far right of the shot along with the row of Swan St shops that used to be there before the railway lines expanded.

The Corner of Cremorne and Swan Streets has been a magnet for much of Melbourne for decades. Thousands of people funnel in for the sports and entertainment, the pubs and the restaurants, for work and commerce. The Greyhound in its various guises has been the constant pivot for about 170years. Sadly this great entry point is a dangerous confluence of pedestrians, road traffic and trams surrounded by shabby and inaccessible car yards that happen to be owned by the Department of Transport. Perhaps our public authorities could make this a safe and attractive ‘Precinct’ that people would enjoy arriving to.

Here it is as The Depot. I sort of remember its incarnation as Bensons having a purple treatmen

Part 11. Cherry Tree Hotel

53 Balmain St

The Cherry Tree Hotel in 2010 (Melbourne Gastronome)

For over 160 years, The Cherry Tree Hotel has stood as the surviving constant; a social heart of Cremorne as it continues to be today. It has seen some physical changes – a rebuild between the wars and a dramatic refit in the 1990s.

When the Cherry Tree started operating, around 1860, the Cremorne Gardens had already been operating for six years. So the area was probably something of a magnet for people looking for fun and festivity.

At about the same time George Coppin contrived to have a railway line from Richmond to Winsor with a Cremorne station across the road from the pub.

Apart from the drinking houses in the Pleasure Gardens themselves, there were a few other pubs in the near vicinity: the Richmond, Yarra, Sir Henry Barkly, and Red Lion Hotels.

The 1850s goldrush was a big decade for pubs. The 1860s however, couldn’t maintain the patronage of drinkers and fun seekers to the neighbourhood and so the Cremorne Gardens ceased in 1863.

While South Richmond/Cremorne was a rich neighbourhood in social terms, it was never so in economic terms. Most of it was built up with workers cottages in the 1880s but the locals were badly hit by the 1890s depression. Though while the rest of Richmond also struggled in the depression years, South Richmond was in a constant state of relative deprivation.

‘Then we shifted to Dover Street, South Richmond, down among the thugs. That was near Rosella, and that and Bryant and May were the main employers of labour. She was a poor suburb too. They fought a lot. But I never seen anyone die of starvation like they did in the depression. A lot of people committed suicide in the depression.

But how they lived…some of them got married and never had a job. There were 400 kids in two streets, Gwynne Street and Cubitt Street, little terraced houses, and every family had four and five and six kids. There were four hundred kids and I don’t think we had a pair of boots between the lot of us. I went bare-footed till I was about 13 because we couldn’t afford boots.

Arthur Dunlop, born 1911 ‘Copping it Sweet – Shared Memories of Richmond’ 1988.

The Cherry Tree remained the epicentre of a community that needed to be resourceful, though not always legally. Crime was a common consequence of poverty:

‘We’d raid the fruit carts when they came to Rosella. We had a fine art. … we’d rip out the back of the cart.  The women’d rush out with their knives and split the bags open put their aprons underneath. Oh yes, that was a tough locality! But you had to do that to survive.’

Arthur Dunlop, born 1911 ‘Copping it Sweet – Shared Memories of Richmond’ 1988.

Rampant unemployment resulted in disaffected youngsters that banded in gangs or ‘pushes’. One notorious one was the ‘Irishtown Push’ that operated around Church Street, menacing people near the bridge. Another was ‘The Balmains’ –

‘There were anything up to a hundred in that mob, but we used to follow the fights when the clashes were on. On Saturday night, outside the Rosella door, where the Cherry Tree Hotel is, at four o’clock there’d be a two man fight, and at six o’clock there’d be all-in brawl.

I seen a bloke with a shotgun one Saturday evening and he blew half his face clean off. That was a bit of a gang fight.’

Arthur Dunlop, born 1911 ‘Copping it Sweet – Shared Memories of Richmond’ 1988.

The notorious Martha Needle was a near neighbour to the Cherry Tree, living with her husband and three girls on the NW corner of Cubitt and Balmain. Over a period of six years from 1885 she murdered each one of the with rat poison. Martha was hanged 1894.

In 1908 a twenty year old Squizzy Taylor ‘was convicted of stealing ten shillings from the till of the still flourishing Cherry Tree Hotel in Balmain Street and was sent to gaol without option of a fine for giving cheek to the bench.’ (Janet McCalman, Struggletown)

As the twentieth century progressed, other pubs disappeared, along with churches, shops, schools and other community facilities. Post World War 2, there was a particular replacement of the old cottages with industry and commerce. While this helped with local employment opportunities it was also an effective ‘slum clearance’.

The Cherry Tree had another brush with high crime in 1954 when Johnny Willoughby was shot dead outside the pub in a dispute with an SP bookie.

Dennis ‘Mr Death’ Allen and the associated Pettingill/Pierce clan is the most recent high profile hoodlum link with the Cherry Tree. Through the 1980s Allen rapidly built a drug fuelled crime empire, based around the corner from the pub. While he progressively collected Cremorne real estate, he was murdering friends and associates and chain sawing their body parts. He managed to play off different members of the police force who were either trying to nail him for his crimes or using him as an informant on his ‘friends’.

He treated the Cherry Tree as his Manor. The well known sports journalist, Scott Palmer on acquiring the pub with Ron Barassi and Adrian Gallagher, had the unenviable task of informing Allen that he couldn’t store his guns there any longer.

Fortunately for Scott and future Cherry Tree operators, Allen died of a rare heart disease before he could serve any time. It was about this time that this part of South Richmond officially became known as Cremorne in1990.

By now the demographics had changed. The gentrification of the inner Melbourne suburbs was seeping into Cremorne. Young professionals and ‘creatives’ were moving in while manufacturing was moving out. A funky eclectic vibe was emerging from the lawlessness of the hard end of Struggletown. The Cherry Tree had reinvented itself and became a destination that drew queues of young pub goers along Balmain St looking for the latest venue.

Now Cremorne is getting noticed, outside of unsavoury crime stories. Investors in large commercial and residential developments are changing the nature of the neighbourhood again. Depending on your perspective, this change might be for good or evil. It will certainly be for the worse if any sense of community is lost. Allowing opportunities to connect and share are crucial for a healthy neighbourhood.  

‘Dover Street in the 1920s was a street of houses and people. For most of the children it was the whole world. In a way it was a village life, a village bounded by Swan and Church Streets, the Yarra and the park on the west side of Punt Road. Dover Street was foot races, rounders, cricket in the streets, racing around the block, spinning tops, cherry bobs and alleys.’

Jim Jack, (born 1916) ‘Copping it Sweet – Shared Memories of Richmond’ 1988

2020s Cremorne is quite a different place to 1920s South Richmond and may never go back to being overun with inhabitants racing around the block. Since 2015, however the Cherry Tree Hotel has introduced a New Chapter to Balmain Street and is doing its best to promote some village life.

As new players with big invested interests join the neighbourhood, we might urge them to contribute their own bit of neighbourly spirit and make their arrival a welcome one. Perhaps some spinning tops, cherry bobs and alleys would help?

Building in Cremorne

Big Developments

The last few years has seen a booming interest in the development of large commercial building projects of up to around ten storeys. The character of Cremorne has always been largely a mix of small scale commercial and residential properties, so the nature of the neighbourhood and how it is used is evolving dramatically.

This is a selection of the larger developments that are currently in planning or in construction. There are a number of others that are 4 to 6 levels and the trend is to continue to develop ‘Silicon Cremorne’ as a significant ‘creative high tech’ commercial hub. The intent in presenting this selection of developments is not necessarily to generate hostility to the intrusion but to highlight the significance to locals that the neighbourhood is changing.

The Cremorne Place Implementation Plan is a state sponsored means to drive and nurture the change. It’s important then, that locals who currently live and work in Cremorne and appreciate its charms add their voices to the process.

65-81 Dover St

9 level. Office building with café. – In planning

49 to 55 Dover St and 34 to 40 Cubitt St

8 level. Office building with food and drink premises. – In planning

30-32 Cremorne St

9 levels with ground floor food and drink premises

116 Cremorne St

10 levels. Office building with ground level café – In planning

54 – 60 Cubitt St

8 levels.  Office building with café/retail – In planning

25 Balmain St and 128-134 Cubitt St

8 levels.  Office building with café/retail – In planning

57 Balmain St     (Cnr Stephenson St)

7 level. Office building with café –  under construction

1-11 Gordon St

7 level. Office building – Under construction

68-88 Green St

11 level. Office building, with food and drink premises. In planning

594-612 Church St (Cnr Balmain St)

8 levels, office building with retail/café. – recently completed

510 Church St (Cnr Hutchings St)

10 levels, mixed use building with café. – Under construction

4-6 Adolph St and 3-5 Pearson St

8 level. Office building, with food and drink premises. In planning

2-6 Gwynne St

7 level. Office building, under construction

19 Cubitt St

8 Level – In Planning

22 – 26 Gordon St

8 level – In Planning

1 – 3 Newton St

6 level – Under construction

24-26 Gwynne St

8 Level office building with shop – In planning


Mixed commercial and residential with retail – up to 21 storeys

17-21 Harcourt Pde (Cnr Cremorne St)

2 Gough St

1 – 3 Harcourt Parade

587-593 Church St

12 levels. Residential hotel with food and drink premises – In planning

459-471 Church St and 20-26 Brighton St

14 levels. Office building with retail – In construction

609-615 Church St

11 level. Office building with retail – In planning

History & Culture of Cremorne

Cremorne Beginnings

The flats of what we now call Cremorne is the result of volcanic flows that made their way around Richmond Hill to meet the higher ground of South Yarra. Creeks and rivers converging from the north and east, forming the Yarra River, followed the boundary of the new volcanic rock and the older, softer sedimentary.
This is the country of the Wurundjeri, a Woi Wurrung speaking people of the Kulin Nation. They knew the river as Birrarung – the ‘river of mists and shadows’. The landscape of these river flats was an open grassy woodland of river red gums including a diversity of grassland flora that the Wurundjeri nurtured as food plants.
The first Europeans to encounter this country found a meandering river fringed with billabongs and wetlands. A billabong in Cremorne became known as Wright’s Swamp. The meandering river was very dynamic without well-defined banks. It ebbed and flowed, changing its size and shape regularly. Floods were a frequent event well into the twentieth century. The banks were thick with tea tree and wattle while the river itself contained a tangle of fallen timber and vegetation. This debris was important in providing refuge for life in the river and contributed a clear and healthy waterway. The billabongs and wetlands of the river made it extraordinarily rich in wildlife and important as a food resource for the local Wurundjeri.

Billabongs and swamps were sprinkled right around the bay, and they teemed with brolgas, magpie geese, Cape Barren geese, swans, ducks, eels and frogs. So abundant was the wildlife that you can imagine the Melbourne area as a sort of temperate Kakadu…

Tim Flannery ‘The Birth of Melbourne’ 2002

The Yarra continues a fine full stream of clear water in places bubbling over ledges of rock, at others forming fine deep reaches… It is perhaps the finest river I have seen in New South Wales… The Yarra abounds in fine fish and the water is of very good quality.

Governor Richard Bourke, 1837. As quoted by Kristin Otto, ‘Yarra’ 2005

The development of Melbourne from 1835 led to a sudden influx of cattle and sheep to support the new colony, taking advantage of the open park-like country that the Wurundjeri nurtured through their traditional practices such as burning. The landscape soon lost its picturesque quality as trees were cleared and livestock consumed and degraded the grassland. The dispossessed Wurundjeri consequently lost their capacity for the traditional lifestyle that sustained them.

View of Cremorne from Punt Road Sth Yarra-1857
The Sir Henry Barkly Hotel is seen where Punt Rd meets the Yarra

The Cremorne area was split into long north-south allotments and sold in 1846 and 1849, generally reflecting the existing street arrangement. Initially sold as agricultural lots, the land north of Balmain St became primarily residential, with schools, churches, shops and hotels while the south side attracted industry such as breweries and tanneries by the river.
A significant inclusion to the space between Balmain Street and then river was the Cremorne Gardens. Operating between 1853 and 1863, It was a ‘pleasure garden’ modelled on the Cremorne Gardens in London. During those gold rush years was quite a draw card for people looking for entertainment. Apart from the ornamental gardens, it included bars, dance pavilions, menageries and attractions that included fireworks and hot air balloon launches. The railway to Brighton bisected Cremorne in 1857 and briefly included a Cremorne station at Balmain St to service the Gardens. The railway to Hawthorn in 1860 has since contributed to Cremorne as an enclave, developing its own distinctive identity.

Proposed railway lines through Sth Richmond/Cremorne
Council & Planning

Melba Candidates for Yarra CC

Each of the candidates for the Melba ward were asked to respond to six questions relating to issues pertinant to Cremorne. These are the questions and responses:


1.Do you think Cremorne is in a healthy community and infrastructure state? What is your vision of an ideal Cremorne?
2.How do you feel about the traffic and movement issues in Cremorne? How would you resolve concerns related to congestion, pedestrian access and competition for parking?
3.What opportunities do you see for creating additional public spaces in Cremorne?
4.Cremorne contains a varied mix of residential and commercial properties with a recent and growing inclusion of large multi-storey developments. What tensions or opportunities do you see here and how would you address them?
5.If you received a $1 million grant to use for Cremorne any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
6.What neighborhood do you live in? Where are your favorite places to spend time in Cremorne?


Well done on forming an incorporated community group.
I hope I can answer your questions to your satisfaction
Cremorne as you are probably aware now falls under the planning jurisdiction of the VPA.

What seems to be missing is ;
a) link with the local planning authority – Council
b) Infrastructure that is keeping pace with development
c) open space
The issues I see is that City of Yarra has not successfully invested in strategic planning in Richmond with interim DDO’s for Bridge Rd and Victoria St still waiting for public exhibition
The long awaited Swan St structure plan is yet to go to a panel hearing….how many years!!!!
Consequently there appears to be a breakdown of trust between the two planning agencies. This needs to be rectified. Cremorne needs to be developed within a multi agency collaboration that meets the needs and aspirations of local residents as well as Government policies.
If I were to be elected , I am seeking to drive strategic planning reform which includes cross agency collaboration of the Cremorne precinct and dealing with the many frustrations of residents.
As for $1million grants -don’t get me started. But be aware Council is looking at a huge hole in its budget of the order ~20% and there won’t bee any Millions.
I understand there is proposed pedestrian link to Sth Yarra that will connect Cremorne
Happy to follow up your position if I were to get elected – but Cremorne is well and truly on my radar and I do have open door access with the Minister.
If junior candidates are elected, nothing will happen for another 4 years.


Thank you for your email and as best I can here are answers for you:
First and foremost, let me say that the four drivers for my platform are Health of Community, Open Spaces, Planned Development and Equity and Justice through Engagement. I have much to learn about the issues in Cremorne but I do feel strongly that unplanned development, a lack of engagement with residents in Cremorne by previous Councillors, far fewer open spaces than elsewhere in the Ward and City, coupled with excessive traffic flows; parts of Cremorne being used as a rat run to the Freeway, narrow streets, an exceedingly high inflow and outflow during the week of workers and historical factors which saw Cremorne becoming a convenient location for Industries allowed to dump waste into the river have resulted in this part of the Ward being the one in most need of Council attention, support and aggressive actions to ensure health for residents. If Melba is treated at times as the poor Cousin in the City of Yarra then Cremorne surely is treated as the poor Cousin of the Ward. And I say this not as a resident of Cremorne. I live on the Eastern side if Church St.
But I need to stress that I would have much to learn from the Cremorne Community and people like yourself and one other person who has also reached out from Cremorne and who I will be responding to in similar vein albeit they have asked slightly different questions. I am articulate, passionate and fearless in advocating for people and causes I believe in and offer simply this much; I will give voice to your concerns.

  1. Do you think Cremorne is in a healthy community and infrastructure state? What is your vision of an ideal Cremorne?
    No. I think the history of Cremorne provides great insight into the complexities facing the suburb today. It was, as I am sure you know developed to serve commerce and industry and what residences were eventually established were created to provide workers in industry close access to their places of work. Today I would argue there is still an imbalance at both State Government and Council level when it comes to planning, prioritising and decision making in terms of seeing Cremorne primarily as a great place to do business for the high tech and creative industries with residents issues and concerns coming as a secondary issue. The fact that there are most probably five times as many ‘workers’ coming in and out of the already very congested pocket of 3121 as there are residents actually living there makes me concerned as to what voice those residents actually have in the decision-making processes at State and City Council level. I am for Planned Development but do believe:
    A) Previous Councils have not asserted themselves strongly enough when it comes to allowing developers exceptions and exemptions
    B) Melba Ward seems to be a Ward in the process of overdevelopment and more generally that
    C) The playing field between developers and residents is not always an even one
    My vision for the city applies equally to Cremorne and that is: “A community united in kindness, diversity and compassion. A place where random acts of kindness are the norm; where diversity is embraced and celebrated and where we measure our worth by how we treat the most vulnerable. And, a Council serving the community without excuse or exception”.
  2. How do you feel about the traffic and movement issues in Cremorne? How would you resolve concerns related to congestion, pedestrian access and competition for parking?
    Huge and complex issues and massively compounded by Swan Street through traffic into and out of the CBD. I do think that there need to be measures put in place to reduce traffic; better regulate speeds and minimise the number of trucks moving through Cremorne. In addition, given that streets are blocked by commercial bins in contravention, as I understand, of permitting requirements I will be unrelenting in demanding of Council Compliance Officers that there be no excuse or exception in applying penalties where permit conditions are not met. Cremorne has such limited public space and most of what public space there is, are footpaths. They need and deserve to be protected to the full letter of the law.
  3. What opportunities do you see for creating additional public spaces in Cremorne?
    Short of placing conditions on developers that they work to this end I think there are realistically fewer opportunities than in Richmond and Burnley. I like many of the ideas put forward by Streets Alive and while I could not give definitive answers to all of their questions on the Candidate Questionnaire, I have made clear that the reason for this is that to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ given the diversity of areas and conditions across Melba is impossible. That said, I think Cremorne would be an ideal part of the Ward to fund and trial, in consultation with residents, many of the Streets Alive ideas and initiatives as well as any ideas local residents have. Given the limitations however I think the immediate issues to address are to ensure ease of safe walking and cycling for people in Cremorne to access other parts of the Ward.,Vision,use%20public%20transport%20or%20drive.
  4. Cremorne contains a varied mix of residential and commercial properties with a recent and growing inclusion of large multi-story developments. What tensions or opportunities do you see here and how would you address them?
    I am wary of multi-story developments; concession on overlays and at best could be described as a development sceptic who would need to be convinced well beyond reasonable doubt that any further development of a high-rise nature would be a good thing for Cremorne. When I am asked about the third platform I am standing on which is Planned Development and how I define what I would do my answer is to redress the uneven playing field in the contest between developers and residents where I think most mechanisms of State and Local Government and indeed VCAT seem to favor the developers even where residents have serious concerns. Council needs to assert and win greater authority to fight for residents and this is a huge battle which I think Independent Councilors will be better able to fight.
  5. If you received a $1 million grant to use for Cremorne any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
    I am always open to ideas and am offering myself not as the person with the best ideas but with the clearest and best voice to advocate for those who do have great ideas and so I will defer here to an idea which I think has great merit. And a simple answer to your question: I would suggest to the residents that the following idea be funded and take my lead from them: 
  6. What neighborhood do you live in? Where are your favorite places to spend time in Cremorne?
    I live near the old Channel Nine Studios and Burnley Park. I do my grocery shopping at Coles on Swan. My family are devoted to Messina gelato (albeit I am not a sweet tooth); I love the Avenue Bookstore and do most of my book shopping there. I do sometimes buy on-line but it just cannot replace the smell and feel and warmth of a good bookstore with shelf upon shelf of marvels to behold. WE do enjoy a Meatballs Meal from time to time and being of South African origin I am a sucker for their biltong. Bertie’s is my butcher of choice and my partner is devoted to his Chili Beef sausages. We are a family who treat ourselves on a monthly basis to trying a local restaurant and have loved evenings at Marcella; Feast of Merit and Noir (of course this year has changed much of what we used to do ☹). We have indulged the occasional birthday with a cake from the Cremorne St. Bakery but confession here, we more regularly buy at the baker just east of Church opposite the BP on Swan, The Swan Street Bakery.


  1. Do you think Cremorne is in a healthy community and infrastructure state? What is your vision of an ideal Cremorne
    Right now it’s a mess of greedy developers moving into rezone and squeeze in as many apartments as they can without adequate parking and Council is allowing them to do it in the absence of a plan for Cremorne.
  2. How do you feel about the traffic and movement issues in Cremorne? How would you resolve concerns related to congestion, pedestrian access and competition for parking?
    We need an emergency Local Area Place Making Plan (LAPM) for Cremorne as it’s the fastest changing part of Yarra. It’s outrageous that the Greens and ALP scrapped ALL LAPMs in the recent budget voted on August 7th. If elected, will push to introduce one at the first post-election meeting in mid November this year. This will allow locals to work with Council traffic engineers to make the changes necessary to improve safety, pedestrian access and parking. At the moment it’s one big construction site where the biggest trucks dominate at the expense of local safety.
  3. What opportunities do you see for creating additional public spaces in Cremorne?
    If we had density controls it would have right height limit with any extra only permitted if the developer gave back with public open space, a percentage of affordable housing. This is how planning is done in many major cities overseas and should be replicated here.
  4. Cremorne contains a varied mix of residential and commercial properties with a recent and growing inclusion of large multi-storey developments. What tensions or opportunities do you see here and how would you address them?
    We need a structure plan for Cremorne – Yarra’s fastest changing suburb to ensure there are rules for height, open space, environmental standards in new buildings. The alternative is an anarchic developers’ playground.
  5. If you received a $1 million grant to use for Cremorne any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
    New open space and a child care centre
  6. What neighborhood do you live in? Where are your favorite places to spend time in Cremorne?
    I live in Richmond, Church St and Bridge Rd end. Some of the places I like to go are “LaManna & Sons”, “Top Paddock” and often go for walks with my dog to Petbarn to pick up some treats then hang out at the pocket park nearby before the bridge.


Thank you for reaching out. As a child I was never allowed past Dimmy’s and certainly not into Cremorne (I lived in the Rising Sun Hotel and then a house in Burnley). Mum and Dad used to tell us that the factories were dangerous (it wasn’t until later that we learnt about some of the more infamous residents)! So I have only discovered Cremorne in the past few years – thanks to the outlets and eateries.
I’m a bit concerned about the infrastructure state in Cremone, as it appears to be growing by stealth. Also the only public green space in Cremorne is in front of the Top Paddock restaurant, therefore action on creating outdoor space is necessary. Whilst it would be lovely to have something like Barkley Gardens or Golden Square, I’m not sure where that could be achieved. However, Is that what the Cremorne residents want though, would they prefer smaller scattered spaces? This new council will be about advocating for the residents not the council.
I am aware that the movement of trucks can have a negative impact on the residents and this is something the council should consider when assessing new planning applications. I will review the current guidelines regarding construction vehicle movements and ensure it is monitored. With regard to ongoing movement, the whole area of Cremorne needs to be reviewed from a “what is needed and what is wanted perspective”. Any consideration changes will be presented to the residents prior to one cent of funds on construction being spent – the damage down to the relationship between the Council and Residents in Elizabeth Street has seen a lot of trust being lost, therefore it is most important that this be recovered.
Also the only public green space in Cremorne is in front of the Top Paddock restaurant, therefore action on creating outdoor space is necessary. Again what do the residents want and what is available for the council to create this? Work in conjunction with developers and review current council land.
Too much construction in a small space does not address the needs of all stakeholders, therefore we need to think smartly about how this is managed in terms of managing stainability of the rights of residents of space and amenities and the need to bring industries into the area. Are they needed? Are the right type of industries being induced to come into the area? Why are the residents here? What do they want to maintain about their neighbourhood?
What do the residents want to use this grant for? I would like to see some parklands, Cremorne was named for Cremorne Gardens, yet there is barely a blade of public grass in the area. I do love the murals that are springing up around the streets, and believe this could be a real draw card for day visitors. Who could arrive by train (need more stopping at East Richmond), tram or bike.
I live in Church Street, and love Top Paddock, Miss Frankies, and friends in Cubbitt and Balmain Streets. From where we wander up to La Manna (great addition to the area) or another ‘find’ they want to introduce use to. The Cherry Tree has evolved into a great corner pub, and I look forward to it opening and being able to provide entertainment again.


Cremorne is a wonderful part of Yarra, though it has a history of limited investment by Council. Cremorne and Yarra more broadly face a range of challenges and opportunities, including growth and development pressures, transport matters, and provision of open space. In light of the pandemic, climate emergency, and financial constraint, now is a really important time to reflect and look at how we can do things differently.
As a town planning, transport and urban design professional, I’m passionate about creating better places for people. I’m one of two candidates with qualifications in town planning (that I’m aware of), have worked within local and state government work environments for over a decade, and currently work as a strategic planner and urban designer at another Council.
Whilst in the capacity of Project Manager at the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), I reviewed the Swan St Structure Plan five or six years ago, with the subsequent Planning Scheme Amendment (Amendment C191) to introduce permanent controls yet to gain approval.
Recognising the vibrant mixed use nature of Cremorne, and the emergence of the Enterprise Precinct, I’m really keen to establish a long term plan with the community, stakeholders, and State Government, to improve amenity for residents, and better plan for current and further needs.
Many Councils have already established 20 year strategies (including where I work now), and I feel Cremorne and Yarra more broadly needs a similar long term plan and vision.

Good question. Given where we’re at on a planning front and everything outlined above, I’d be looking to channel the funds towards the development of a long term plan and vision for Cremorne and Yarra more broadly. Planning work and associated studies/ reports (transport, built form, wind, etc) is expensive, and it’s one of the reasons why there are currently inadequate controls in place.
If there were funds left over from this process, I would be looking to channel them towards the detailed design and delivery of streetscape works/ public realm improvements (which would be identified through the above process).

I’m a long term Yarra local, having lived in Richmond (Erin St), Fitzroy North, Princes Hill and Carlton North. I have rented throughout this time and currently reside in Carlton North, though would love to buy locally if the stars align.
In terms of favourite local eateries, Messina would have to be up there (hello Super Dulce De Leche and Pistachio Praline), and noting it’s on the other side of Swan St, I’m a fan of Feast of Merit.
Walking the streets (noting how narrow many of the footpaths are) is always interesting. There are so many fab buildings – old factories, little cottages, and a range of contemporary additions.
I hope the above goes some way to address your questions. If elected to Council, I look forward to the prospect of working with CCI and the local community to progress some great outcomes for Cremorne and Yarra more broadly.
For those interested, please find Yarra Greens achievements, policies, and candidate profiles here
If you’d like to discuss any of the matters I’ve outlined, please do give me a bell.


In answer to your questions these are the things that I have found or see as answers/solutions to issues.

  1. What will you do to protect Cremorne residents and residential streets from the high volumes of business and commercial and business traffic including trucks, particularly on interface zones?
    Cremorne is a beautiful cul-de-sac of Yarra which must be protected. I would review the plan prepared by VPA and CoY prior to commencement of any implementation to ensure adequate consultation was provided for the planning. I would seek a review of the outcome tabled particularly around the business growth and activity and how side effects including traffic and trucks affect community and are not addressed in the VPA/CoY/SGV outcome (
    I do not believe that Cremorne is built to hold large volume traffic and trucks and would work to a solution that would benefit residents but also allow businesses to operate well; such alternate routes, access and times as in many major cities. I would definitely oppose overdevelopment without appropriate parking for residents to ease the stress on the streets.
  2. Cremorne footpaths are narrow and obstructed by commercial bins 24/7 in commercial zones in breach of planning permits and Council local laws (including Gwynne St, Stephenson St, Cubitt St, Dover Street). How will you ensure footpaths are not obstructed by bins?
    The challenges faced by community with bins and planning permit breaches must be addressed with education and enforcement-regular and heightened as required. This is a cultural shift for business to learn to work with the community and in consideration of their needs. Just like residents bins should not be left on footpaths, neither is business allowed to do this. Council must address this and not pick and choose whom where and when they will enforce.
    Cremorne was mainly industrial but as that has changed to more and more residential, Council and bylaws must keep up with these changes.
  3. All new developments have large numbers of bicycle parking yet nothing supports this in the local road network. How will you provide safe bicycle routes throughout Cremorne?
    The VPA plan has identified the priority for better and safer access to bike paths and pedestrian pathways. I would work with the community to ensure their valuable insight is maximised to create the best routes, safe routes, reduced speed limits and is implemented with community support. It is all about community consultation and involvement. I vehemently believe that residents should have the largest say in their community.
  4. What suburb do you live in?
    I in Richmond, part of Melba Ward. I have lived here for 20 years and prior to that I grew up in the suburb and went to both Primary and High School here. I Have owned 3 cafes in Melba and been on the board of a numbers of NFPs.
  5. If you don’t live in Melba Ward, how can you understand resident’s concerns?
    I totally agree. I believe strongly that to understand a Community’s concerns truly, a Councillor must live in the area. Sadly only about four of those standing in this election are actually living in Melba. Others are in other wards where conflict of interest will certainly arise or have been moved into the area short term by their political parties. It is upto the citizens to discern who these are. Transparency is not really forthcoming sadly.
  6. What political party are you affiliated with?
    I am an independent. I am not, nor has been a member of any political party. My main platform is to get rid of Political Parties out of Council as their interests are not those of the people but of their Political leaders and affiliations as has been witnessed by the disregard and ignorance that they have shown us and our concerns. My views on this are on my FB page and on all my literature.
  7. Do you have a full or part time job that you will need to carry out in addition to Council duties?
    I work as a speaker and consultant now so my time is flexible and geared towards directing my efforts to the benefit of my community.


I think Cremorne has a strong and active local community identity and benefits from a great location in terms of the vibrancy of Swan St, access to public transport and proximity to major sport and recreational opportunities, including the Yarra River. Being identified as a significant enterprise precinct and coming under increasing pressure from commercial and residential development, there are however a number of related community and infrastructure challenges that mainly revolve around the limited and highly contested street / public space and impacts to local amenity.

Traffic congestion and the conflicts between vehicle movements (including significant construction traffic), cyclists and pedestrians in what is very limited and highly contested space is a significant problem. I believe we need to fast track the necessary place making plans and, in particular, delivery of resultant projects in order to address these issues ASAP. This would build on the work already completed in the Victorian Planning Authority’s Cremorne Place Implementation Plan, with the Issues and Opportunities Paper having been released in November 2019.

Increased public space via the reallocation of street space, identification of under-utilised spaces that could be repurposed and via planning requirements on provision via development.

Tensions exist in terms of the scale and appropriateness (or otherwise) of the built form that is emerging or proposed via development, the significant related impacts on local area amenity and the long term consequences to the Cremorne community if these challenges / tensions aren’t managed effectively. The impacts of decisions made now will have a lasting (decades long) impact on Cremorne. Opportunities exist from the high quality jobs, enhanced amenity, better / safer transport / movement opportunities and economic activity that could result from well managed place making.

Implementing the priority place making projects I referred to above, which would likely include the provision of more public green space and safer active transport options as a minimum.

My wife and I (with our 2 greyhounds) live in North Richmond. Most of our time spent in Cremorne is at KX Pilates on Swan St, live gigs at the Corner (not technically Cremorne, but across the road :-)), various shops / cafes (big fan of My Oh My) and along the Yarra River.


  1. I want Cremorne to be a place people want to live, work and visit. A place where our businesses are thriving, our community is engaged and their concerns are herard. I want more open space for the community to use. Far too long the State planning influence on Cremorne has been an issue. I would like to harness the tech and co working businesses and create a Tech Hub with open street concepts that make Cremorne a more livable community.
  2. Cremorne does support a lot of the traffic movements through Church and Swan and the streets in between. I would like to see more investment in Active Transport – bikes, scooters and more.
  3. I am a big supporter of open public space. We need more of them. From community gardens to parks and more. Council should be the ones that lead the work with developers and business to explore what public space can be created for the community.
  4. Communities in large metropolitan areas are being faced with this question right across the world. How do you maintain the character and culture of a community whilst still allowing growth and development? It’s clear the balance needs to be stuck right here to ensure that new developments are all approved inline with community expectations, and not that of developers or outside stakeholders. It needs to be sustainable and always keep inline with the character that Cremorne is famous for. Striking the balance between growing and keeping that loved character will be the challenge, however as I have advocated across most of my policy positions, communication and consultation along the way will be key.
  5. I’d like to sit down with the residents and first ask them the question as well. I am a big fan of duplicating the work City of Melbourne is doing with Little Streets – closing streets and opening them up to the people. Perhaps local street festivals to support businesses and create a sense of community with local residents.
  6. 54 Neptune Street Richmond. Few of my favourite places are F45 on Cremorne Street and Coe & Coe


  1. Do you think Cremorne is in a healthy community and infrastructure state? What is your vision of an ideal Cremorne
    Our ideal vision of Cremorne is a well connected suburb with multiple transport options, open green space and harmony between businesses and residents. If elected, Julie and I will work with the community to move towards this vision.
    However, as prospective local representatives, it’s not our place to tell you if your community and it’s associated infrastructure is in a healthy condition – It’s our job to listen to your lived experience and advocate your views through council processes.
    Having said that, Cremorne has a long history as an industrial powerhouse of the inner city, whether it be its previous industrial manufacturing or in contemporary technology focused industries.
    Given this strong history we believe that many of these issues have always been present but we can’t deny the current rate of transformation being seen in Cremorne is often absent in addressing these concerns.
    Our vision for the Cremorne community revolves around addressing the following key issues that many locals have expressed concern about including:
    oEnsuring equitable access to parking spaces for residents, visitors and workers.
    •Rat-running through the neighbourhood
    o Many residents have expressed issues with vehicles using the neighbourhood as a shortcut to access the freeway or Hoddle Street, or byass the arterial roads like Church and Swan Streets.
    •Lacking open space.
    oThe Cremorne area is completely lacking in quality open-space, a problem that will only get worse as more commercial developments complete and staff begin to frequent the neighbourhood.
    •Large Companies moving into the area seeking larger and larger buildings.
    oNaturally companies seeking to move into the area are good for our local economy as their staff will utilise the local service economy within the area and along Swan Street. But there is a growing need to balance the needs of local residents and the needs to encourage economic activity in our local area.
  2. How do you feel about the traffic and movement issues in Cremorne? How would you resolve concerns related to congestion, pedestrian access and competition for parking?
    Having spoken to residents, we get the view that Cremorne has several issues with traffic and movement. As a growing suburb we believe Cremorne needs good transport infrastructure to give people a whole range of options for transport. The CPIP issues paper has identified areas where walking and cycling routes can be improved, and where public transport access points can be improved to lower the number of cars on our roads.
    There will always be issues with car parking in such a densely populated neighbourhood, but alternatives including the improvement to public and active transport identified in CPIP, plus other initiatives like vehicle sharing can minimise congestion.
    Finally, rat running adds to the congestion in Cremorne. This is part of a larger traffic management issue which we will be happy to advocate for if elected.
  3. What opportunities do you see for creating additional public spaces in Cremorne?
    We think there are two issues here: one is improving access to the existing green space, though admittedly these are outside Cremorne. This includes Gosch’s Paddock to the west and Barkly Gardens to the east. The second is to create more public space within Cremorne. The CPIP issues paper suggests exploring the idea of greening up government owned carparks and opening them to public access, as well as laneways. If elected, we will follow up with these ideas.
  4. Cremorne contains a varied mix of residential and commercial properties with a recent and growing inclusion of large multi-storey developments. What tensions or opportunities do you see here and how would you address them?
    The tensions with these developments are increased traffic and population commuting in and out every day. The opportunities are that small businesses will thrive as the employees shop, eat and drink in this precinct. We have mentioned the strategies for managing the transport tensions in an earlier question.
  5. If you received a $1 million grant to use for Cremorne any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
    With the current COVID conditions, we would use the grant to set up outdoor dining places that local cafes, restaurants and businesses can access to resume operation. We would do this to kick start the local economy and help the small businesses in the area.
  6. What neighborhood do you live in? Where are your favorite places to spend time in Cremorne?
    Sandeep and his wife have just bought their first home on Burnley Street. Prior to this they lived on Coppin Street, near Swan Street and would often head through Cremorne. The Cremone-to-city part of the Yarra trail is beautiful to bike or walk!
    Sandeep and Julie also enjoy the local shops, bars and restaurants including Glasshouse Inside for plant shopping, Cherry Tree and South of the Wall.
Public Green Space in Cremorne

Kangan TAFE site

There used to be a decent patch of grassy land on what is now the TAFE carpark. This was the playground of what was the Cremorne St Primary School. This was replaced by a much smaller grassy patch between buildings that were newly erected when the TAFE expanded.  This is an example of where green public open space has been diminished.  The establishment of an education facility such as Kangan TAFE in association with a locally historically significant site provided great potential to create a wonderful community asset.  What we have now is the old primary school building sitting sadly immersed within carparks. 

The old school playground was once an open grassy space. Could we do better than this?

Part of the difficulty might be coordinating with different governing bodies such as the Dept of Education, but perhaps that could still be overcome with some further imagination and perseverance. 

The warehouse building on 69 Cremorne St is an unfortunate presence immediately beside the heritage building. It currently appears to be occupied temporarily.  Could there be an opportunity to open up the site while highlighting the old school building?

The warehouse at no 69 sits between the old school and another carpark. Possibilities for

The Cremorne and Church Street Precinct Urban Design Framework makes several recommendations, which include:


Work with Kangan Batman TAFE College and DET (Department of Education and Training) to:

Provide and integrate facilities that reinforce the site’s role as the focus for Cremorne’s business and residential community and to complement the TAFE functions, e.g. education and childcare.

Develop public plazas around the former Cremorne Street State School buildings to support a variety of local recreational needs.

Encourage the improvement of east-west mid-block pedestrian links through the TAFE site, both north and south of the former Cremorne Street State School buildings.

Install a formal pedestrian crossing (a ‘zebra’ crossing) on Cremorne Street at the Kangan Batman TAFE.

Provide for vehicular access from Dove Street through the TAFE site car parks to Cremorne Street to eliminate the need for trucks reversing in Dove Street.

Create active building frontages, especially along plaza spaces and widened footpaths.

Protect the significance of heritage buildings with restoration works and appropriate uses.

Encourage public multi-level parking structures under buildings or open spaces. Reduce or eliminate open air parking where possible.

Maintain a low-rise built form character consistent with the industrial and commercial buildings in the surrounding area to complement existing heritage buildings, with a maximum of three storey (11m) frontages along streets. Any additional height, to a maximum of 15m, should be set back to be subservient to the streetscape and to avoid any additional overshadowing of nearby streets and public spaces;

Ensure that new development is of high quality architecture and design details; and

Ensure that through block pedestrian movement and permeability is maintained and improved in any redevelopment of the site.

Figure illustrating potential to ‘Develop public plazas around the former Cremorne Street State School buildings to support a variety of local recreational needs.’ (CCSP UDF, p14 )
The existing area that was recommended to be a public ‘plaza’ is currently more about cars, bitumen and bins.
Part of Figure 3 – Kangan Batman Tafe Sub-Precinct Building Envelopes, indicating some of the recommendations (CCSP UDF, p15 )

Kangan Batman TAFE Sub Precinct
The TAFE now provides little amenity except for employees and students, but it offers important opportunities both for open space and community facility provision. Protection of the former Cremorne Street State School buildings’ heritage significance requires retention of open space around them, and so the existing car parks have potential as public spaces that would be useful for students as well as the wider community. The TAFE site is a central location that would be ideal for local facilities serving Cremorne, such as childcare facilities which could be integrated into the TAFE.  

(CCSP UDF, p14)

Create new public Spaces.
Recommendation 102. Improve the car parks around the former Cremorne Street State School buildings at the Kangan Batman TAFE to work as public spaces. Engage in dialogue with various State departments, in particular Vic Track and the Department of Education and Training (DET), to provide the best development outcome for the Stephenson Street car park site and the TAFE site, whereby the Stephenson St car park is developed for a commercial or mixed use building with car parking, and the current car park in the TAFE converted to public open space.

(CCSP UDF, p24)

Recommendation 110. Investigate opportunities for partnerships between the Kangan Batman TAFE and Council to create a neighbourhood community centre based around heritage buildings and associated open spaces on the TAFE site. Investigate public uses that can be integrated into the campus.

(CCSP UDF, p24)

Did it get too hard to pursue the recommendations in the CCSP UDF?  Can we look at them again?

Public Green Space in Cremorne

Urban Design Framework

Yarra City Council has already put a good deal of thought into local planning, as demonstrated in planning schemes that have been developed in the last few years. I have felt quite encouraged by the constructive ideas in these documents.  I have become more cynical when I see the actual results on the ground.  An example of this is the CREMORNE AND CHURCH STREET PRECINCT URBAN DESIGN FRAMEWORK (CCSP UDF) which was adopted 2007.  There are many suggestions in this plan to improve public open space in Cremorne but few have materialized. As this extract shows, things have moved on in the last thirteen years. There is a recognition of the need for ‘useable public spaces’ but opportunities have been missed.

Open Spaces and Community Facilities

There are few useable public spaces within Cremorne, and the expansive parklands to the west are relatively inaccessible for casual use. The few local public open spaces are small and relatively inaccessible sites at fringes of the precinct, including a park next to the Monash Freeway at the south end of Cubitt Street, and one next to Adolph Street near East Richmond Station. Open space facilities within the Kangan Batman TAFE campus are extremely modest. The precinct also lacks local community facilities.

Some major development sites also have the potential to provide sheltered pocket parks. Modest set-backs along the south sides of Gough and Blanche Streets would improve pedestrian circulation and, with appropriate redevelopment along them, could provide attractive north-facing spaces for seating and other casual uses.

Introducing space around heritage buildings in the Malthouse complex would enhance their legibility and apparent significance and enable their use as activity hubs for this precinct. Such open spaces would also be of value as a buffer between nearby low-rise houses and new buildings on large redevelopment sites, and would also work as links through the site, thereby improving pedestrian and cyclist access to the Yarra River and Capital City Trail to the south of the precinct.

(CCSP UDF, p26 )
Public Green Space in Cremorne

Spaces for Livability

Back in 2015 The Age published a research study conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and Tract Consultants that ranked every suburb in Melbourne by a set of criteria that contributed to ‘liveability’. Along with a long list of rankings from 1 to 321, there was a nice colour-coded map that graphically showed how each suburb fared. It predictably showed lots of deep blue ‘Liveable’ suburbs close to the city with to the less liveable yellow, orange and red suburbs further out, particularly in lower socio-economic regions.

Cremorne showed up quite distinctly on the map as an island of yellow in a sea of blues and greens, A strange anomaly smack in the middle of the city.  Cremorne was ranked 135, between Cheltenham and Braybrook. The rest of Richmond made it to 67. Most of the rest of Yarra fared better again: Collingwood at 60, Abbotsford at33, Carlton at 15.

The criteria to determine these rankings included all the things that make inner city suburbs attractive places to live – public transport, shopping, cafes, restaurants etc.  Cremorne shares all these attributes with the rest of Richmond. The key aspects that it would appear to fail on is ‘public open space’ and ‘tree cover’. ‘Road congestion’ might be another factor though there is plenty of that in the rest of Richmond.  Planning for appropriate green, open public space in Cremorne has been neglected

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Public Green Space in Cremorne

Public Spaces for Cremorne

I’ve lived in what is now called Cremorne for over thirty years and have seen a great deal of change in the neighbourhood. There has never been much evidence of careful urban planning, apart from a progressive encouragement to include commerce and industry, which has led to an eclectic mishmash of character, uses and architecture.

These days what was once a depressed industrial backwater inhabited by psychopathic drug lords is now a funky design precinct where creative industry and young hipster families are eager to move in.  It is now seen as a desirable suburb close to the CBD with its own distinctive vibe.  This means more people in the streets, both workers and residents.  Also, the roads are now properly paved (mostly), there are more street trees and there’s a bit of extra street-scaping on Balmain St. However, overall public space, if anything, has shrunk.

Cremorne is now increasingly attracting more and larger developments for people to live and work in. Should we be seeing greater Council and developer contributions to public open space for the area?  

Streets of Cremorne

Streets of Cremorne

History & Culture of Cremorne