Of all things that sprang to mind when I decided to write about the many differences that divide the inner city of Melbourne between the north and south, was how many times I’d tiredly listened to my friends say “I don’t go north/south of the river.” Period. End of conversation. They weren’t gonna make it to said party/exhibition opening, even dear friend’s birthday dinner.
Why is it that us Melburnian’s feel so strongly about this when really it’s a mere hop skip and a jump to both? So many of us identify ourselves by either side of the river. This dictates the clothes we wear, the places we hang, the parties we attend, the lifestyle’s we lead, modes of transport, it even extends to our political opinions. Seriously, it’s a sub Melbourne-Sydney rivalry.
So a bit about me. I’m 23 and in my first year of PR. I’ve worked full time in hospo for several years now, travelled to America, Europe, South East Asia and India and even had a brief stint studying Journalism (we didn’t get along too well). Having grown up in the north and also lived in the south I have a love for both, and when I’m sick of one, I just run away to the other.
Despite living on the north for the first eighteen years of my life, I always seemed to be crossing the river. School was in the south and so said ‘18th’s’ year 12 formals and what not were always on the other side. I was becoming one of those rare Melbourne breeds, ‘the fence sitter.’ An appreciation for what both had to offer began to blossom, and so it wasn’t long before I started to migrate south.
Richmond seemed like a good place to start for the first of many moves out of my parents’ house (I’m praying the latest is the third and final!) More watering holes than people made it a pretty appealing stomping ground. Close to both sides and next to the city. That lasted six months before I found myself back on the North.
Two months later, I was a devout Southsider, living above a shop on Greville Street. I love the buzz around Chapel Street, the excessive nightlife, the boutique shops lining Windsor and the southside lifestyle that comes with it. And the beach. How could I forget the beach? Perhaps the shining star of the south, beers along the St Kilda Esplanade at The StokeHouse, sitting outside the St Kilda Sea Baths, or rooftop at the St Kilda Yacht Club are hard to pass up on a beautiful summer’s day. I often think perhaps if you combined the north and the beach you’d have a winning combination.
After two years, the north called again and I found myself back home for the second time. I didn’t even recognise High street this time, two years and the place was like a foreign country to me. But I loved it, I had a whole new area to explore. I love the grunge of the north, dirty pubs like The Tote and The Evelyn are old favourites. And it’s so much more culturally diverse than the south. There’s deli’s a plenty, fruit and veg shops run by Italians and Greeks that don’t speak English, the Halal Butcher, and Sydney Rd Coburg feels like you’re delving into Aladdin’s Cave searching for hidden treasures.
However a year and half later, I’m back on the south, living above the shop directly opposite my old hood on Greville street, ready to give the south a crack for the second time.
So I’m putting the word out to all my friends and you readers, who do you love more? What are the best of both sides? And what does it take to make you cross to the other side?