A place for people.

The project’s site and its surrounding land possess a unique and multifaceted history. Over the years, the area has been home to a scope of communities and organisations, and has provided them with the resources and topography needed to thrive.

 

Where communities have long thrived.

Evening, Merri Creek’, Julian Ashton, 1882

Northcote resides on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri-willam people. The “Merri Merri” (today known as Merri Creek) was home to a clan of Woiwurrung speaking Wurundjeri-willam led by a man named Billibellary who played a prominent role in the early history of Aboriginal-European relations in Victoria. The clan camped here in the summer when the creek bared plentiful food supplies before travelling into the higher lands during cooler months. Merri Creek’s confluence with the Yarra River was a significant meeting point for the Wurundjeri-willam – a place where smaller groups within the clan would come together for ceremonial occasions and economic transactions. The site was also a traditional meeting point for more distant tribes when marriages were being arranged and a burial ground for clan-heads and fallen warriors.

The project’s site and its surrounding land possess a unique and multifaceted history. Over the last 150 years, the area has been home to a scope of communities and organisations, and has provided them with the resources and topography needed to thrive.

From approximately 1869 to 1873, the land to the north of Northcote Place was home to the Croxton Park Racecourse, one of the first racing clubs in Victoria to be independent of the Victoria Racing Club. Following its closure during the depression, it reopened in 1892 as the Fitzroy Racecourse. The site itself was occupied by the Hume Pipe Company from 1930 to 1972, whose general manager Jock Inglis was involved in building the water supplying pipeline between China and Hong Kong in 1934. At the end of the Gold Rush in 1887, the land that is now Northcote Golf Course (which is directly next to the north-west corner of Northcote Place) formed part of the Chinese Market Gardens. At the time, the market garden’s produce was highly-sought after at the Victoria Markets.

In the last decade, Northcote has evolved into one of Melbourne’s prominent cultural hubs. Combining elements of urban and suburban living, it has developed its own unique character – one of eclecticism, inclusivity and village charm.

Cultivating a rich cultural tapestry, Northcote has become the suburb of choice for artisans, designers, restaurateurs and musicians, exemplified by the host of establishments on thriving High Street. Frequent events, neighbourhood festivals and social enterprises foster a strong community spirit, allowing for connection and creation among locals.

In addition to community connection, Northcote is a sanctuary for connection to nature. Home to a myriad of parks, cycling paths and recreational amenities as well as Merri Creek and its surrounding vegetation, there is plenty of room to breathe here, providing an easy escape from the hustle and bustle when you need it. Equipped with progressive schools, abundant transport and connectivity to the rest of Melbourne, Northcote caters to all walks of life – reflected in the diverse nature of its community.

Just steps from Northcote Place, Merri Creek is a 60km waterway surrounded by lush bushland. In addition to being a place of recreation for the Northcote community, the creek plays a significant role in the preservation and regeneration of native flora and fauna.

A naturally rich postcode, Northcote fosters an easy outdoor lifestyle. Whether you’re taking a stroll along the Merri Creek Trail, pedalling your way around one of many bike paths, having a hit of golf or simply finding time to reconnect with the nature, options here are abundant.

Friends of Merri Creek

Friends of Merri Creek is a community group that has actively worked to restore and protect the natural oasis since 1988. Secretary Ray Radford spoke to us about why their work is so integral and ways to help.

Q: When and why was Friends of Merri Creek formed? What is the key focus of your work?

A: We’ve been working since 1988, but we officially formed in 1989. For many years the creek was a bit of a wasteland. It was undervalued and it wasn’t cared for. Our goal was to restore, regenerate and advocate for the creek, and we’re still doing that today through the engagement of volunteers. Merri Creek is a really significant part of our landscape – it’s home to many native species and Aboriginal archeology. As such, it should be cared for and valued by the community, which is what we aim to foster.

Q: Could you talk us through a few of your monthly events and the outcomes of these?

A: Planting is our most popular event, which has been really helpful with the regeneration of the creek as well as enriching biodiversity. We do this in the cooler months to give plants their best chance of getting established. We also organise weeding days, site maintenance days, litter cleanups and Streamteam water quality testing. Quite often we hold educational talks, walks and tours, where the community can learn about the flora and fauna of the area. There’s also bird watching surveys, which are a really great social activity.

Q: How can new developments in the area respect and support the ecology of Merri Creek?

A: It’s important that new developments are respectful of the creek by reducing things like storm water run off, pollution and litter. There should also be enough vegetation between the development and the creek so that it can still be used as a sanctuary by local fauna. We hope that new residents of the area will care for the creek, engage with and respect it so that it continues to be a peaceful, private retreat for the community and native species.

Q: How can residents of Northcote Place get involved with the regeneration of Merri Creek?

A: You don’t have to be a member of Friends of Merri Creek to get involved with our events. Just check out our website (friendsofmerricreek.org.au) and then roll on down. If you want to become a member of our committee you can reach out via the website. We’re always happy when people pick up litter whilst on their walks too. You can do that anytime, not just at our events!

Walking + Cycling Connections

Great Western Shimmy

Pedestrian and cycling paths will run through the site, providing a much needed connection along the Great Western Shimmy. This link allows locals to easily access the Merri Creek Trail, Northcote Golf Course, Merri Park and St Georges Road.

Merri Creek Trail

Starting at Dights Falls, this 21km trail runs directly beside the creek for most of the way and is perfect for more relaxed journeys encompassed by nature. A newly built bridge connects Beavers Road to the trail.

St Georges Road Trail

A popular cycling path providing a convenient link to the city and other pockets of the inner north, St Georges Road Trail spans 11 km, and can be accessed at the end of Beavers Road.

Through social enterprises, education and engagement, CERES are on a mission to make people fall in love with the earth again while cultivating a vibrant community and providing people with their daily needs.

Nestled next to Merri Creek, CERES is a community environment park comprising an organic grocery, garden, whole foods cafe and nursery. Pick up fresh produce grown on-site along with locally made bread, ethically sourced groceries, environmentally friendly cleaning products and free excess goods from backyard farmers.

CERES

We spoke to Sieta Beckwith about how CERES is transforming the local food economy and changing the way the community looks at economic and environmental sustainability.

Q: Could you outline the history of CERES and the overarching vision behind it?

A: CERES was established in 1982 on a former quarry and disused rubbish tip. Initially it was a place for unemployed people to grow veggies and set up income streams for themselves. Worm farming was one of the earliest initiatives. The community quickly realised the value of the place and the innovation happening there, and so local school groups were invited to come and learn about what they were doing. Some of the earliest solar panels in Victoria were installed, the state’s first recycling scheme, and probably the first “social enterprise” – the cafe was set up to feed the kids, with an oven saved from hard rubbish! CERES has always recognised that all areas of our lives are integrated and interact with each other: environmental, social, cultural, economic and spiritual. Our approach to learning and engagement tries to connect these areas of our lives, and starts with falling in love with the Earth again.

Q: Could you talk us through the ways CERES is encouraging people to ‘fall in love with the Earth again’?

A: It’s a practical as well as an intellectual and emotional approach. We want to engage heads, hearts and hands and there are different entry points for each person. Some people will come in and wander around the park, look at the chickens, gum trees and feel a sense of peace that is rare in an urban environment. Other people might do a course on organic gardening and fall in love with their own garden. Some might visit the grocery or nursery and find ways to live their own values by being able to access organic food, bulk items or seedlings for their gardens. We also have an extensive environmental education program for school students and teachers that involves groups of kids coming to CERES to learn about sustainability, as well as our educators heading out to schools and early learning centres across the state.

Q: Why is community engagement and connection so integral to the CERES mission?

A: The community is CERES, we are not separate from it! There is an unwritten aspect to our purpose related to “falling in love with the Earth again”, and that is we must also fall in love with each other. In order to challenge the multiple issues facing humanity, from bushfires to COVID-19 to poverty and beyond, we must learn how to be in the right relationship with each other as well as with the Earth.

Q: What are some of the workshops and courses offered at CERES?

A: Our adult learning programs are all part of the CERES School of Nature and Climate. We run single day workshops, short courses and longer immersive courses on many topics related to nature and climate. They include things like sustainable gardening, urban farming, cheese making, bread making, circular economy and permaculture. Some of these we’ve been able to offer online during social distancing requirements, and some we are putting into larger classrooms and outdoor spaces so we can meet in person. It’s a bit of a changing landscape at the moment and we are adapting as restrictions change.

Q: How do community gardens benefit both the community and local ecology?

A: Community gardens are a great way to grow healthy food, create food security, meet people and learn essential skills. If people are using organic gardening methods such as no pesticide use, making their own compost and saving seeds, then the soil fertility can be vastly improved over time. The gardens become a haven for beneficial insects like bees and other pollinators, worms and also increased water catchment. This can then attract birds, frogs and other species. Even if community gardens are small, they make a real difference to the soil and biodiversity in that piece of land, and obviously the surrounding land because it’s all connected.

Centrally located, Northcote Place enjoys easy connectivity to all of the area's major hubs.

Dining

  1. All Are Welcome
  2. Bicycle Thieves Cafe
  3. Brother Bon
  4. Buck Mulligan's
  5. Dojo Ramen Bar
  6. Estelle
  7. Farina 00 Wood Fired Pizza
  8. Gringo Vibes Mexican Cantina
  9. Japanese Kitchen Iroha
  10. Merri Cafe
  11. Mesob
  12. Milkwood
  13. New Day Rising
  14. Northcote Social Club
  15. Padre Coffee
  16. Pizza Meine Liebe
  17. Primo
  18. Tahina
  19. The Herbert Cafe
  20. The Que Club
  21. Tinker Northcote
  22. Welcome to Thornbury
  23. Wesley Anne
  24. Whole Lotta Love Bar
Shopping

  1. Cargocycles
  2. CERES Organic Grocery
  3. Coles
  4. Green Horse
  5. IGA (proposed)
  6. Northcote Bakeshop
  7. Northcote Plaza
  8. Obus
  9. Psarakos Market
  10. St George Cellars
  11. Terra Madre
  12. Vege Threads
Parks + Recreation

  1. All Nations Park
  2. Arise Studio Health
  3. Brunswick Velodrome
  4. Charge CrossFit
  5. Fleming Park
  6. Good Vibes Yoga
  7. Gumbri Park
  8. Inner Circle Rail Trail
  9. Jones Park
  10. Main Yarra Trail
  11. Merri Creek
  12. Merri Creek Trail
  13. Merri Park
  14. Northcote Public Golf Course
  15. Phillips Reserve
  16. St Georges Road Trail
  17. Westgarth Cinema
Education

  1. Croxton School
  2. Northcote High School
  3. Northcote Primary School
  4. St Joseph's School
Transport

  1. Croxton Station
  2. No.1 & 6 Trams
  3. No.11 Tram
  4. No.503 Bus
  5. No.508 Bus
  6. No.86 Tram
  7. No.96 Tram
  8. Northcote Station
Blending the latest names in Melbourne hospitality with authentic, long-standing institutions, Northcote’s dining scene is just like every other facet of the suburb – diverse. High Street is the culinary crescendo, home to everything from bustling cafes and relaxed pizzerias to critically acclaimed restaurants and food truck parks.

A trove of quirky boutiques, vintage shops, designer furniture and second-hand bookstores, High Street’s retail offering is eclectic and sustainability-focused. For grocery shopping, there’s the iconic Terra Madre, or head to Palace Westgarth Cinemas for a movie enjoyed among historic Art Deco architecture.

The Northcote neighbourhood balances cultural offerings with urban amenity, forming a generous selection for the local community. A place to play, explore or run daily errands, High Street is a hub of vibrant restaurants, live music venues, independent boutiques and family-owned grocers. Efficient public transport and bike paths are also threaded throughout the suburb along with an exemplary collection of schools.

Food + Drink

Estelle
243-245 High St, Northcote

From acclaimed chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett (Noma, Saint Crispin, Matilda), Estelle is a multifaceted eatery comprising a wine bar, courtyard and dining room. With a focus on seasonal produce, the menu is skewed towards refined Mediterranean flavours.

Northcote Social Club
301 High St, Northcote

A Melbourne institution, Northcote Social Club has become a fixture on Melbourne's live music scene. Beyond the band room, the recently refurbished bar area is a great place to relax with a craft beer and gourmet parma.

Buck Mulligans
217 High St, Northcote

Buck Mulligan’s is Northcote’s quintessential watering hole. In addition to whisky, the relaxed nook offers a comprehensive list of cocktails and Irish-inspired bar food. Grab a book off the shelf and slide onto one of the plush chairs as you sip on your beverage of choice.

Transport + Education

Tram no.11
St Georges Road, Northcote

A 6 minute walk down Beavers Road and you’ll reach the 11 tram stop. Hop on a tram here to be transported into Fitzroy North, Fitzroy and East Melbourne before arriving in the city in under 25 minutes.

St Georges Road Trail
St Georges Rd, Northcote

Weaving throughout the inner north, St Georges Road Trail is a popular 11km route for cyclists, joggers and walkers alike. The path is mostly flat terrain and connects to the Merri Creek Trail and Capital City Trail if you wish to extend your journey further.

Croxton Train Station
Spencer St + Stott St, Northcote

Just a 15 minute walk from Northcote Place, Croxton Station sits as part of the Mernda Line. From here, a train into the city takes just 20 minutes, stopping at Clifton Hill, Collingwood and Richmond along the way.

Croxton School
159 Beaconsfield Parade, Northcote

Enrolling students from prep to year 12, Croxton School is a specialist school catering for children with intellectual disabilities. It provides a safe, nurturing and engaging environment for students to reach their full potential.

Northcote Train Station
Herbert St + Hartington St, Northcote

Northcote Station is also a 15 minute walk from Northcote Place. Sitting as part of the Mernda line, jump off here on your way home from work and you’ll be a short stroll from the main stretch of High Street.

Northcote High School
19-25 St Georges Rd, Northcote

Northcote High School is a co-educational secondary school with a track record of consistently high student achievement. Offering a comprehensive curriculum and co-curricular program, living within the zone is greatly sought-after.

Want to know more?

For a detailed PDF document register now to download our Location Information Pack.

Register Now