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Melbourne/Western suburbs

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Western Suburbs of Melbourne includes the areas Footscray, Flemington and surrounds, Sunshine, Melton, Hobsons Bay, Wyndham, Altona, Williamstown, Point Cook, Footscray in Maribyrnong, Werribee in Wyndham, Caroline Springs, Sunshine, Melton, Keilor and Sydenham.

Understand[edit]

  • 1 Footscray. Long a working class area due to its close proximity to the factories and warehouses of Melbourne's nearby industrial centre, it is also home to a large concentration of the city's Vietnamese population and increasingly a hub for the growing East African community, home to many immigrants from Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea. Footscray is also notable as the setting of Russell Crowe's breakout 1992 film Romper Stomper, which dealt with a fictional gang of neo-nazi skinheads and their battle with the Vietnamese immigrants. Footscray is affectionately known by some Melbourne residents as "Footsy", "Footscrazy" and "Footscary". Footscray, Victoria on Wikipedia Footscray (Q5466574) on Wikidata
  • 2 Sunshine and Melton. are two of the major suburbs in the outer western suburbs of Melbourne. Historically, it has been considered the poorer, working-class side of the city. But more recently, there has been huge development and a notable improvement in the socio-economics of the area. Sunshine, Victoria on Wikipedia Sunshine (Q7641406) on Wikidata
  • 3 Wyndham. is a region and local council in the outer suburbs Melbourne. It is located to the south-west of the Melbourne CBD. Wyndham comprises a number of suburbs and towns. The seat of the council and primary settlement is Werribee, which holds the largest number of attractions and services. Point Cook, Werribee South, Hoppers Crossing and Wyndham Vale are other significant suburbs in the area. Wyndham is the third fastest growing area in Australia. City of Wyndham on Wikipedia City of Wyndham (Q1502429) on Wikidata
  • 4 Hobsons Bay. is a seaside area, just to the immediate south-west of Melbourne's city centre in. City of Hobsons Bay on Wikipedia City of Hobsons Bay (Q660298) on Wikidata
    • 5 Williamstown. The main tourist town in Hobsons Bay, a suburb steeped in an impressive history. The town was founded in 1835, before Melbourne itself, and served as the city's main harbour until the turn of the century. Today, it's a popular seaside suburb with a nautical feel, home to a number of both historic and modern ships and more fish and chip shops than you could wish for! Williamstown, Victoria on Wikipedia Williamstown (Q1012058) on Wikidata
    • 6 Spotswood. is another major tourist hub, home to the interactive Scienceworks museum, which sits along its foreshore. Spotswood, Victoria on Wikipedia Spotswood (Q1796979) on Wikidata
    • 7 Newport. is the area's bustling administrative centre Newport, Victoria on Wikipedia Newport (Q14935251) on Wikidata
    • 8 Altona. is another seaside suburb, and the home town of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Altona, Victoria on Wikipedia Altona (Q443946) on Wikidata

Get in[edit]

Map of Melbourne/Western suburbs

Footscray[edit]

  • 1 Footscray Station. can be easily reached from Southern Cross Station (on weekday mornings and weekends) or any City Loop station (on weekday afternoons) (in Melbourne's CBD) on the Werribee, Williamstown and Sunbury lines. If the train is not travelling via the City Loop, it is only a 6 minute train ride and most trains run express through the station before it, South Kensington. Footscray railway station on Wikipedia Footscray (Q5466579) on Wikidata

A number of frequent bus routes also operate from the CBD to Footscray. The 402 operates every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends from St Vincents Plaza through the inner-north suburb of Carlton to Footscray. The 220 also operates through Queen Street from Gardenvale to Sunshine via Footscray, operating every 15 minutes on weekdays.

While Footscray is not connected directly to the city by tram, the route 82 from Leeds Street, 150m from the train station, runs to the Moonee Ponds bus and tram interchange on Mount Alexander Road, which connects with trams to the city and north-western suburbs, with buses that run to the north-west and cut across the northern suburbs.

Wyndham[edit]

By train[edit]

  • 2 Werribee railway station. The Werribee railway line terminates at Werribee, with trains direct from the city. A number of other Werribee suburbs also have stations along the line. Check Public Transport Victoria for the latest timetables and service information. Werribee railway station on Wikipedia Werribee (Q7983586) on Wikidata

Some regional V/Line trains from Geelong will also stop at Werribee.

By bus[edit]

The Werribee Park Shuttle leaves from the National Gallery of Victoria in the city, and travels to many Wyndham sights and attractions; the stops are the Werribee Open Range Zoo, Victorian State Rose Garden, Shadowfax Winery, Mansion Hotel, Werribee Mansion and the RAAF Museum.

The bus departs at 9:30am (arrive by at least 9:20am) and returns mid-afternoon. Bookings are necessary. Adults cost $25, 10-14 years $20, 4-9 years $15 and under 4 years are free.

By road[edit]

The Princes Freeway conveniently connects most Wyndham suburbs to the city centre and Geelong. For the Werribee town centre, get off at the Duncans Road exit-ramp and turn right, about 30 minutes from the city.

Hobsons Bay[edit]

By train[edit]

The Werribee railway line terminates at Werribee, with trains direct from the city. A number of other Werribee suburbs also have stations along the line. Check Public Transport Victoria for the latest timetables and service information.

Some regional V/Line trains from Geelong will also stop at Werribee.

By bus[edit]

The Werribee Park Shuttle leaves from the National Gallery of Victoria in the city, and travels to many Wyndham sights and attractions; the stops are the Werribee Open Range Zoo, Victorian State Rose Garden, Shadowfax Winery, Mansion Hotel, Werribee Mansion and the RAAF Museum.

The bus departs at 9:30am (arrive by at least 9:20am) and returns mid-afternoon. Bookings are necessary. Adults cost $25, 10-14 years $20, 4-9 years $15 and under 4 years are free.

By road[edit]

The Princes Freeway conveniently connects most Wyndham suburbs to the city centre and Geelong. For the Werribee town centre, get off at the Duncans Road exit-ramp and turn right, about 30 minutes from the city.

See[edit]

Royal Hotel at intersection of Barkly, Nicholson, Hopkins and Droop Streets, Footscray

Forty per cent of Footscray's residents were born outside Australia, hailing from 135 countries and speaking more than 80 languages. This incredible diversity has fostered a vital street culture like no other in Melbourne.

  • 1 Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland Street. Non stop art exhibitions and an endless list of music gigs and theatre shows. In summer outdoor film screenings take place on the banks of the Maribyrnong River.
  • 2 VU at MetroWest, 138 Nicholson Street, +61 3 9919 7043, e-mail: . 9am-5pm Mon-Fri. A community art space run by Victoria University, whose main Footscray campus is a bit further south along Nicholson Street. Features community and student exhibitions. Free.
  • 3 Trocadero Art Space, Level 1, 119 Hopkins Street. 12pm - 5pm Wed - Sat. Small art gallery upstairs. Click through to their website to see examples from current exhibitions. Free entry..
  • Five Walls, +61421706205 - 0421706205, e-mail: . Wed - Sat 12pm - 5pm. Artist-run art space in the same place as Trocadero (above) Free entry.
  • K Road Cliffs, K Road, Werribee. An interesting cliff-face that overlooks the Werribee River, near the golf course. It's possible to launch canoes from the site along the river.
  • 4 RAAF Museum, RAAF Base Williams, Point Cook Rd, Point Cook, +613 8348 6300, e-mail: . Tue-Fri: 10am-3pm, Weekends: 10am-5pm. The air-force base is still used for flying and training. Houses authentic aircraft in hangers, as well as numerous exhibitions and displays. Conducts free tours of the museum during weekdays. There are also options for pay joy-rides in old military aircraft. Free. RAAF Museum on Wikipedia RAAF Museum (Q4306366) on Wikidata
  • 5 Werribee Mansion, Gate 2, K Road, Werribee, +613 8734 5100, e-mail: . Nov-Apr: 10am-5:30pm daily. May-Oct: 10am-4pm weekdays, 10am-5pm weekends. An Italianate mansion from the 1870s, built by famous Scottish landlords Thomas and Andrew Chirnside. The building and its 60 rooms have been restored, and an audio tour is available. A café is available nearby. Paid tours depart daily except Saturday at 11:30am. Adult: $7, Student/Concession/Child: $5, Family (Two adults and two children): $22.
  • Werribee Historical Museum, Cnr Watton St & Duncans Rd, Werribee, +613 9749 2713. 10am-1pm Saturdays, 10am-3pm Tuesdays. Houses a collection of artefacts, documents, maps and photos relating to the Werribee area's history.
  • 6 Werribee Park, K Road, Werribee. A large, 10 acre park that used to be pastoral farmland. Includes fruit orchards, flower gardens, sculptures and wide open spaces. Contains many attractions, including Werribee Mansion and Zoo. Free. Werribee Park on Wikipedia Werribee Park (Q7983573) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

  • 1 Werribee Open Range Zoo, K Rd (take Werribee Sth exit from Princes Freeway). Daily (including Christmas Day and all public holidays) 9AM-5PM, entry closes at 3:30PM. Sa-Su during Jan-Feb open till 9PM. Safari bus tours (50 minute) begin 10:30AM-3:40PM (up till 7:40PM Sa-Su during Jan-Feb). An open range park with animals from the grasslands of Africa, Asia, North America and Australia. $24.80 adult, $12.40 4-15 years. Werribee Open Range Zoo on Wikipedia Werribee Open Range Zoo (Q14935316) on Wikidata

Buy[edit]

Downtown Footscray has a great community feel, with a dozen streets filled with small businesses. As well as the listings below, Footscray also has a number of interesting shops selling traditional African clothing, art and hair products. You can also find several large, over stocked $2 style shops, packed with weird Chinese imports, cheap plastic toys and household goods

While far from being one of Melbourne's shopping destinations, Footscray houses two large markets:

  • 1 Footscray Market, 18 Irving Street, +61 3 9687 1205, e-mail: . Tue-Wed 7am-4pm, Thu 7am-6pm, Fri 7am-7pm, Sat 7am-5pm. Closed Sun and Mon. Footscray Market is a fresh produce, meat, poultry and seafood market, catering particularly to the various ethnicities and local restaurants. There's also eateries, nut and coffee stalls, tobacconists and a few variety shops. It has the reputation as one of the cheapest places in Melbourne to shop so if you're cooking for yourself it's definitely worth a look. Or just wander around and enjoy the sights and sounds of business going on around you.
  • 2 Little Saigon, 63 Nicholson Street. 9am - 7pm Mon - Sat, 9am - 6pm Sun.. Little Saigon is another large market. It opened in 1992 to cater to the growing Asian population, but now has customers from all backgrounds. Little Saigon is noisy and crowded, with a wide array of tropical fruits and Asian produce.
  • 3 Konjo African Craft, 87 Irving Street, +61 3 9689 8185. Store selling Ethiopian food and crafts: spices, flours, raw and roasted coffee, pots, wood craft, clothing and jewellery. Also has a cafe.
  • 4 Pacific Werribee (formally Werribee Plaza) (located on the corner of Heaths and Derrimut Road in Hoppers Crossing, approximately 30 minutes from the Central Business District.). contains a variety of specialty item stores including mens and ladies fashion, banks, beauty and food stores. Has over 150 stores including a 10 screen cinema. Pacific Werribee on Wikipedia Werribee Plaza (Q7983576) on Wikidata

Eat[edit]

Like Victoria Street in Richmond, Hopkins Street running through the heart of Footscray is home to a number of very cheap Vietnamese restaurants and noodle shops.

The area centered around the Footscray Hub has become a Little Ethiopia of sorts, and Nicholson Street in particular is lined with African cafes and restaurants, mostly serving traditional Habesha cuisine (that of Ethiopia and Eritrea), characterized by stews and curries dished up on layers of flat bread called injera. Very tasty and ridiculously cheap.

For many more ideas about eating in Footscray than are listed here, the Footscray Food Blog has five years' worth of love for the inner West.

  • 1 Cafe Lalibela, 91 Irving Street, +61 3 9687 0300. 11am - 10pm every day. Probably the best Ethiopian cuisine in the area, and not a main course over $12. Served in the traditional custom of sharing, the food is poured on layers of injera (flat, sour bread) covering one big plate to be shared by all at the table.
  • 2 African Town Cafe, 161 Nicholson Street, +61 3 9689 9660. More Ethiopian cuisine, while local regulars pop in and out for a chat over excellent $2 Ethiopian coffee. All main courses $10.
  • 3 Ras Dashen, 121 Nicholson Street, +61 3 9687 3293. Mon - Fri 11.30am, - 8.30pm, Sat - Sun 12.30pm - 8.30pm. Had a birthday dinner here. Loved it. $10 for a pot of coffee that has five or six espresso-sized serves (and comes with a burning lump of frankincense). A whole baked fish for $13, beans and egg in a mild stew for $8, nice dark "Amber Beer" from Ethiopia like a porter or mild stout. 8 of us ate for $190 including alcoholic drinks and coffees. It's not silver service obviously, but the lady who looked after us was friendly and explained things we didn't understand. Definitely check this place out.
  • 4 Dumplings and More, 96 Hopkins Street, +61 3 3 9689 2165. 11am - 9.30pm Mon - Sun. Great entrees!. I only had about $20 and wanted a big feed. The main courses were nothing special price wise, but the entrees and dumplings were dirt cheap. Grabbed a plate of 15 (!) dumplings, a seaweed salad and spring onion pancake for $14 (!). Left me full and waddling back to the tram! Seaweed Salad was ENORMOUS. It's a little different to what I was expecting (I thought it would be like the seaweed topping you can get in sushi - this was more like thin noodles). Bits of chili through it. And it cost $2 - a great way to have some green food and fill up the odd corners.
  • 5 Olympic Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, near Irving Street entrance. Sold in an old caravan at Footscray station, the best in Melbourne.
  • Konjo Cafe Footscray, 87 Irving Street, +61 3 3 9689 8185. Mon - Sat 8.30am - 4.30pm, Sun 9.30am - 4.30pm. Same location as Konjo African Craft in the "Buy" section above. Features a $15 all-you-can-eat buffet lunch Wed-Sat (vegan on Wed and Thu).
  • 6 am DESSERT, 10 Droop Street, +61 3 9396 1870. 12 noon to 12 midnight every day. Cafe with a wide range of desserts including unusual things like fish-shaped waffles and matcha ice cream. Open late compared to lots of local eateries. Also serves hot breakfasts, chicken, steak, bubble tea, milkshakes etc. Waffles $8, large gelati $6.60, cake with cream and ice cream $8.80.
  • Breizoz, 139 Nelson Pl, +61 3 93972300. This French crêperie is so authentic that even the waitstaff are all natives. In addition to sweet crepes and tart Brittany cider, they offer savoury galettes with an array of toppings; for something different, try the boudin noir (blood sausage) with apple sauce. The building itself is worth a tour, as it was originally built as Williamstown's first church and then converted into a bank before being repurposed as a restaurant.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 The Dancing Dog Cafe, 42 Albert Street Footscray, +61 3 9689 2566. From 8.30am weekdays, 11am weekends. Footscray's only 'alternative venue'. Often hosts live music and other events. Open late at the weekends. Taco night Wednesdays, $2 tacos and open mic 5 -10pm. Other events include open mic poetry, and comedy. Happy hour with $8 pints 5 - 6pm nightly.
  • 2 The Station Hotel, 59 Napier St, +61 3 9810 0085. 11am to late, 7 days a week. Footscray - Opposite the Town Hall. Casual bar, indoor and outdoor seating, coffee. One of the "Top five places to eat steak" as judged by The Age Good Food Guide Dining Companion 2010.

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Plough Hotel, 333 Barkly Street (Corner Barkly St and Geelong Rd), +61 3 96872070. Check-in: 2pm, check-out: 10am. Above a large Pub $120 - $165 per night.
  • Bed and Breakfast at Stephanie's, 154-160 Fergsuon St (300 metres west of Williamstown Town Hall). Has both B&B accommodation and self-contained accommodation. Great value romantic get-a-way with a good cooked breakfast and quiet and comfy rooms with ensuite. Whilst staying there you can use of their bikes, helmets and locks to explore the many waterfront bike paths at no charge.
  • 2 Mansion Hotel & Spa at Werribee Park, Gate 2, K Road, Werribee, +61 3 9731 4000.

Stay safe[edit]

Footscray has a reputation as one of Melbourne's worst suburbs, long associated with the drug trade and considered a hotbed for crime and junkies. While crime has declined since the 1990s, drug activity is still an issue in the neighbourhood, particularly around Footscray Station. 2010 statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology revealed that 48% of people detained by police in the area are heroin users, in contrast to the declining heroin use nationally over the last decade.

Footscray has considerably cleaned up over the last decade and should pose no threat during the day. The worst you are likely to encounter may be addicts begging for money. Exercise common sense, avoid undesirable looking characters, be polite if approached and leave valuables out of sight. If you must walk around at night, stick to the main roads, preferably with company.

Footscray is in the Maribyrnong local council area which had 1082 Crimes Against the Person recorded in 2010 while Melbourne's city center had over 3500 in the same year.

Like much of the western suburbs of Melbourne, the Footscray area has a large volume of heavy vehicle traffic. Coupled with the many narrow roads in the area this can be especially hazardous to cyclists.

Connect[edit]

This district travel guide to Western suburbs is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.