Why we love South Yarra

Only a sliver of South Yarra sits within the City of Melbourne, but what a big contribution this little slice of paradise makes to city life.

Sweeping green space, river frontage, heritage buildings and leafy residential streets are celebrated here. The area also boasts excellent outdoor action and great schools, lively arts and events, and buzzing hospitality and retail precincts.

The neighbourhood is fringed by the Yarra River – Birrarung, found west of Punt Road and stretching south to Commercial Road.

The glorious Royal Botanic Gardens flank South Yarra. This green oasis is a living work of art. It’s also a site of continued significance to the First Peoples who once hunted eels in the billabong that lives on as part of Ornamental Lake. To delve into the rich history and ongoing culture of this place, explore the new Mapping Aboriginal Melbourne project.

Today, about 23 per cent of the total South Yarra population lives in this small section of the wider suburb. This includes:

  • around 8200 residents
  • median age of 35
  • around 30 per cent of residents speak a language other than English at home
  • Other than English, Mandarin, Spanish and French are most commonly spoken at home
  • 33 per cent of residents are born overseas.

About 335 businesses are hard at work in our slice of South Yarra – including the charming eateries, cafes and convenience stores found in the Domain Road village. In all, there are around 17,800 jobs in the neighbourhood.

Some of the city’s most treasured and popular open spaces are nearby. Locals hold them close to their heart.

The Domain Parklands stretch over 123 hectares and contribute to the green belt that wraps around Melbourne. It’s a collective of important parks and gardens, cared for by the city under the guidance of the Domain Parklands Master Plan.

These parklands include Alexandra Park, Queen Victoria Gardens and Kings Domain, as well as Alexandra Gardens, where rowing clubs and Riverslide Skate Park add colour and movement along the riverbank.

On high ground sits Government House, while rolling hills funnel revellers to the Myer Music Bowl for al-fresco picnics and memorable events. Nearby, the commanding presence of the Shrine of Remembrance inspires deep reflection.

The neighbourhood will soon be serviced by the Metro Tunnel Anzac Station, which will improve access to the neighbourhood. It will also reduce pressure on the grand tree-lined boulevard of St Kilda Road, arguably one of the busiest tram corridors in the world.

Need more parkland?

Go in search of the picturesque 41-hectare Fawkner Park, formally set out in 1862 and a favourite for locals and visitors alike. Many paths around Fawkner Park are lined with Moreton Bay figs, elms, poplars and oaks.

If you’re lucky you might spot a morning tai chi session on the dewy lawn, or a game of quiddich.

City of Melbourne facilities embedded in Fawkner Park cater to everyone, including older people, children and outdoor enthusiasts alike:

  • Twelve sporting fields are frequented by 13 community sporting clubs, and a six-court tennis centre is open to the public.
  • South Yarra Senior Citizens Centre invites older people and their carers to join free or low-cost community activities for mind and body alike. It is also available for community hire, with priority given to activities for older people such as physical activity and lifelong learning.
  • Fawkner Park Children’s Centre and Kindergarten.

As part of the Fawkner Park Master Plan, we’ve recently upgraded the Pasley Street North entrance to improve landscape and tree health, drainage, safety and amenity. We’ve been careful to respect the heritage value of the landscape and the historical context of this metropolitan park.

Two smaller local open spaces are important go-to venues for locals: the Golden Elm Reserve, and Toorak and St Kilda Road Reserve, and the Alfred Hospital is reassuringly nearby.

Locals are passionate about their area, and rightly so. As we prepare the new Neighbourhood Planning Portal for South Yarra, we’ve received more than 500 contributions from residents, students, workers, business owners and visitors.

Among them are many shared local priorities, strengths and needs. We’re analysing the feedback and encourage you to follow its progress on Participate Melbourne.

A neighbourhood Future Melbourne Committee meeting was held in South Yarra on Tuesday 19 July at St Martins Youth Arts Centre. Watch the recording.