Why we love Docklands

11 March 2022

Docklands is Melbourne’s freshest suburb, joining the municipality in July 2007.

This part of the waterfront sits on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Eastern Kulin. Explore the rich history, continuing culture and connections to this area at Mapping Aboriginal Melbourne.

This area, at the lower delta of the Yarra River Birrarung, was once a wetland rich with natural resources.

After European settlement, industry crept to prominence. By 1908, Victoria Dock was handling around 90 per cent of Victoria’s imports. By the 1970s the dock and wharves were in decline.

Urban renewal began in the 1990s. 

When Docklands was absorbed into the City of Melbourne, it doubled the size of Melbourne’s central city and returned a significant area of waterfront to the city.  

The suburb now stretches out over 200 hectares of land and water just west of the CBD, hugging Victoria Harbour. 

From the first development at New Quay – featuring apartments, restaurants and a private marina – Docklands has evolved into a sophisticated waterfront precinct. It is increasingly in dialogue with the central city through the use of iconic Melburnian themes, such as laneways and bluestone pavers. 

Docklands offers a mix of inner city living, shopping at The District Docklands, commerce, connection to nature, entertainment, dining, sporting and community events, arts and culture.  

It is well-connected to Melbourne’s main transport networks, including trams and Southern Cross Station, and adds a new type of commute into the mix with the Port Phillip Ferry station. 

More than 16,000 residents now call Docklands home, although the pandemic led to a population dip as international students and others relocated. Surely not for long. 

Docklands is a multicultural community that embraces vertical living.

  • 68 per cent were born overseas and 65 per cent speak a language other than English at home.
  • 97 per cent of residents live in a flat or apartment.
  • The population’s health and wellbeing profile fares better than the wider city at 75.3 (2020). 

Locals and visitors alike gather at the award-winning Library at the Dock, the country’s first six-star Green Star rated public building.

This welcoming community space boasts stunning views of the waterfront and marina, an expansive children’s collection, gallery and high-tech makerspace.   

An impressive architectural building by the water

Library at The Dock

Nearly 1200 local businesses add colour and movement to Docklands, from small businesses and waterfront eateries to national headquarters for major businesses including NAB, ANZ, Myer, AXA, Bendigo Bank, Medibank Private and the Bureau of Meteorology.

COVID-19 has, however, had an impact on local businesses, with almost a third of shops either vacant or closed at some stage during the pandemic, and many corporate office buildings rested during lockdowns.

As the city recovers from COVID-19, Docklands will continue to invite both commercial and residential development that will add to the suburb’s growth for years to come.

The Greenline Project

One day soon we’ll be able to walk all the way from the MCG to Docklands along the north bank of the Yarra River, which is also known as the Birrarung.

A continuous path will take us close to the water, connecting new parks and celebrating Aboriginal culture and heritage.  

The city-shaping Greenline Project will usher in a new era for our city and Docklands at a time when we need it most.  It shows some love to the north bank of the Birrarung, breathing new life into areas that have felt disconnected and under-used for too long.  

It will be the largest network of green spaces in central Melbourne, with a six-metre wide promenade – roughly two traffic lanes – and new public park at Seafarers Rest.

Artist's impression of Greenline at Batman Hill Park

Artist’s impression, The Greenline Project

A neighbourhood Future Melbourne Committee meeting will be held in Docklands on Tuesday 16 May 2023 . Get to know the area through the Docklands Neighbourhood Portal.

Share this story

You may also like
Women’s guide to Melbourne

Women’s guide to Melbourne

Discover how women help to shape Melbourne every day, and find ways to connect with other women across the city. How do women make Melbourne a great place to be? We stand up for what matters. We seek out connection and inspire courage. We bring diverse views to work...

Volunteering is a work of heart 

Volunteering is a work of heart 

Need help finding something in the city? Want to explore the best experiences, eateries and exhibitions? You’ll spot our visitor services volunteers by their distinctive red jackets and they’re always happy to lend a hand.   In 2023, our 250 visitor services...

On fragile peace and permanent housing

On fragile peace and permanent housing

What does homelessness look like in Melbourne? Get to know Jody as we launch our draft Homelessness Strategy to help end homelessness. A home is a hard-won and fragile thing, according to former public servant and military veteran Jody Lett. She spent six months...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the City of Melbourne by subscribing to the Melbourne newsletter.

You have successfully subscribed!