Why we love Southbank

14 November 2023

Make time for a spot of people-watching in Southbank, with the city skyline twinkling across the river, and the vista will pay you back in good vibes.

Southbank is an important cultural hub that stretches to the south of the Yarra River – Birrarung.

Facts about Southbank

  • Postcode: 3006
  • Distance from CBD: 1 km south
  • Area: 1.6 km²
  • Boundaries: north – Yarra River, east – St Kilda Road, south – Dorcas Street, Kings Way and Citylink, west – Lorimer Street and Wurundjeri Way.
  • Local economy: 865 businesses generating 45,116 jobs
  • Population: 24,154 residents
  • Public transport: Tram routes include: 1, 3-3a, 5, 6, 12, 16, 58, 64, 67, 72, 96 and 109. Bus routes: 234, 236 and 605. Train – no stations.

Acknowledging Traditional Owners

The area where Southbank now sits is rich with Aboriginal heritage and continuing cultural significance.

Did you know, for example, that there was once a waterfall where Queens Bridge now stands? The falls were a crossing point and a meeting place, rich with natural resources, and marked the point where the Birrarung turned from salt to fresh water. You can still see a trace of the falls in the basalt ridge on either side of the river.

Many important sites are described in the Mapping Aboriginal Melbourne project.

What’s it like to live in Southbank?

Southbank has experienced rapid growth since the 1990s, evolving from an industrial area into a dense, high-rise neighbourhood. Almost all dwellings are flats or apartments.

Southbank in Melbourne

“It is a very walkable suburb. You do not need a vehicle to live here. It is close to the city and the river. The views from my apartment of the sea are awesome as well.”

Participate Southbank engagement feedback (2022)
  • More than 24,000 people live in Southbank
  • It’s a suburb of choice for young workers: almost 42 per cent are aged 25 to 34
  • More than two thirds of households were lone-person (40%) or couples without children (28.2%)
  • Almost half the residents speak a language other than English at home
  • Top five community languages: Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, Cantonese and Indonesian (ABS 2021)

“We love the location and how easy it is to walk everywhere.”

Participate Southbank engagement feedback (2022)

What makes Southbank iconic?

Southbank Promenade is one of Melbourne’s major entertainment precincts, boasting many restaurants and hotels. Spectacular river and city views make it a popular place for locals and visitors alike.

Among the 865 businesses generating more than 45,000 jobs in Southbank, there are more than 500 small businesses at work, adding individuality and character to the city,

Find new favourite places to eat, drink and be merry in Southbank at What’s On Melbourne.

Can you find the secret staircase to Ponyfish Island in Southbank?

This vibrant neighbourhood lays claim to a world-class Melbourne Arts Precinct, which boasts one of the highest concentrations of arts and cultural organisations in the world.

“I love the arts hub, the river and restaurants. Southbank is also so convenient to major roads to all areas of Melbourne.”

Participate Southbank engagement feedback (2022)

Southbank is home to NGV International, the Arts Centre and Hamer Hall, as well as the Melbourne Theatre Company and Melbourne Recital Centre. Around the corner is the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and the Malthouse Theatre. And keep an eye out for TV icons around the ABC Southbank Studios.

It’s part of our plan to grow Southbank as Melbourne’s premier arts precinct. An extension of the central city. Focused on the Birrarung. A truly walkable neighbourhood. A great environment for people.

Hamer Hall and Southbank with the Arts Centre spire in the background

“The arts precinct and the creativity of the area. Connected and easy access.”

Participate Southbank engagement feedback (2022)

A community hub

A decade ago, we converted the heritage-listed site of the former JH Boyd Girls’ High School into the Boyd Community Hub, hosting the Southbank Library and integrated family services, a community centre, and creative spaces as well as Boyd Park.

Boyd Community Hub features maternal and child health services, offers immunisations, family support and counselling, drop-in sessions for families, as well as parenting education and playgroups.

Boyd Community Hub in Southbank

Got a green thumb and a desire to connect with the community ? The Southbank Sustainability Group meets at the Boyd Hub to run workshops designed to help Southbankers live more sustainably and reduce their environmental footprint.

Lily Bednikov lived in Southbank for more than 20 years before she taking a career break, when she became more connected to her neighbourhood.

She was drawn to the Boyd Community Hub and saw the Southbank Sustainability Group advertised on the noticeboard.

“I thought: I’m not good at gardening, having killed a cactus previously, so why not go along and see what I can learn.”

Lily meets fellow Southbank Sustainability Group members regularly at Boyd to garden, socialise and chat about all sorts of things that impact the community. They’ve had dinners out together, too. Read their story.

Seema, Faye and Lily from the Southbank Sustainability Group

Clean, green and more open spaces

Two new neighbourhood parks and a community play space have just been welcomed to the neighbourhood as part of the $44 million Southbank Boulevard transformation.

It’s part of an ambitious project to create five new public spaces and neighbourhood parks along Southbank Boulevard.

Southbank Play Space

Growing local green spaces

The Dodds Street Linear Park is transforming under-used roadway into public open space in the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct.

Found between Grant Street and Southbank Boulevard, the project creates 1300 square metres of native grassland planting and adds 35 new trees among paved bluestone pathways and gathering spaces.

The park will rejuvenate a quiet part of the city, encouraging exploration of the area, and providing a place for students, residents, visitors and workers to gather and recharge.

Artist’s impression: Dodds Street Linear Park

How to grow your local backyard

We’re exploring ways to grow your local backyard in Southbank. We’d love your feedback on how we can repurpose under-used road space and car parking in Miles Street to create more open space for the local community.

Consultation on the Miles and Dodds Street Reserve is open until 17 December.

Artist’s impression: Miles and Dodds Street Reserve expansion

Our plans for a safer and more welcoming Southbank

The City Road Master Plan will transform the City Road precinct into a safe and welcoming space for the community. A series of projects will be staged over several years.

We’re improving road safety and walkability through the Southbank pedestrian and road safety project. We’re working with transport engineering experts to identify serious crash locations, conduct traffic counts, analyse planned projects, major developments and land-use changes, and understand community concerns.

Local priorities

We’ve consulted with the community to identify 14 local priorities for Southbank. Pedestrian safety, traffic management, more parks with amenities, and more spaces and activities for community were front-of-mind in more than 800 pieces of feedback.

Get to know the area through the Southbank Neighbourhood Portal.

We held a neighbourhood Future Melbourne Committee meeting in Southbank on Tuesday 21 November 2023. Watch on demand.

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