Why we love Southbank

14 November 2022

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.

Did you know that there was once a waterfall where Queens Bridge now stands? The area is rich with Aboriginal heritage and continuing cultural significance.

The falls were as 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 sites are described in the Mapping Aboriginal Melbourne project.

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.

  • About 23,000 people live in Southbank (15 per cent of City of Melbourne’s population).
  • Almost 42 per cent are aged 25 to 34 (35 per cent average across the City of Melbourne).
  • Almost half the residents speak a language other than English at home.
  • Top five community languages: Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, Cantonese and Indonesian (ABS 2021).
  • Almost 44,000 jobs are found across 940 businesses in Southbank.

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.

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.

Southbank Promenade

Southbank Promenade

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.

A community hub

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

A stately building with a sign that says Boyd in red

Boyd in Southbank

Boyd hosts maternal and child health services, immunisations, family support and counselling, drop-in sessions for families, parenting education and playgroups. Over the past 10 years:

  • About 2000 new families have connected with these services over the past decade.
  • More than 2800 families with children under 5 have used the playroom
  • We’ve run more than 28,000 children’s programs.
  • More than 6000 bookings for two community spaces.
  • More than 500 different user groups.
  • More than 60 artists have accessed the 7 studios.

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.

A child on a swing in a city play space

New play space in Southbank

Over the past six months we’ve responded to more than 400 instances of dumped rubbish, and removed 2860 square metres of graffiti from Southbank, including from riverbank walls and bridges.

We’re investing in neighbourhood infrastructure this year, renewing roadways and the urban forest, and maintaining community facilities and footpaths.

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.

A neighbourhood Future Melbourne Committee meeting will be held in Southbank on Tuesday 21 November 2023. Get to know the area through the Southbank Neighbourhood Portal.

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