Local Attractions In St Kilda
St Kilda is an inner city suburb of the Victorian capital of Melbourne, Australia.
It is located on Port Phillip Bay about 6 km south-east of the Melbourne's central business district.
The suburb has been a popular seaside resort for residents and visitors since its foundation. During the Edwardian and Victorian eras it was favoured by Melbourne's elite, and many palatial mansions were constructed. Subsequently the area became Melbourne's red-light district, with many of the large mansions converted into low-cost rooming houses.
In recent years, St Kilda has begun to shake off a seamy reputation and is home to many of Melbourne's famous visitor attractions including Luna Park, the Esplanade Hotel, Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. It is the home of many theatres and St Kilda Beach and to many of the city of Melbourne's big events.
Looking north over Port Phillip Bay toward Albert Park and the Melbourne skyline from St Kilda Pier
St Kilda has a unique artists culture, but is also home to many local events of high profile.
St Kilda has run Melbourne's first major arts and crafts market which has been run on the Esplanade every Sunday since the 1980s.
St Kilda is also home to many major annual events. The largest of these is the St Kilda Festival, which since 1981 has grown over recent years and now attracts over half a million young people to the area each year. Other local events include the St Kilda Film Festival and St Kilda Writers Festival.
St Kilda has a vibrant local music scene that has produced many Australian live music acts. Prominent local music venues the Palais theatre for larger concerts, the Esplanade Hotel, the Prince of Wales Hotel for larger gigs and DJ's (and backpackers), The George Public Bar on Saturday afternoons, the St Kilda Bowls Club, and The Greyhound.
The suburb is home to many sports ovals in Albert Park Reserve, including the historic Junction Oval which is home to the St Kilda Cricket Club, the Melbourne Football Club and occasionally the Victorian Bushrangers Cricket Club, which was made famous as the debut venue of cricket great Shane Warne.
Many of the open water events of the 2007 World Aquatics Championships were held at St Kilda beach. The 2006 Commonwealth Games triathlon and cycling time trials were held along the foreshore, and the marathon passed through the suburb. The annual Melbourne Marathon also passes through the suburb. St Kilda Beach is regularly used for state and international beach volleyball tournaments.
St Kilda has many distinctive local landmarks, most centred around the St Kilda Esplanade and foreshore area, several featuring domes of a Moorish architecture theme established at the turn of the century. Perhaps the best known is Luna Park an early 20th century amusement park with its famous "Moonface" entry and its historic scenic railway.
The St Kilda Pier is another local landmark and major tourist attraction. The pier is terminated by the St Kilda Pavilion, an eccentric Edwardian building in the mould of English pier pavilions which is considered of high cultural importance to Melburnians. It was recently reconstructed and listed on the Victorian Heritage Register after burning down. The pier has a long breakwater which shelters St Kilda Harbour and hosts a Little Penguin colony. The pier is also the starting point for a ferry which runs between St Kilda and Williamstown.
St Kilda Beach is a beach with gentle bay waves popular with swimmers and sunbathers during the summer months.
The St Kilda Sea Baths, also called South Pacific, a Moorish themed building was built in the late 1920s, and demolished in the 1990s. It was rebuilt in a Moorish style, continuing a history of sea baths in St Kilda dating back to the 1850s.
Acland Street is a shopping and restaurant precinct famous for its cake shops and cafes. It also features a number of public artworks.
St Kilda has three main theatres: The National Theatre (formerly the Victory) on the corner Barkly and Carlisle Streets is a Beaux Arts styled performing arts venue built in 1920 which is home to the oldest ballet school in Australia (established 1939). The Palais Theatre is located on the Esplanade and was built in 1927 to the design of Henry White as a cinema (formerly Palais Pictures). It is now used as a live music and concert venue. The Astor Theatre on Chapel Street is a modern/art deco styled cinema built in 1935 to the design of Ray Morton Taylor. It features the largest screen in southern hemisphere and operates as an arthouse cinema with its own year long film festival and private functions.
Historic hotel buildings
St Kilda features many notable grand old hotels, some which still operate as licensed premises and others that function as accommodation, most of which are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The most famous is the Esplanade Hotel on the Esplanade. Built in 1878 and later modified, the Esplanade is an iconic pub and live music venue known by locals simply as the 'Espy'. The St Kilda Coffee Palace, built in the 1870s was once the suburb's main coffee palace. It is now a busy backpackers hostel. The George Hotel built in 1887 on the corner of Fitzroy and Grey streets was also once a large coffee palace. In the 1990s is was converted into studio apartments. Many of the interior and exterior features are in need of restoration. The Prince of Wales Hotel is another famous hotel which was built in 1940 in the moderne style on the site of the first Prince of Wales which was built in 1920. It has been used as a cabaret venue and is now another live music venue.
Former St Kilda Coffee Palace
Prince of Wales Hotel
Parks and gardens
St Kilda is known for its many parks and gardens, many featuring combinations of the predominant Canary Island Date Palms, which are synonymous with the area and Californian Fan Palms. Some of the notable gardens include St Kilda Botanic Gardens on Blessington Street, which has heritage features and gates, a conservatory, rose garden, lake and sustainable Eco Centre building.
The St Kilda Foreshore and Catani Arch are on Jacka Boulevarde, while the upper Esplanade reserve where the Sunday markets are held features the Catani Clock Tower, heritage toilets and vaults. The Catani Gardens which sit between the foreshore, Beaconsfield Parade and the Esplanade includes a War Memorial, Captain Cook statue and Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron Buildings. O'Donnell Gardens is adjacent to Luna Park on Acland Street and features an art-deco monument and tall palms. Alfred Square on the upper Esplanade has numerous war memorials, which include the South African War Memorial (1905) listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. Albert Park is a large park which spans many suburbs, including St Kilda on Fitzroy Street and hosts a number of sporting fields and a recreational lake.
The "Veg Out" Community Gardens at the former St Kilda Bowling Club in the Peanut Farm reserve is another popular public garden. The gardens are primarily rented by residents of apartments in the area and offer local residents the opportunity to express themselves in a small plot of dirt, which results in many colourful artistic displays.
Catani Gardens, main path looking towards the 1988 bi- centenary reproduction rotunda (bandstand).
Catani Gardens, Captain Cook statue and Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron buildings
Entry gates to the St Kilda Botanical Gardens from Blessington Street
Other St Kilda landmarks include the St Kilda Marina on Marine Parade, one of the first marinas in Melbourne and still very popular. The Metropole and Terminus on Fitzroy Street is the former St Kilda railway station, it now serves as a light rail terminus and apartment and restaurant precinct. The St Kilda Lawn Bowls Club, Fitzroy Street and its heritage clubhouse buildings have been featured on television and film. Junction Oval on Fitzroy Street is one of St Kilda's main sporting grounds and features two large heritage grandstands.
Recreation and leisure
Recreation on St Kilda beaches includes most watersports, including windsurfing, kitesurfing, rollerblading, beach volleyball, jetskiing, waterskiing and sunbathing. A skate park for the Fitzroy street end of Albert Park is in the planning stages.
Kitesurfing on St Kilda Beach
St Kilda is well connected to the Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne by trams and a dedicated Light Rail line along the former St Kilda railway line which terminates at the Metropol building - the former St Kilda railway station before integrating with the on-road system.
Tram routes 96 from Bourke Street, tram 112 from Collins Street and tram 16 from Swanston Street, all service St Kilda and are around 25 minutes from the city.
The Bayside Trail off-road bicycle network connects through St Kilda.
© Wikipedia 2007