Melways Map: 58
St Kilda is an inner-city suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Located about 6km to the south-east of the CBD, just below Middle Park (and adjoining Albert Park), north of Elwood, west of Malvern. It sits upon a pleasant beach front overlooking Port Phillip Bay.
Named after a yacht ('Lady of St Kilda'), allotments in the Fitzroy Street and Lower Esplanade area were sold by the government in December, 1842. The route from St Kilda to Melbourne was via a dusty track. By 1849 schools and churches were erected, and by the end of 1851 St Kilda was becoming a home of the well-to-do. (a sign of things to come, evidently)
Amongst many Christian denominations that established themselves throughout the general area, Moritz Michaelis, a Jewish importer and merchant, built "Linden", his residence at 26 Acland Street (which is incidentally less than 20 metres from my house). Thus began the influx of Jewish residents to the general area, many of whom settled in the areas now known as East St Kilda, and Caulfield.
A pier and breakwater were constructed between the late 1850s and 1884, which even today serve as popular 'tourist' attractions. The foreshore was hired out to open-air showmen, which served to slowly transform St Kilda from the somewhat patrician village into a "carnival-spectacular" of sorts.
It was in the late 1920s that brothels and some street prostitution began to emerge amongst some of Melbourne's first flats and night spots. In the 1930s the Melbourne City Council began their first of many efforts to 'clean up' St Kilda. They were largely unsuccessful, as the great depression forced more and more people to adopt unseemly lifestyles in order to survive.
By the end of the 1930s flat construction outnumbered house construction, dictating a trend that all inner-city suburbs would be soon to adopt. Over the next 40 years crime would increase steadily, until in the late 1970s the council would be forced to confront the 'socially unorthodox' behaviour of its residents.
At the peak of St Kilda's criminal history it played host to some of Melbourne's largest organised crime outfits. Nowdays the 'crime' is restricted to drug dealers and users (Heroin predominantly, and more the latter than the former), street prostitutes, and their pimps. Oh, there's the occasional burglary, usually perpetrated by a junkie looking for money to sustain their habit.
All this unseemly business has been becoming increasingly supressed in recent years, though. St Kilda is turning into a haven for trendy wankers. (like my good self, some might argue) With the emergence and outright dominance of cafe culture throughout Melbourne, Acland and Fitzroy Street's wide sidewalks and ever-increasing numbers of street cafe's lend themselves perfectly to this social phenomenon.
Fortunately for me and my family, the trendies are people with a lot of cash. Hence the property that I currently occupy is now worth roughly four times what we paid for it 5 years ago.
St Kilda is an interesting place socially. It is one of those rare places where one can see many "social orders" living in close proximity in relative harmony. You have people like me and my family (wealthy, reasonably straight-laced, but leftist), 'trendy' people (young, rich, and conservative), 'junkies' (heroin addicts), Generation X Rat People ('alternative' white people with dreadlocks and poor personal hygene), young people in general, and the oldschool St Kilda residentials (those that have probably dodged several drafts and have bar stools named after them down at the local, often seen looking threatening and smiling at the same time).
At one stage there was a train line that ran from the city centre, Flinders Street Station, terminating at St Kilda Station. The train line has since been converted into a light-rail, or tram, line. The terminus still exists, but the number 96 tram continues down Fitzroy Street, around Upper Esplanade, and finally terminating at the eastern end of Acland Street. There is also the number 112 tram which passes through Middle Park and terminates at Fitzroy Street a few blocks north of the beach front. Both these services are operated by Yarra Trams.
Additionally, the number 16 travels down St Kilda Road, through St Kilda Junction, down Fitzroy Street to Acland Street, meeting with the number 69 at which point the trams swap numbers and the 69 travels up Carslile Street through East St Kilda into Malvern, and out of the scope of this node.
St Kilda has both a VFL and AFL team, the St Kilda Saints.