If there is any place in Melbourne that can boast the most interesting history, Port Phillip is a sure contender. With so much having happened in Port Phillip since Melbourne was founded, there is a lot to learn about the area. Fortunately, the Guided Walks in Port Phillip program lets you get out and see these places for yourself rather than having to read dull history books. Each walk is lead by an expert who really knows their stuff.
The Portrayals of Port walk explores the places that inspired writers and artists in their own creative depictions of Port Melbourne; Bushrangers to Biopolis goes along St Kilda Road, looking at former cattle routes and bushranger tracks that are now filled with mansions and parks. The Demon Drink investigates the former hotels and pubs that gave the area its seedy reputation, and were eventually torn down after campaigns by the church and women’s groups.
There are walks that are dedicated to discussing the lifestyles of former Port Phillip residents. The Poetic Streets of Elwood walks shows the art deco streets named after famous poets, while Unsolved Cases of St Kilda goes through St Kilda’s backstreets in a game where you have to unravel unsolved bayside crimes.
Towards Port Melbourne and Docklands Wrecks, Whacks and Wrongs talks about the area’s shipping history, ship wrecks and buildings that are no longer there; Canvas Town To Kingsway discusses how the area was a former tent city during the gold rush and Montague – The Lost Community goes through an industrial area that was once a working class village, now long gone.
To top all that exciting history off, all of these walks are absolutely free! Up to three walks can be booked at one time, with bookings closing at 4pm on the Friday prior to the walk. Make sure you wear appropriate walking clothes and shoes, otherwise you will be drenched in sweat and your feet will become blister heaven after all the exploring.
To learn more about the walks and book visit: www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/walks.htm
Originally published here at milkbarmag.com on Monday 23 January 2012