Like Delhi and Varanasi in India, I am fascinated with the streets and lanes of Melbourne, particularly in the Central Business District. Like the two cities in India they too date back to history.
A number of them evolved due to the use of horses and horse driven carriages in those times, while some like, Little Lonsdale evolved due to the gold rush when there were slums there.
Melbourne has come a long way since then and is now a modern, throbbing city with numerous specialty stores, shopping malls and countless eating places, some of them world-renowned.
Another remarkable thing about the streets is, how over time they have been totally pedestarianised. Some are now, known for their urban art, like the Hoiser Lane and a number of festivals are held in the city to celebrate this aspect of Melbourne’s life.
Major streets among others, are Bourke Street, Collins Street, Elizabeth Street, Exhibition Street, Flinders Street, La Trobe Street, Queen Street, Russell Street, Spencer Street, Swanson Street, Corporation Street and William Street.
Collins Street is the main street of Melbourne and is named after Lt Governor David Collins and houses high-end retailers. Elizabeth Street was named after the wife of Richard Bourke and houses many retailers of Cameras and Motorcycles.
Flinders Street is one mile long and runs parallel to Yarra River. It was named after the great explorer, Mathew Flinders. It is also home to Tram and Flinders Street Rail station. Among the major landmarks of the city on this street are Federation Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and Melbourne Aquarium.
La Trobe Street runs along the northern boundary of the Central Business District. Swanston Street vertically bisects the city center and is famous as the world’s busiest Tram corridor.
The Corporation street between Exhibition Street and Russell street is now called ACDC Lane in the honour of the famous Aussie band, AC/DC. The name has with no (/) slash sign to avoid being in contravention of local regulations covering street names. There is a famous Cherry Bar on this street.
Another famous lane is Centre Place which houses several well-known cafes, bars and restaurants. The lane running between Queen and Elizabeth Street is called Flinders Lane. It was the center of the city’s rag trade earlier but now is famous for its designer boutiques.
There is never a dull moment in these lanes and streets and no matter how long you visit Melbourne, while leaving you have a mental list of things you missed out, be it a musical performance, a play, comedy theatre or a painting exhibition.