The stomping ground of street gangs in the 1800s, Collingwood has a long, proud, chequered history of giving the middle finger to authority. A stroll around the neighbourhood reveals a hotchpotch of architectural styles that reflect the evolution of the inner-city suburb. There are renovated workers cottages, student share houses, rundown industrial warehouses, modern apartment buildings and public housing towers adorned with murals painted by artist Matt Adnate. Collingwood may be in a state of flux as gentrification transforms the once working-class area, but it’s still holding fast to its reputation as a suburb of scrappers who don’t give a damn. As the footy team song goes, "good old Collingwood forever."
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What’s Collingwood known for?
Rowdy footy pubs, refined wine bars, vinyl record stores and Vietnamese bakeries that attract lunchtime crowds – anything and everything goes in Collingwood. While busy Smith Street is the area’s (traffic-clogged) main artery, some of Collingwood’s best finds are located down the side streets. Grungy band rooms are a stone’s throw from slick, upscale eateries. Family-owned grocers catering to the area’s significant migrant population have a place alongside long-standing Aboriginal co-operatives. By night, Collingwood pubs, gay bars and live music joints act like a magnet for Melburnians who like to kick on ‘til the early hours of the morning.
Why do the locals love it?
As general manager of PBS 106.7FM, Adrian Basso knows a thing or two about the neighbourhood that the community radio station has called home for 18 years. He believes the area’s many watering holes and live music venues make Collingwood a standout.
“Collingwood has an almighty pub culture, with one on every corner – well that’s the way it feels,” Adrian says.
How do I get to Collingwood?
Used by a revolving line-up of colourful characters, there’s never a dull moment on the 86 tram. Even the Bedroom Philosopher wrote an album dedicated to the notorious tram route (you've probably heard its most famous song, 'Northcote (So Hungover)' right?) Connecting Bundoora to the Docklands area, the 86 tram will drop you right in the thick of it on Smith Street. Confusingly, Collingwood train station is not in Collingwood, but Abbotsford. Unless you’re heading somewhere near the station, the tram is your best bet.
The ‘Great Smith Street Divide’ splits Fitzroy and Collingwood right down the middle of Smith Street. Stand on one side of the tram tracks and you’re (technically) in Fitzroy, hop over the other side and you’re in Collingwood. Abbotsford borders Collingwood to the east and leafy Clifton Hill lies to the north. Head south and you’ll hit the MCG in East Melbourne, home ground of the Collingwood Magpies.
Map of Collingwood
If you only do one thing…
Get along to an AFLW match at the historic Victoria Park Oval to show your support for women’s footy. #Gopies.