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The Fitzroy–Collingwood Times:
Volume 6

Our Neighbourhood Story So Far

Over the past six months, SMA Projects has been on a deep dive into past and present stories of Fitzroy and Collingwood. Now, we’re reflecting on everything we’ve found to date.
A tale in five parts.

The Fitzroy–Collingwood Times is just one way that SMA Projects has been exploring a neighbourhood that our entire team knows and adores. It stems from the impulse to better understand the historic and ongoing evolution of Melbourne’s first ever suburb.

We have learned a lot and rediscovered plenty. Six months into this labour of love, we think its time we paused to revisit the story so far.

The Yorkshire Brewery

Our first missive returned (in part) to a Fitzroy and Collingwood of the early 20th century. The Yorkshire Brewery is one of the few of sites of beer production left standing from that time, but for generations of local workers and pubgoers the area was regarded as the home to Victoria’s breweries.

Today, the polychrome-bricked brew tower remains a Collingwood landmark – an emblem of the fallen soldiers of the industry. When the opportunity to write a new chapter in the life of the former brewery arose, SMA Projects knew the tower needed to remain the project centrepiece.

Read Volume 1 in full here.

Smith Street Alimentari

It’s twenty past sunrise on a mild Friday morning. Dappled light saturates the tree-lined length of Gore Street with a speckled glow as L walks the footpath, heading south. She loves her neighbourhood at this time of day, when she takes leisurely laps with a podcast in both ears.

L smiles at the same faces – as well as the greyhounds and -oodles in tow – as they smile back with the kind of nod that’s given from one local to another. Good morning.

Read Volume 2 in full here.

A crisp morning on Gertrude Street

Brunswick, Gertrude, Smith and Johnston. Each street is a household name in Melbourne’s Inner North, each with its own distinct personality. The role that these strips play for locals of Fitzroy and Collingwood is changing all the time – almost always for the better.

Together, they provide the grandest boulevards of the neighbourhood and create an all-encompassing block that’s just a half-hour loop to experience on foot.

Read Volume 3 in full here.

Alex and Martin in Fitzroy’s backstreets

Alex Hopkins has spent her fair share of time in Fitzroy and Collingwood. Like many in Melbourne’s boundless creative class, she bopped around Inner North sharehouses throughout her student days. As the founder and Director of interior architecture firm Studio Tate, Alex is often working in the neighbourhood.

One recent afternoon, Alex walked SMA Projects Director Martin Strode around some of her favourite local spaces.

Read Volume 4 in full here.

The Regent Theatre in a bygone era

The Regent Theatre at 84 Johnston Street in Fitzroy had its grand opening in March of 1931 with a screening of Ronald Colman and Vilma Bánky in Two Lovers. Despite its doors opening in the ruinous advent of the Great Depression, this 2,000-seat auditorium was often packed to its vaulted, ornate ceilings.

With its palatial stature, The Regent was as much a place for affordable escapism as it was a cornerstone of the neighbourhood’s social and civic infrastructure.

Read Volume 5 in full here.