Fitzroy is 2 km north-east of Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD). Planned as Melbourne’s first suburb, it was created in 1839. It was later also one of the city’s first areas to gain municipal status. It occupies Melbourne’s smallest and most densely populated suburban area, just 100 hectares or 1 square kilometre. It is bordered by Alexandra Parade to the north, Victoria Parade to the south, Smith Street to the east and Nicholson Street to the west.
Surrounded as it was by a large number of factories and industrial sites in the adjoining suburbs, the area was ideally suited to working men’s housing, and from the 1860s to the 1880s Fitzroy’s working class population rose dramatically.
Fitzroy has a long associations with the working class, and is currently inhabited by a wide variety of ethnicity and social-economic groups. It is known for a culture of bohemianism, being the main home of Melbourne’s Fringe Festival. Its commercial heart is Brunswick Street, which is one of Melbourne’s major retail, eating, and entertainment strips. There are many small commercial art galleries, artist-run spaces and artist studios located within the suburb. Fitzroy also has a thriving street art community. This region is also a hub for live music in Melbourne, and has several prominent and popular venues.
Getting to Fitzroy
The area can be easily reached from the eastern edge of the City Centre via Nicholson Street, which connects to Spring Street just north of the Victoria Parliament Building. Carlton Gardens are located just to the north west, on the corner of Victoria Parade and Nicholson Street. In the northern part of Fitzroy, both Brunswick Street and Smith Street intersect with Alexander Parade which connect to the Eastern Freeway.