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An eclectic mix of people and architectural styles. An interesting suburb. 

Balaclava, Melbourne (inner south)

Balaclava is what St Kilda used to be before it was gentrified. You might walk past a pissed, smelly, homeless man one minute, and then gays or lesbians holding hands the next, followed by students eating sushi, arty types sipping on a latte, parents with kids, and Hassidic Jewish families shopping. This suburb's demographics are changing but there is still plenty of colour here to keep the gentrified away.  Take a drive through the streets of Balaclava and you will find architecture from all eras: Victorian, Edwardian, crappy 70's era flats, new things, art deco, and unappealing temples to the brick and aluminium gods.

The main shopping strip is on Carlisle Street and here you will find more variety stores ($2 shops) per square metre than just about anywhere else. There are some interesting examples of public art, and a good selection of cafes. Saturday mornings are particularly busy when locals venture to Carlisle St to have breakfast and lunch. If you like your suburbs clean and sanitised, this is not for you. If you like diversity and are inspired by it, then scoot on down and join the street party.

Balaclava is sometimes also referred to as East St Kilda. It was named after a battle in the Crimean War in Russia in the 1850s. Some of the streets are also named after events in the Crimean War. Actor Graham Kennedy spent part of his childhood here. Other noteable celebrities who have lived here include comedian Judith Lucy and radio personality John Saffran. (More information below and to your left <<<)


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Rent $$$:

rent is affordable to medium

Wall 280 Cafe (pictured) - 280 Carlisle St. Ph: (03) 9593 8280


5-10km from city centre

Victorain terraces, Edwardian homes, apartment blocks

Would Suit:

Singles, Professionals, Families, Gay/lesbian, Students

Usually manageable


bagels and bargains

If this suburb were a shoe, it would be a Birkenstock and a Converse

Parking: is usually manageable. Vibe: bagels and bargains. Shoe equivalent: Birkenstocks, Hush Puppies, Converse. Would suit: anyone who is not afraid of diversity. Location: 5-10km from city centre. Distance from city centre: 8km. Direction: south-east. Postcode: 3182