The King's bastard / by Mario Mirabile

Fitzroy is a Melbourne suburb adjacent to the CBD.  It was Melbourne's first suburb, and also the first to be granted separate municipal status. The parts closest to the city were originally quite genteel, with large townhouses and gardens for the well-heeled. But, surrounded by factories and industry, it also provided an ideal location for working class housing, and the northern end became a maze of narrow streets and tiny cottage terraces. Eventually, the mansions were converted to boarding houses, and by the end of the 19th century, Fitzroy was solidly working class, and even slum-like in parts.

Like any inner city location, it has undergone waves of renewal and gentrification over the years. Today, the working class have been largely squeezed out, replaced by the hip and arty. The once grimy back alleys are now covered in exquisite street art, the factories and warehouse converted to galleries and boutique breweries. It has become one of Melbourne's central hubs for live music, art and dining. Even though it's come a long way from its down-at-heel roots, it still manages to feel a bit grimy and grungy. All part of the charm, I suppose.