Way to go for Pho
You’re right at the apex of the Cremorne precinct when you stay at 381 Cremorne, looking north to the sports and parklands, while south, east and west busy and prosperous Richmond is at your back door.
Church Street takes you east down to the Yarra River, but there’s another less well-known thoroughfare worth exploring. Lennox Street, which joins Swan Street just a few hundred metres up from Richmond Station, goes right through to the western boundary of the suburb, to Richmond’s Vietnamese precinct in and around Victoria Street.
A decade or so ago, when Richmond was the outlet store capital of Australia, you’d find busloads of shoppers converging on the area. Now, the outlets are less prominent, but still, there’s a good bargain to be had, if you know where to look.
In Lennox Street, for instance, a Meredith outlet has opened, right next door to an old-time tailors, which still sports a dressmaker’s dummy in the window (festooned with spider webs and a coating of dust). It’s a sign of the times, and shows what’s happening in Lennox Street.
Also a sign of the times, there’s a café worth checking out almost over the road from the fashion outlet, at 285 Lennox Street. LNX (Lennox Street Exchange) is a co-working space with a really good eatery attached. Created in an old church building, the interior has lots of interesting spaces and with an eclectic mix of people working out of this co-operative, it’s got a nice buzzy atmosphere.
In contrast to the other side of the railway line, in the area around 381 Cremorne, this was where the first landowners in Richmond built their grand houses. Richmond Hill was subdivided into allotments in 1839, and Lennox Street established in 1853, so it’s lined with history.
At 174, for instance, undertaker Herbert King began building on the site around 1889, eventually constructing the substantial Italianate premises for his funeral parlour in 1899. You can still see the name at the top of the building.
If you’re heading down Lennox Street towards the popular Vietnamese restaurants, look out for the Happy New Life Community Garden tucked in behind the public housing close to Victoria Street. Also known as Lennox Street Community Garden, it’s won all kinds of awards, and is a welcoming, busy place for culinary fossickers.
“Pho bo” by Blue Lotus – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pho_bo.jpg#/media/File:Pho_bo.jpg