If you think 381 Cremorne is a sign of the decidedly upward shift in Richmond’s reputation, you’d be right. And it’s taking with it a whole lot of good changes in what was, in decades past, a less positive mood.
For a while, as the waves of inner-urban migration and change swept through Melbourne, Richmond looked a bit down-at-heel, with its shops and eateries struggling to keep up with the demand for more interesting and sophisticated outlets.
Right now, however, that’s all changing.
For instance, you know there’s a hipster-alert when you see stark white walls, neon lighting, and racks with t-shirts displayed in a manner that you only used to see in designer frock shops.
Swan Street has been morphing for a while. Just down the road from the 381 Cremorne end, near Richmond train station, busy little shops, perfect for gift browsing, sit alongside the always busy eateries.
Look out for Hut 13, at 79 Swan, artisanal homewares as well as soft toys and handbags. Keep heading down the road to 165, and you’ll find Royal Order of Nothing, clothing as eclectic and surprising as its name suggests. Couple of doors further down is Lily and the Weasel at 173 Swan, jewellery, socks and scarves to set off your quirky choice of t-shirt maybe?
Over the road, on the East Richmond train station side, big things are happening in the lovely old Swan Street Chamber of Commerce building. Recently sold, it became a pop-up venue for a mini-market, a movie theatre, and tearooms. Brilliant adaptive use of a site-in-waiting, it is an example of how stylish and optimistic Richmond is.
As it changes, keen retailers are lining up to be part of the renaissance, setting up shop in the heritage buildings that line Swan Street.
You’re right at the intersection with Church St here, too, where you’ll find the popular Public House hotel and next door Richmond Oysters seafood restaurant, one of a half dozen fish places in this precinct.
Spoilt for choice? But of course.