Even more amazing gifts!
Remember good old ‘Karen from Brighton’ last year? She was fed up with COVID-19 and Melbourne’s restrictions (um, we all are, Karen!), complaining “I’ve done all of Brighton.” But, I ask, has she done all of Hawthorn? Have you, for that matter? I think not.
From busy high streets or picturesque park getaways, to arts hubs and the sporting elite, Hawthorn is a suburb that is as diverse as it is desired. Just 6 kms east of Melbourne's CBD, it’s extremely sought after and one of Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs.
With houses often fetching above $2.5 million *spits out tea* it’s easy to rule Hawthorn out as inaccessible or out-of-touch. However, old sport, it has a lot of character and variety, and if you appreciate leafy suburban scenes as much as the hustle and bustle of urban attractions, you’d definitely dig Hawthorn, as it offers the best of both worlds.
So, without further ado, let’s crack on with showing you why they’re such a happy team at Hawthorn and why it should be the next place you stop, shop and stay (once restrictions ease, of course. I’m not Karen!)
You can’t mention Hawthorn without immediately thinking of the Hawthorn Football Club, aka The Mighty Hawks. Love them or loathe them, they are a Melbourne sporting institution, and one of the AFL’s most successful clubs.
Since being founded in 1902, they’ve won 13 VFL/AFL premierships, and are the only team to have won in every decade (1960s - 2010s). They also boast the remarkable record of a three in a row premiership streak (dubbed the three-peat), winning back-to-back-to-back in 2013-15. Braggers!
Although legendary pocket rocket coach Alastair ‘Clarko’ Clarkson may have just bid the club adieu (and probably punched a wall on the way out, knowing him), he has cemented himself as the Hawks' most successful coach, with four premierships to his name. Superstar players have included Dermott Brereton, Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, Sam Mitchell, Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico, Cyril Rioli and Luke Hodge. In 2022, the Hawthorn Football Club will finally join the AFLW lineup too for its 7th season.
There is one major flaw with the club though, that I feel I must not leave out. It’s the uniform, those vertical brown and gold striped guernseys. It’s poo and piss colours, people, POO AND PISS!
Firstly, that’s some damn good alliteration right there. But I digress. The discovery of gold in 1851 led to the Victorian gold rush, and Melbourne became the world’s richest city *rains dollar bills* We entered the ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ boom, and English designers flocked to the city to showcase their Victorian and Edwardian style artistry and architectural skill – and it’s a period evident in the grand designs and mansions that still remain in Hawthorn.
Notable historic homes and buildings include the tree-lined crescents and turrets and Tudor-style homes of the Grace Park Estate Based (priced at upwards of $3 million each these days *spits out tea again, dammit, I just made that*), Invergowrie (originally Burwood or Burwood Hill), The Hawthorns (probably the oldest and most famous house, built of bluestone), Governor Hotham Hotel (one of the first hotels in the area, and now known as "The Hawthorn"), Kawarau (now occupied by Alia College), Tay Creggan (built on the banks of the Yarra River and now owned the Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School Year 9 campus) and the gothic-style Christ, heritage listed Church Hawthorn (also one of the earliest surviving suburban churches).
Residents and traders pride themselves on their Ron Burgundy-esque classy reputation and sophistication. So, if you head to Hawthorn and don’t seek out its wide range of art, education and entertainment facilities, then what is even the point of you?
The Hawthorn Arts Centre (nee Hawthorn Town Hall) is a hub of arts & culture activities since undergoing a $18 million dollar refurbishment in 2012-13 *didn’t spit out my tea, thankfully I’ve finished it by now* It features new amenities, performance spaces, meeting rooms, the Town Hall Art Gallery, retail space The Emporium, exhibition and workshop areas and a café.
Craving a night of screening sophistication? Look no further than the Lido. It was also renovated in 2013 but has retained many of its original features and now includes 8 luxe red velvet indoor cinemas, a rooftop cinema, and a Manhattan modelled jazz room. Popcorn and Prosecco anyone?
Fancy yourself as a bit of a nerd? Well, you’ll love the Victorian Telecommunications Museum, in the Hawthorn Telephone Exchange on Burwood Road (that’s like a really, really, really, old phone, for all the young people out there) or the Melbourne Tram Museum. I say, ding dong!
And let’s not forget Hawthorn’s educated elite, from Erasmus Primary or Scotch College (what drug scandal?!), to higher education opportunities at The University of Melbourne or Swinburne (which feature a Virtual Reality Theatre, if you don’t mind!)
Contrary to popular belief, rich people can (apparently) have a good time (allegedly), from Billy Lids Playland for little kids, to the Rush Escape Game for big kids (there are 3 rooms, inspired by the Saw movies, Stranger Things, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
Those looking for a grassy knoll or park for a picnic are in luck too, with the likes of Central Gardens (with a rocketship playground) and Fairview Park (with a jangle garden), or if you prefer sharing a swim (poo and piss, people!) there’s always the Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
Now, you won’t be in short supply of a good feed or two when browsing the shops on Glenferrie Road, from Huxtaburger Hawthorn, Santoni Pizza Bar and Cop Shop Espresso café, to Piccolina Gelateria Hawthorn or Asian Grocer the Grand Laguna, there’s a restaurant or eatery to suit everyone. There’s also a Haigs Chocolate. Need I say more?!
Did someone say wine time? Located just 4 kms from the CBD, the family-owned Hawthorn Estate is the inner-city vineyard you didn’t know you needed. A one-acre block on the banks of the Yarra, the Hawthorn Estate produces 2,500 bottles of its signature vintage each year.
Oh, and don’t forget the Boroondara Farmers' Market at Patterson Reserve, Hawthorn East, where you can nab produce from all around Victoria, such as fresh fruit & vege, meat, honey, eggs, bread, cakes, dips and sauces, wine and beer and more.
A few local legends have emerged from Hawthorn.
Daniel Francis Murphy (that’s right, the man, the myth, the legend), grew up in Hawthorn prior to opening the chain liquor store Dan Murphy’s in 1952, and rather ironically, neuroscientist Kenneth Grant Jamieson – the influence behind imposing limits to drivers' blood-alcohol levels - hailed from Hawthorn too. Awkward!
Working Dog comedian and Have You Been Paying Attention? host Tom Gleisner lives in Hawthorn, so if you spot him in the street, yell out “tell us a joke, Tom!” He’d love it.
If you’re always wondering what’s a good gift shop near me, then, hello? Us, of course.
So, tally-ho, old sport, and come and see what’s good in the hood in Hawthorn!