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Exploring South Yarra: 11 Must-Know Facts

One of the oldest and most wealthy inner city suburbs of Melbourne in South Yarra. In the 2021 census, the suburb accounted for a population of more than 25,000. Toorak borders the city to the east, Prahran to the south, Yarra river and Richmond to the north. The suburb of this city is decadent, fashionable, and historic and is home to Victoria’s old money.

However, only some part of the suburb is located in Melbourne. The area west of Punt Road is Melbourne, and the extent to the east is Stonnington City Council. This suburb’s shopping and market area run along the busy Chapel Street and Toorak Road. This suburb’s widespread commercial sector’s main features are dining, entertainment, nightclubs, fashion and clothes, and food shopping.

Things To Know About South Yarra

The South Yarra area was Melbourne’s gay village for several eras. The properties on Walsh Street, Fairlie Court, and Domain Street set the price records in the residential areas. Some of Melbourne’s respected and prestigious residential addresses are in this suburb.

1. History 

Initially, the tribe of Wurundjeri from the Kulin nation occupied South Yarra. In 1830s, during the foundation of Melbourne, the area of this suburb was inhabited by European settlers. Later, the area became hugely popular and significant with the rich people of Melbourne in the year 1840s. Along with Toorak, numerous residential houses were constructed and maintained a high-class reputation after World War II.

The post office of the place was temporarily opened in 1854 and then revived on the year 1858. The older historic mansions’ huge gardens were subdivided in the mid of 1920s and 1930s. The area featured slabs of flats, and many apartments were built. The Park Street neighbourhood became a well-known area for middle-class gay families. During that time, homosexuality was an illegal culture in Victoria.

The construction of the buildings continued around the suburb’s railway station from the 1960s to the 1970s. Currently, in Melbourne, this place is considered as the thickly populated suburbs.

In Walsh Street, two Polish officers named Damian Eyre and Steven Tynan were assassinated on 12 October 1988. In 2002, three men were murdered because of a dispute at Salt nightclub on Daly Street. In 2005, the Supreme Court of Victoria held seven men guilty of the murder. The Salt nightclub was the wrong place for notorious men and was lastly closed after the final verdict of the murder case.

2. Population 

South Yarra had more than 25,000 residents in the 2016 census, among which 51.1% were Australian by birth.

This suburb’s most practised and popular religions were Catholicism 16.0% and No Religion 42.6%. The other nationality of the people included 4.5% England , 2.2% India ,1.6% Malaysia , and 5.7% China. Some other spoken languages were 1.6% Cantonese ,1.4% Spanish ,1.4%Russian , 1.5% Greek , and 6.3% Mandarin .

3. Local Landmarks 

There are numerous local attractions and landmarks in South Yarra; Chapel Street is the most popular. The Jam Factory is one of the next popular landmarks of this place. The industries and old factories were converted and are now rebuilt into shopping malls and cinemas.

On the turning of Chapel Street and Toorak Street is the largest market centre, the Como Centre, which is attached to a workplace building, the suburb’s tallest building. The building is the head office for Global Television’s TV and ATV-10.

south yarra
Photo by Kyle Lobo on Unsplash

One of the oldest and most popular gourmet foods and fresh food marketplace is the Prahran Market in this suburb. Additionally, Toorak village, which runs on Chapel street, is a famous landmark home to a wide variety of shopping stalls. In addition, there are various heritage buildings, including the old building of railway station, the post office, and the Melbourne High School.

4. Residential Architecture 

South Yarra is home to numerous historical manors and buildings. One of the very oldest manors of Melbourne is Como House located on the Williams road, which National Trust now owns. Other old mansions are Richmond House on Avoca Street, Airlie House on Domain Road, and Barwon.

The Richmond House was once the home of Sir Rupert Clarke Bt, and the Airlie House is now a management college for the Victoria Police which formerly served as the townhouse of the Chirnside family.

Other massive houses of this suburb include Wavendon located in Walsh Street , and Raveloe located in Domain Road. Raveloe formerly was home to Mabel Brookes and Wavendon to film director Fred Schepisi. The Botanic Gardens, Government House, and the Kings Domain are located at the core of the Domain area. Other large historic mansions are Poolman House, located on the turning of Punt Road and Domain Road and Fairbairn.

Richard Goldsbrough, stock and station agent, built the Ernest Poolman House in 1865. The family of Poolman owned the mansion from the year 1921. Mrs Poolman donated the estate to South Yarra Christ Church, and the estate served as a hospital for 30 years for old Anglican women.

Snainton, located at the 80 Clowes Street in the suburb, is a prominent and distinguished example of grand Federation architecture. Later, the mansion was bought and re-established with a huge amount of money by the world-famous interior designer John Coote in 1986. The sister property of Snainton in 72 Clowes Street was sold in 2008 for 8.9 million Australian dollars.

A Victorian manor named the Caroline House was sold in 2014 for almost 13 million dollars. The historic mansion was home to Australia’s dealer of art, Joseph Brown. Between the years 1966 and 1999, Joseph Brown gifted his 154 artworks to Victoria’s National Gallery at 30 million Australian dollars.

Additionally, there are numerous terrace houses in South Yarra. Some of Melbourne’s beautifully decorated and preserved terrace houses of Victoria are featured on Park Street. Some of the houses are huge, having three to four stories. Some popular 19th-century double-storey terraces are on the West of Toorak Road, Surrey Road, Darling Street, Caroline Streets, and Domain Road.

south yarra
image from: Unlimphotos

Lawson Grove, Darling Street, and Alexandra Avenue are home to Art Deco enthusiasts. During the 1920s to 1930s, several apartment buildings for Art Deco were constructed overseeing the river of Yarra. Beverly Hills, located on Darling Street, is one popular apartment building with a swimming pool in a grotto-style for all the residents. The apartments of Beverley Hills feature the Spanish Mission style.

The Lawson Grove Cafe located in Lawson Grove is on the first floor of the building for Art Deco. The cafe was built to serve as a small store for the South Yarra residents. However, it presently runs as an elegant and attractive cafe shop.

5. Places Of Worship 

south yarra
Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

In the back streets of this suburb, there are numerous small churches. The Jewish house of Melbourne Hebrew Congregation is the largest structure built in Australia. It was constructed in 1929, featuring a big copper dome and order portico. The historic and ancient Anglican church is named the Christ Church. The church is situated on Punt Road and Toorak Road. The tall pinnacle of the church serves as a landmark.

6. Public Space 

South Yarra offers many parklands and free open spaces for the residents. 

south yarra
Photo by Radhika Sharma on Unsplash

The popular parks of South Yarra include Fawkner Park and some parts of the Botanic Royal Gardens. Fawkner Park is a huge park surrounded by office buildings on St Kilda Road and private residences on Commercial Road, Toorak Road, and Punt Road. The Fawkner Park features majestic boulevards of trees and bushes and recreational services. There are also smaller gardens, including Como Gardens, Garden Botanic, and open space for public housing.

7. Education 

The 1930s Gothic main building High School of Melbourne is a local and popular landmark in suburbs of South Yarra. Opposite the Royal Botanical Gardens in Anderson Street is the Merton Hall campus of Melbourne Grammar School for Girls. However, the junior section of the school is named Morris Hall and is located in the suburbs of Caroline Street.

The Grammar School of Melbourne is an only boys’ school at the senior level. The school is surrounded by Saint Kilda Road, Bromby Street, and Domain Street. The school features beautiful ancient gardens and massive bluestone buildings. Moreover, numerous terrace houses at Melbourne Grammar School serve as an accommodation centre for its teachers.

The Creswick House and the terrace house of Victoria is home to the boarders of the middle school. Two of the oldest Victoria’s primary schools, South Yarra Primary School and Christ Church Grammar School, are located in this suburb.

8. Transport Facilities

There are two main railway stations at South Yarra. The Pakenham, Frankston, Cranbourne, and Sandringham lines have the suburbs’ Station. The eastern part of the Yarra suburbs is served by Hawksburn station on the Frankston, Pakenham, and Cranbourne lines.

There are also tram routes that run through the suburbs. The tram routes numbers are 58, 72, and 78. Additionally, there are major bus routes that run through Punt Road and Commercial Road

9. Liveability 

South Yarra was considered the most liveable suburb among all the Melbourne suburbs in a 2005 report called Liveable Melbourne, which The Age financed. The suburb juxtaposes well with the schools, CBD (Central Business District), restaurants, shopping centres, and easy access to trams, buses, and trains. In addition, there are also a lot of open gardens, trees, and spaces.

10. Sports 

The Australian ruled football team named the Football Club of South Yarra participates in the Football League of South Australia. Moreover, the three teams of Old Boys Football Club from Melbourne High School also participate in the Amateur Football Association of Victoria. Every week the  matches are conducted on the Miller oval – Woodfull at Melbourne High School.

Besides football, the two  century old tennis clubs  are also very popular. The largest club is the Royal South Yarra club, which has an extra grass court. The other club is the Tennis Club of Hawksburn , located in the suburb’s heart and has three extra courts. Orrong Park, Fawkner Park, and Prahran Community Center are available for public rental.

11. Localities

In the east of South Yarra is a locality named Hawksburn. Toorak is surrounded by Hawksburn and is popularly known for its railway station. Hawksburn has a small band of a shopping centre on Malvern Road known as the “Hawksburn Village. Most of the suburb’s older homes and terraces are located near Cromwell Crescent.

One of this suburb’s rich and prestigious parts is the Domain Precinct. The locality is surrounded by Toorak Road West, St Kilda Road, Punt road, Alexandra Avenue, and Punt Road. The Domain Precinct is home to many of Melbourne’s old wealthy families. It has documented and verified some of the highest Victoria’s land values.

south yarra
Image by Philip Barrington from Pixabay

The popular streets of Domain Precinct are Park Street, Clowes Street, Walsh Street, Domain Road, Anderson Street, Marne Street, and Fairlie Court. The locality is enhanced and decorated with terrace houses, high-end apartments, and manors. The locality is close to the Central Business District, Government House, Fawkner Park, Botanical Gardens, shopping centres, and top private schools.


South Yarra is a lovely and family-friendly suburb to live in. The place is modern and fast while preserving all the important historical and ancient monuments. Moreover, the place has evolved from time to time and has proved to be one of the best suburbs in Australia to reside in. The residential areas have streets with trees lined on both sides. It is also a great area to travel, socialize and make friends. This suburb is home to many young people who love crowds and noise.

Ankita M Bose
Ankita M Bose
Ankita has completed her Masters in English and has a great interest in traveling and exploring beautiful destinations. She loves writing travel contents and also keeps an interest in exploring beautiful Australian beaches, deserts and wildlife. She will guide you through some of the popular and exciting destinations to visit in Australia from her research.

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