Suburb Profile: Spotswood, VIC 3015
For a tiny suburb, Spotswood packs a powerful punch and often has visitors suggesting it’s one of Melbourne’s inner-west’s best kept little secrets. The entire footprint of postcode 3015 is just over 3 square km, around half the size of its two Yarra River neighbours, (Yarraville and Newport).
Spotswood’s convenience is its drawcard, but the sleepy little village is its surprise. Spotswood sits at the base of the Westgate Bridge, is less than a minute’s drive from the Williamstown Rd offramp, and enables a commuter to reach the city in a very short timeframe. Located 7km from CBD and being supported by a train station, Spotswood welcomes many workers who stroll to the train station for their daily commute.
This little suburb’s name has morphed gradually over the last century and a half, from Spottiswoode (named after a well-regarded land-owner, John Stewart Spottiswoode, who purchased land in the suburb in 1841), to Spottiswood, and finally to the name we all recognise today. Once stigmatised by its stinky industry and limited aspirational appeal, this old working class suburb has tossed off its bad smell, remediated a lot of land, and found itself a new personality.
Unlike its busy neighbouring suburbs, Spotswood has maintained a quiet little main street (Hudsons Rd) and the industrial vibe is alive and well with the O-I glassworks factory noisily producing bottles around the clock, the current and decommissioned petrol tanks at many turns, and vacant ex-industrial land sites being put to alternative uses now.
The old glassworks site on Booker St was transformed with scaffolding and black tarpaulin to host 2018’s Australian Ninja Warrior television show, and the cleared land beneath the western pillars of the Westgate bridge is now tipped to become ‘Grazeland’ food markets, hosting popup entertainment and food trucks for festivals and weekend visitors.
Most incredibly, the site that draws a consistent number of visitors of all ages is Scienceworks; a Museum Victoria facility with its own planetarium and beautifully preserved buildings that hark back to an uglier side of the inner-west. The main heritage building is the original sewerage pumping station, once upon a time dreaded by locals, but now revered by those who appreciate Spotswood’s incredible change.
Since a local café featured in Broadsheet a few years ago, Spotswood’s bakery and café scene has thrilled a lot of diners who enjoy a late weekend breakfast or amazing pastry. Patrons queue at Candied for their incredible bakery goodies, and Duchess continues to attract a crowd on a Sunday.
A popular new local offering is Hudsons Rd wine bar, a little nook with fresh deli produce and great independent wines on offer. It’s the local pub that’s enjoyed a serious transformation though. This down to earth, family-friendly pub with crackling fires during winter and shaded outdoor courtyard in summer is hard to get a table at when the “$15 steak and pot night offer” runs.
For those who love period architecture and character homes, Spotswood boasts a gorgeous array of Victorian worker’s cottages and family homes, dotted about the tree-lined streets that run off Hudsons Rd.
Offering a median house price of $950,000, this suburb’s gentrification story has been dynamic indeed, but it still offers incredible value for money when property buyers compare it to other rail-supported, character suburbs within a 7km distance to town.
The secret for Spotswood buyers is to be patient. Properties don’t turn over often, and the low baseline number of properties in this suburb makes home acquisition in postcode 3015 a challenge for most buyers.