Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Posts Tagged ‘Northbridge’

Dance with the Muses in Northbridge

Posted by occidentprone on May 21, 2008

Plans for a microbrewery and piazza in Northbridge have been getting some press but is the proposal enough to get Northbridge back in our social good graces? 

The City of Perth says work on the piazza will start next month.

Well-considered design features and uses in and around the piazza will ensure its vitality, comfort and safety: As well as providing for everyday informal activity, the flexibly designed spaces allow for performances, festivals and other cultural and even sporting events.  A large grassed area, for example, could host anything from cricket matches to markets. Al fresco dining from surrounding cafes and restaurants will spill into the space, adding on-going life to the piazza. Perth’s first permanent LED screen is expected to be a major attraction, operating 24 hours a day.

As only local government can do, they’ve made it sound sterile and without spontaneity but we still hold out hope.

Northbridge’s history has been up and down, trendy and ugly, ethnic ghetto and mainstream, drunken dark corner and sunny family spot. It is in a bit of a lull at the moment (although the media stories about louts and violence seem to have waned).

But after walking through both Northbridge and Perth city centre in daytime in recent weeks, at least Northbridge has a soul that can be revived. There is life in pockets of small shops, cafes and boutiques. Art galleries and art supply stores will draw that recently recognised commodity – the creative class.

Scoff if you want, but in these days – and this state – of flowing wealth successful baby boomers and X-ers are prepared to spend to buy soul back into their overworked lives. Watercolour painting on the side, weekend writing or joinery or cake decorating courses, thousands dropped with ease at the Fender store. And not with an eye on glory (well, maybe) but with an eye to filling the void, creating something.

So business gurus and planners, don’t underestimate how much people like to hang out with the Muses in dark corners, feeding their inner boho with inspiration – and spending large while they’re at it. That lust for life can’t be built into a structure, it’s a vibe and it’s made by people.

 Now what are they doing about Forrest Place and the Hay Street Mall – what a mess.


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Get amongst it: Northbridge

Posted by occidentprone on May 10, 2008

OP is not in the business of tourism, or even travel writing (we wish). But the blog is an (overwritten) microscope-telescope to encourage jaded West Australians to look at their home anew. Maybe it will bring a fresh view of the landscape, and possibly even new ideas about how to live in the country, urban and suburban landscape. In that vein, here is the first in a sometimes series on places in the heart.

Northbridge  and its precursor North Perth have been through the ups and downs of inner city areas everywhere. Its ethnic background of many hues and nightclub-crime profile has seen it labelled fashionable, dangerous, dirty, edgy, family friendly, back to trendy and back to bleak. 

Step outside the clubby-pubby scene, blink into the daylight, and make an excursion.

It’s no secret that the northern end of William Street, from Bulwer down, is brimming with cheaper restaurants and food stores. Take away roast duck – whole, violin, chopped or boned – or stop in a yum cha house. Take the kids on a free Cat bus tour or seek out op shop gems. 


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