The city’s laneways are like the living, breathing heart of Melbourne.
Here is where you’ll find vibrant, exciting and sometimes not so cool street art and graffiti on the walls, particularly in the Central Business District. During the past 10 months, I’ve wandered down numerous laneways hunting for hidden cafés, bars and street art. What’s good and bad is that the art work is constantly changing as local artists bring new life to the walls. However, sometimes some of my favorite murals are gone by the time I look down that street again.
All you have to do is wander around the laneways and discover your own favorite street art.
The city’s history of street art culture dates to the 1970s and ‘80s when local youth took their inspiration from the graffiti culture of NYC. Since then, the City of Melbourne has acknowledged the local artists by approving permits for street art with the building owners permission. The city requests that artists ‘do art; not tags;’ unfortunately not all youth comply and there’s a lot of tagging as well.
If you like street art, I’d recommend just rambling around and enjoy taking photos like I do. Here are 6 of My Favorite Laneways for Street Art in Melbourne:
The epitome of Melbourne’s street art – Hosier Lane – one of the originals that is constantly changing – and not always for the best, in my opinion. This is the laneway where you’ll find dozens of tourists at any time of the day. Lately, I’ve found Hosier Lane to be a bit disappointing, but at least it never stays the same.
|Both of these murals have been painted over since I took these photos.|
AC/DC Lane & Duckboard Place
Formerly Corporation Lane, it was renamed in 2004 in recognition of AC/DC, the rock group, as their status as Ambassadors for Australia, and its location in the rock bar district of Melbourne. The laneway is home to some great artwork – some of which is protected and will never be re-tagged. This is probably the only spot in Melbourne where you will always see the same piece of art!
Following AC/DC Lane around the bend, you will find Duckboard Place, which is another good place to find street art. While you’re down here, you might want to pop into Pastuso for some delicious ceviche and Peruvian tapas.
|This mural was just added in 2016.|
There’s a small laneway between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane called Flinders Court. The street art here isn’t the greatest, and I’d recommend holding your nose if you want to explore here.
Since I shop weekly at the Queen Victoria Market, I’ve become quite familiar with nearby Blender Lane. Blender is filled with all kinds of street art, so you can easily take dozens of photos here! The laneway also is home to Blender Studios which comprises 15 artist studios and hosts regular street-art tours run by local artists. The 2.5-hour tour, available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, finishes at the studios where you will get to see artists and street artists at work.
Don’t forget to visit another street art laneway just around the corner off Queen Street!
|Sadly, this awesome piece was tagged over about 6 months ago.|
The street art on Union Lane was initially completed in 2008 by a collective of young artists and their professional mentors as a part of the city's Graffiti Mentoring Project. In 2010, the city commissioned more than 70 artists to redecorate the lane with their work. Unfortunately, one of my favorite murals is no longer here.
Union Lane is located off of Bourke Street, also known as Bourke Street Mall, the main shopping strip in Melbourne’s CBD.
Tattersall’s Lane & Stevenson Lane
Tattersall’s Lane is one of Melbourne’s hidden laneway gems. Located between Lonsdale and Little Bourke, this laneway is a collection of bars and street art which define the city’s lively and alternative vibe. Also just tucked off here is a smaller laneway called Stevenson Lane.
On both laneways, you’ll find an abundance of art work on the walls including heaps of Melbourne’s favorite bushranging son Ned Kelly.
Look for street art created by WRDSMTH, a “writer doing time in L.A.” as his website states. I love his cute and sometimes inspirational quotes!
For more street art locations, check out the City of Melbourne’s website and this MelbourneStreet Art blogger, which has a detailed map at the bottom of the page.
Happy hunting for street art in Melbourne!