Carlton is a suburb of Melbourne located 2 kilometres north of the city’s central business district. The area is well-known for its ornate Victorian architecture, picturesque garden plazas and for having one of Australia’s World Heritage status man-made sites, the Royal Exhibition building.
There are many places to explore in Carlton including five main garden squares that provide a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city, such as the 26 hectare Carlton Gardens, University Square, Lincoln Square, Argyle Place and MacArthur Place. The northern area of Argyle Square at Lygon Street has been redeveloped into Little Italy, an Italian style piazza featuring a central sundial and a myriad of Italian restaurants. This area has also been credited as the birthplace of Melbourne’s lively café culture. Carlton is home to La Mama Theatre which spawned the early Australian theatre scene in the 1970’s, and Cinema Nova which showcases a variety of international art house films. Many of Melbourne’s historically significant buildings are located in Carlton, the famous world heritage sites of the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, Victorian Trades Hall, the oldest Trade Union Building in the world, and the ruins of the original Carlton Brewery.
Carlton is easily served by Melbourne’s main tram routes with several running from Swanston Street to Melbourne University with stops at Carlton North and Lygon Street. The bus service runs to Carlton via Lygon, Elgin and Rathdowne Streets. The nearest railway station is located at Melbourne Central Station, with a 17-minute pleasant stroll down Lygon Street past Old Melbourne Gaol and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Not many areas of Australia have such a diverse heritage as Carlton, once declared the slums of Melbourne. This area has undergone a huge redevelopment and is now home to a unique blend of people and cultures, with a rich tapestry that can be seen in the areas of Little Italy and in the many Jewish influences throughout the suburb. Carlton is also home to a large student population due to its close proximity to Parkville Campus of the University of Melbourne.