A Short History of Russian Roulette in Australia

chopperFrom above, the city of Melbourne looks like a bird of prey on the attack. Its wings stretch up into northern suburbs and its beak bears down to snatch a kill from Port Phillip Bay, the huge inland expanse of water on which the city sits. The bird’s beady eye is located in a grid of factories and Victorian houses known as Footscray.

Until the Second World War this area was the epitome of joyless working-class Australian suburbia. Pubs shut at six and restaurants risked a visit from the police if they served wine after eight. Except for a weekly trip to Oval Centre for the footy, Footscray’s inhabitants stayed home and minded their own business.

Those locals would not recognise Footscray today. The grey suburb has been transformed into a colourful district for young professionals attracted by cheap rents and a short commute to Melbourne’s centre. Coffee shops and art galleries thrive on the main streets. Restaurants and bars do good business.

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