I have a new neighbourhood. The Elwood chapter is over and the Abbotsford chapter is beginning. Elwood welcomed me to Melbourne and I am grateful for her leafy avenued, seaside community. Melbourne has a south vs. north thing going on. One side of the river against the other. I'm not really sure what that's about. But I have crossed the river. And I am embracing it.
Abbotsford was historically an industrial area. You can still see remnants of factories and mills, but they have mostly become hipster cafes and apartments.
Gentrification. Depending on who is telling the story this is either a good thing or a bad thing. For real estate agents, it's fantastic. Because when the bohemian bourgeois take over a suburb, and the rough edges are embraced and incorporated into latte environments, the prices go up. For the people who were just always here doing their thing, it can be annoying.
Abbotsford has a lot going on. A steady stream of migration since the 80s has made Abbotsford home to a large Vietnamese community and as a consequence a lots of vietnamese food down Victoria Street. I can get my pho fix whenever I feel the need.
And then there's the Abbotsford Convent, the former Convent of the Good Shepherd. Nowadays the extensive and beautiful buildings positioned at the bend in the Yarra house artists, practitioners and creative communities. Land at this bend in the river has been used for farming since the first land sales in 1838. The Collingwood Children's farm continues this tradition and is probably the oldest freehold farm land in Victoria. The land that runs down from the convent through the farm is a green and calm valley which hosts the monthly farmers market and is home to an extensive variety of animals from earthworms to peacocks to goats, horses, ducks and guinea pigs.
It feels good to be in Abbotsford.