Balaclava and St Kilda East

St Kilda East and Balaclava are an eclectic mix of people, architecture and history.

Make a beeline for Balaclava

St Kilda East is quite a different neighbourhood from the spectacle of its adjacent neighbourhood, St Kilda.

To those in the know, Balaclava, which makes up part of St Kilda East, is one of Port Phillip’s best kept secrets.

Like some parts of our beautiful and diverse City, Balaclava still has a bit of that old rock and roll edge to it, but if you dig a little deeper, there are some diamonds in the rough.

From delicious bakeries serving up anything from flaky pastries and the perfect flat white, to the freshest salad rolls, to boutiques and gift shops with something to please even the fussiest recipient, Carlisle Street has it all.

When it comes to lunch and dinner options, there are plenty of cafes and bars, serving up a veritable feast of cuisines from Modern Australian, to Japanese and Mexican – there’s even a Syrian café run by a mother-son duo.

And yes, there’s a dumpling house, a post office, phone repairer, quite the assortment of $2 shops, and if you venture down a side street, one of the best party supply shops in Melbourne. If you can’t get it on Carlisle Street, does it even exist?

Alma Park is the major park in the area with an east and west side separated by the train line. There is also St Kilda Cemetery, the resting place of many notable historic figures including Alfred Deakin and Albert Jacka, VC, MC and Bar, and Mayor of St Kilda (1930). You can cntact the Cemetery to arrange a tour.

The St Kilda Town Hall (built in 1890) is worth is worth a quick stop with an impressive building in a garden setting, with a white portico added in 1925. It also houses the Carlisle Street Arts Space which hosts free exhibitions featuring the work of local artists. Check if there are any exhibitions coming up.

The St Kilda Library (built in 1973) in Carlisle Street is a popular community hub.

Visiting for the day?

Don't miss:

  • Dining out on Carlisle Street - wheter it's coffee and cake or pub fare and everything in between
  • Exploring the fantastic mix of shops dotted along Carlisle Street for gifts, beauty products, clothes and more
  • A walk around Alma Park or stop for a picnic
  • Getting your history and culture fix with a walk past St Kilda Town Hall (and a visit to Carlisle Street Arts Space if it's open) and St Kilda Library
  • Dropping by Space2b Social Design - this art and design social enterprise is a retail outlet, gallery, café, design studio, workshop, training centre, meeting room, and small business hub in one! Established to support people seeking asylum, refugees and newly arrived migrants to become financially independent and included, space2b is worth a visit to see what's on display in the gallery and what handmade items are available to buy in the store.

Getting there

Balaclava is well served by public transport, having trams in Chapel Street (route #75) and Carlisle Street (route #3 and #16) and a train line running to Sandringham. 

Tram routes: 3, 5, 16, 64, 75

Train: Balaclava Station (Sandringham line)

For timetables and information visit Public Transport Victoria.

Geography of the area

St Kilda East extends from Chapel Street, St Kilda, to Caulfield, and is six kilometres south-east of Melbourne. Along its northern edge runs the Dandenong Road tram (operating since 1928) and another east-west tram (operating since 1913) runs along Balaclava Road to Caulfield. Near its eastern edge the railway runs from Windsor to Sandringham.

Balaclava, part of the neighbourhood of St Kilda East, is seven kilometres south-east of Melbourne.

Area: 2 km2
2016 population: 15,977
2011 population: 15,024
Average annual growth rate (2011 - 2016): 6.2%

(Source: ABS National Census.2011 and 2016)

History and characteristics

Balaclava and St Kilda East are two of the more diverse neighbourhoods of the City of Port Phillip. The housing stock includes larger houses and cottages from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, with a significant stock of flats and apartments from the 1960s and 1970s. The neighbourhood is of the most densely settled in the City of Port Phillip.

Balaclava takes its name from the battlefield in the Crimean War (1853-6) and has related street names such as Nightingale, Inkerman, Raglan and Sebastopol.

There is no government school in St Kilda East, but there are two Jewish campuses and a Catholic school to the east.

If you would like further information based on the 2016 Census, please refer to the East St Kilda profile id or for Port Phillip wide data, refer to the City of Port Phillip profile id.

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