Getting to Footscray & getting around with Tony Cavallaro

This article is a part of Your Footscray – an initiative of the Footscray Business Reference Group supported by Regional Rail Link

This week, we caught up with Tony Cavallaro and asked him about the best way to get to and from Footscray. Given how much he loves the Bulldogs, it’s not surprising that he loves getting to Etihad in less than 15 minutes.

Footscray is only 5kms from the city. What’s the best/easiest/your favourite way to travel to Footscray from the city and why?
The best way to get to Footscray is by train. On a Saturday, my wife Rosa and I drive to work together and afterwards, I head to Etihad Stadium to see the Bulldogs. What’s great about Footscray is that within 13 minutes I’ve gone from taking a seat on the train to sitting down in my reserved seat at Etihad. We’re so lucky being so close.

A lot of Melburnians refer to this part of Melbourne as “the West”, despite no-one calling the east of Melbourne “the East”. Can you explain why this is?
Not really, but Footscray is only five kilometers from the city and whatever people’s perceptions are about Footscray, that distance is never going to change.  We’re the last, real, inner-city Melbourne suburb to be fully developed. When I see a 10-storey apartment building going up, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s good that more people are coming into the area though we’re going to have to start getting used to using public transport to get to work, to clear our roads. They’ve gotten used to it overseas and we need to, as well.

Do you think Footscray is a safe place to walk around, especially at night and do you have any tips for staying safe?
Everyone’s got their own stories but I’ve never experienced any problems here. I don’t feel any more threatened walking around here than I would walking around in the city.

How much time do you think people should allow for exploring the food culture of Footscray and when is the best time of the week to visit?
If you’re into the Arts, there’s about five or six art galleries to visit but, if you’re into food, then you’ll need to take as long as you want because there’s so much to take in. For me, I love seeing lots of people around so I would have to recommend visiting on a Saturday morning when Footscray is at its busiest each week.

Do you have any advice for people coming to Footscray? Any places they must visit or experiences they shouldn’t miss out on?
If I was coming to eat here, I’d eat at Sapa Hills or Thien An (both Vietnamese). We also have restaurants which pioneered Asian food in Footscray in the ’50s: Poons Cafe and Jimmy Wongs (both Chinese).