Footscray 2014: a year in review

We look back at the year that was – a year of rapid change in the evolution of Footscray. New office workers and residents moved in, anniversaries were celebrated, we got some new places to eat, hard work was recognised, and major construction projects had their big reveals.

New station, new heights

Footscray received an upgraded station (escalators AND ramps!) thanks to the Regional Rail Link project, which wrapped up three years of construction in the area.

McNab Ave finally got its palm trees back and the 14 storey office building opened its fancy revolving door to tenants State Trustees and City West Water, dramatically increasing the lunchtime population of Footscray.

Footscray Station9

Food, glorious food

Lots of new eateries to explore this year including Roti Road, French Baguette, and the sublime burger joint, 8 Bit. With so much choice it’s hard to know where to start. Thankfully the new edition Footscray Food Guide can help.

Footscray personalities Mel and Matt Bodium of the Reverence Hotel were named Time Out’s Publicans of the Year, and Abdul and Rozenn from Konjo Ethiopian Restaurant were recognised at the African Australian Business of the Year awards for their work in supporting the local African community and promoting Ethiopian culture.

YourFootscray_MattMel

Downtown

Coles supermarket and Kmart returned to the new look Footscray Plaza in September following a lengthy closure for refurbishment and site development. New residents are still moving their couches into the most central apartment block in Footscray.

The Little Saigon precinct is a step closer to getting its own welcome arch after the local Vietnamese community scored significant contributions from the Victorian Government and Council.

Siagon

Refugees welcome here

The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre returned to Footscray with a new premises in Nicholson Street after outgrowing its city office. Centre founder, Kon Karapanagiotidis, nails Footscray perfectly in a few words. “It’s thriving, magical, brilliant multiculturalism. I love its history, diversity, resilience, sincerity, beauty and warmth.”

University town

Education is big here and it’s set to get even bigger with Footscray being declared a University Town. It makes sense with two Victoria University campuses and a massive tribe of students who live in Footscray or come here daily to study and hang out. As part of a bid to further blur the lines between university and community, VU at MetroWest opened its doors in downtown Footscray this month, offering a bookshop, cafe, exhibition space, meeting space and an evening with Shaun Micallef.

Students 3

The year in arts

Footscray Community Arts Centre celebrated its fortieth birthday this year with a grand birthday bash on the banks of the Maribyrnong.

The StreetWORKS program took arts to the streets when it rolled out six large scale murals across town.

Footscray Bulldogs are back

Footscray Bulldogs kicked their way into history, taking out the 2014 Premiership in the Victoria Football League in their first year in the competition. Great to see top class football and hear the roar of the crowd from Victoria University Whitten Oval again.

Ted Whiten

Looking to 2015

There’s a definite buzz around the place. 2014’s going out, just as it came in, with a bang over Footscray Park tonight. 2015 is going to be huge.