Docklands: Australia’s next Hollywood?


Earlier this year, I had the privilege of touring Docklands Studios, a cornerstone of our city’s thriving film industry.

This incredible investment by the state government is located just a stone’s throw from the city centre and major transport routes. Docklands Studios is a world-class facility that has become a magnet for both international and Australian productions.

During my visit, I was particularly impressed by Studio 6 which is equipped with a state-of-the-art LED volume screen – the largest of its kind in the world in fact, with 6000 LED panels stacked 12m high and 30.7m wide. This is transforming how movies and TV shows are made and is operated by cutting-edge technology company Nant Studios.

Docklands Studios has a fascinating history and has hosted an array of notable productions since its inception in 2004. The studios have been the backdrop for blockbuster films such as The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet, Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage, and Where the Wild Things Are. More recent productions include the TV series La Brea and the sci-fi thriller Upgrade. These productions not only highlight the studio’s cutting-edge facilities but also its ability to attract major international projects, putting Melbourne on the global map as a premier destination for film and television production.

The film industry is a significant driver of economic growth, providing jobs for a multitude of trades and professions. From set designers and carpenters to costume designers and caterers, the ripple effect of film production extends far beyond the studio gates.



For instance, the production of Liam Neeson’s film The Ice Road 2: Road to the Sky alone is expected to inject more than $30 million into Victoria’s economy and employ nearly 600 workers. This demonstrates the vital role the industry plays in job creation and economic stimulation.

I envision Docklands becoming known as the “Hollywood of Australia,” a hub where the magic of film can be felt throughout the community. This vision includes not just the production studios but also a vibrant interaction with the public environment through film-related businesses and cultural experiences, as well as educational experiences with the local schools.

Imagine walking through Docklands and stumbling upon film-themed cafes, interactive exhibits, and street performances that celebrate our local screen industry.

The groundwork for this transformation is already under way.

The District Docklands is evolving into a family entertainment precinct with attractions designed to cater to all ages.

The local cinema is truly top notch, and the development of a technology hub in Docklands supports innovative projects and start-ups, as well as the tech infrastructure to bring the magic to life, further integrating the creative and tech industries. That’s why the investment in education for film making is also key and the natural home should be Docklands.

This is what I think – but it’s crucial to involve the community every step of the way. I encourage residents to share their ideas and feedback on how we can continue to make Docklands a welcoming and vibrant place. Together, we can create an environment where families and individuals of all ages can enjoy world-class entertainment and cultural activities.

The potential for Docklands is immense. By harnessing the power of the film industry and integrating it into the fabric of our community, we can foster a unique cultural identity that attracts visitors from around the world. Let’s embrace this opportunity to turn Docklands into a beacon of creativity and innovation, a place where the film industry thrives alongside a dynamic and engaged community.

For more updates and ways to get involved, follow me on Instagram. Together, let’s build a future for Docklands that shines as brightly as the stars on the big screen. •


Jamal Hakim is a councillor at the City of Melbourne and a Docklands resident.

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