Lord Mayor Sally Capp switches Docklands for Carlton
By Katie Johnson
Carlton locals will now be rubbing shoulders with Lord Mayor Sally Capp who recently moved into the neighbourhood after a three-year-stint in Docklands.
After her landlord wanted the 30th-floor Victoria Harbour rental back, the Lord Mayor and husband Andrew Sutherland were looking for a “different experience” and decided Carlton was the move.
“In Carlton, we are back at ground level and feel that we are getting into the neighbourhood vibe,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We are already on our way to becoming regulars for takeaway at a number of local restaurants including Capitano and Sushi Ten and buying fresh produce and sourdough loaves at Masani on weekend mornings.”
Since the move, Cr Capp said she had been enjoying walking around the Princes Park track –which she called the “Carlton Tan” – as well as the cemetery.
“We’ve discovered amazing stories through our regular walks in the Melbourne Cemetery,” she said.
“There are both tragic and uplifting tales of the people buried there that make Melbourne’s history very personal.”
Having moved into Carlton during the lockdown, the Lord Mayor was looking forward to neighbourhood institutions like Carlton Baths, La Mama, Melbourne Museum and Imax to open.
She was also keen to sample the diverse range of food offerings the suburb has to offer. “Just down from us there are Japanese, Sri Lankan, Lebanese and Italian restaurants next door to each other; that’s Melbourne for you,” Cr Capp said.
“And of course, Carlton is a university precinct which means lots of young people challenging the status quo and on the quest for knowledge – and pubs when we open again.”
For those looking to indulge in some Carlton vs Docklands rivalry, like any good parent the Lord Mayor didn’t pick favourites.
She said that the she loved the “sky-high” experience at Docklands’ Victoria Harbour and would miss the library, water activities like kayaking and dragon-boating, as well as the gang at the local Docklands eatery Saluministi.
“Living in Carlton is not better, or worse, it’s different,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Where Docklands has water, Carlton has grass, lots of green open parks including Carlton Gardens, Princes Park, Argyle Square and Lincoln Square just to name a few.”
While vacancy rates in Docklands have decreased significantly since the peak of the pandemic, the Lord Mayor’s departure comes amid continued record movement in the inner-city rental market.
SQM Property research figures from July showed vacancy rates in Docklands were running at more than six per cent. While this represents a significant decrease since October (18 per cent), experts say current rates are still elevated enough to put “downward pressure on rents”, and also highlight the continued effect of Airbnb listings coming off the rental market.
SQM director Louis Christopher told Domain that while vacancy rates had started to fall, they were still comparably high in most capital cities to what was usual.
“Before coronavirus hit, Southbank, Docklands and Melbourne’s CBD had a vacancy rate of about three or four per cent – which is pretty standard for that area,” he said.
However despite her departure, the Lord Mayor said that she would continue returning to the suburb she had grown to love.
“My partner Andrew and I are enjoying immersing ourselves into this new neighbourhood and meeting the locals with more to be uncovered and appreciated as the city reopens,” she said.
“And we are regularly back in Docklands to get our water fix.” •