Smith Street heritage walk

View the Smith Street heritage walk on Google Maps.

Download the Smith Street heritage walk (PDF 5.4MB) to print.

This walk will take approximately 2.5 to 3 hours to complete. This walk covers a considerable distance, so you may prefer to walk sections on separate occasions.

About Smith Street

Smith Street was created in 1839 when Crown land north of Melbourne’s town limits was sold as 25 acre allotments. The rural lots on each side of the street were subdivided during the 1850s. On the higher ground on the western side, Melbourne’s gentry built brick and stone houses in large gardens, while on the east, small and closepacked wooden cottages proliferated on the steep Collingwood Slope where there were no building controls.

There was little commercial development in Smith Street until late in the 1850s. By the 1870s the first buildings were being replaced by more substantial premises. During the boom of the 1880s, Smith Street was already the district’s premier shopping street when the 1887 cable tram service from the city to the Merri Creek brought an influx of customers to the large department stores, stocked with goods from Fitzroy and Collingwood factories.

Today, most heritage buildings are altered at street level while the style and decorative detail of the different periods remain intact on their upper storeys.