Little Bourke Street, Melbourne runs from one end of the <i> Hoddle Grid </i> to the other. For about two blocks, it’s Melbourne’s Chinatown – the oldest continually occupied Chinatown outside Asia.
Another historic and very significant cultural hub in Melbourne is the Lonsdale Street Greek Precinct – much smaller than Chinatown, but a historic centre of the Greek community in Melbourne, which is the largest Greek diasporic population on Earth. Melbourne is well known as the third largest Greek city in the world, after Athens and Thessaloniki (there’s something that will never happen for the Chinese or Indian populations here!). Much of the Greek diaspora in Melbourne immigrated after World War II, on ships, to start new lives in a new and young nation.
Greek migrants originally arrived with other communities in the Gold Rush era of the 1800s. Some Greek societies were set up towards the turn of the century. It was in the 1930s that the Greek Precinct took off.
Today, parts of this precinct and Chinatown have been meeting, in a nexus of cultures. Chinatown has grown and spread down to the Greek Precinct. Perhaps the Greek Precinct is slowly contracting?
Perhaps this represents either the ageing and slow shrinkage of the Greek diaspora in Melbourne, perhaps this is masked by intermarriage between communities, and resultant reduced identification in censuses as Greek; perhaps it reflects the reduced cultural core role of this precinct to the community today, as it continues to strongly integrate in the nation (that word, <i>integrate</i> is somewhat of a double edged sword in this nation, I think – with positive and negative connotations on both ends of the spectrum).
Anyway… that’s my observations about the Stories of Lonsdale and Little Bourke.