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The pull of Hawthorn: why people love this leafy suburb

When Graeme Smith and his wife Liz decided to move closer to the city, Hawthorn was the obvious choice. Long-time residents of the eastern suburbs, the couple had lived in Burwood East for 28 years before downscaling to a three-storey townhouse in Hawthorn East.
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“We wanted somewhere that was a bit more convenient to town,” says Smith, as well as somewhere with a wide range of public transport. “And just to have more things at our doorstep.”

Smith was no stranger to the leafy blue-ribbon suburb. He grew up in nearby North Balwyn and Kew, and his mother had lived in Hawthorn for many years after becoming an empty nester. He appreciates its more cosmopolitan qualities, but also its peace and quiet.

One of Melbourne’s more moneyed suburbs, Hawthorn’s tree-lined streets host heritage homes and manicured gardens, but the presence of Swinburne University ensures a buzzing atmosphere along its main drags. The west side of the neighbourhood follows the curves of the Yarra and there’s no shortage of sprawling parks and sports facilities.

“My favourite market in Melbourne,” is how Andrew Leoncelli, CBRE Victoria’s managing director, describes it. “Hawthorn ticks all the boxes. You’ve got very good retail amenities, lifestyle amenities, and then good public transport.”

In recent years the suburb’s more traditional restaurants have been supplemented by a new generation of on-trend cafes and eateries, such as Bawa on Burwood Road, which opened to much hype in October 2015 and still does a roaring trade two years later.

Inspired by the designs of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, which blended built environments with nature, the cafe’s fit-out is airy and decked with foliage – fitting for a Hawthorn venue.

“Our design aspect really does fit into the suburb well,” says co-owner and head chef Chris Griffiths, who grew up in Hawthorn. “It’s a beautiful suburb. You can drive down side streets and feel covered by trees.

“I find Hawthorn’s not as relaxed as Fitzroy and not as snobby as Toorak. People are very approachable and very friendly.”

Wade Nicholson-Doyle, owner of Hello Sailor cafe on Auburn Road, agrees. It’s an approach he’s tried to mirror in his business.

“We wanted to create a cafe that has zero attitude, so there’s no too-cool-for-school kids working there, everyone’s very relaxed and chilled,” he says. “I’ve noticed that a lot of the locals know all our staff by name.”

Occupying a heritage building on a corner site, Hello Sailor draws a wide and varied clientele, from older customers and mother with babies during the week, to younger groups on weekends and even the odd Hawthorn footy player.

Nicholson-Doyle believes that alongside its proximity to the city and its friendly locals, Hawthorn’s extensive array of cafes is one of its biggest drawcards.

“It brings more people to the streets,” he says. “I think everyone offers something a little bit different as well. They all kind of compliment each other.”

Smith says there are “tonnes” of cafes close to his home, and he has some favourite spots for dinner too, like south-east Asian fusion restaurant Okra, The Beehive Hotel, and The Meat & Wine Co.

“We can walk to quite a few of the restaurants and the rest of them we get on public transport,” he says.

The suburb’s strong student cohort also means there’s no shortage of places to eat on a shoestring.

“If you want a quick, cheap meal, you go down Burwood Road or Glenferrie Road and you’re lost because of the degree of choice you have,” says Smith. “I find that aspect rather good. Even when you’re just walking around the streets, it’s a bit more interesting than just having old fogies like me.”

Boutiques are another fixture of Hawthorn, dotting Auburn and Glenferrie Villages, with stores such as Hokey Curator, Swoon and Muse stocking high-end fashion and homewares. The suburb is also home to one of Readings’ beloved bookshops.

Andrew Leoncelli says as more Hawthorn residents become empty nesters and their family homes feel too large, they’re seeking smaller alternatives.

“They’re looking for large, high-quality, well-finished apartments,” he says.

A new development that’s seeing interest from local downsizers is The Auburn, a project that will comprise just 14 apartments once completed. Located at 177 Auburn Road, it will sit just 400 metres from Auburn train station, and even closer to Auburn Village.

“This project is actually tailored to that mature buyer, buyers coming out of a big family home where the kids are no longer with them or the final kid is getting ready to leave school,” Leoncelli explains.

The Auburn, built by award-winning WAF construction, will have one one-bedroom residence, nine two-bedroom apartments, and four three-bedroom apartments. Both its architecture and interiors are the work of award-winning Fitzroy practice Splinter Society. All offer wide courtyards for indoor-outdoor entertaining, and Leoncelli says their large-sized kitchens are a particular highlight.

“What we’ve got is a beautiful kitchen with enormous, natural granite finished to a very high level, and double ovens,” he says. “Also the scale of the master bedroom with walk-in-robes and an en suite.”

In addition to its location and design, Leoncelli believes The Auburn’s boutique status is something that makes it particularly appealing.

“It’s a bit of an enclave,” he says. “They’re all big apartments, they’re not investor or student-focused, so they’re going to have like-minded people sharing their spaces.”

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Federal government was preparing to sell Lobby Restaurant before occupation

Police remove Aboriginal activists from the old Lobby Restaurant.A man is arrested and removed from the restaurant.
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The federal government was finalising plans to sell a disused restaurant in the Canberra’s parliamentary triangle before Indigenous land rights activists began a controversial occupation this week.

Acting National Capital Authority boss Andrew Smith told Ngunnawal elders and Aboriginal Tent Embassy campaigners the future of the Lobby Restaurant near Old Parliament House had not been settled on Wednesday.

But documents provided to The Canberra Times show authority staff were finalising a commercial marketing campaign late last month, ahead of a sale through crown lease.

It is understood the building was to be put on the market within days.

One person was charged after police removed a group of activists from the Lobby on Thursday morning, a day after negotiations with leaders of the group failed to secure any resolution.

The man was arrested after a stand-off lasting more than an hour, as police escorted about five other members of the group from the building.

He was later charged with failing to leave a Commonwealth premise when directed and was released on bail to face court in December.

Activists forced their way into the restaurant on Sunday in an attempt to reclaim what they described as Ngunnawal sovereign land.

They issued the authority with an eviction notice and demanded $7 million in back-paid rent, before requesting a week’s grace period to remain inside.

“ACT Policing were advised that permission provided to the group on Sunday, November 5, 2017, to remain in the building has now been removed and have been asked to restore the building to an unoccupied state,” a spokesman said said.

“ACT Policing supported liaison between the NCA and the group’s representatives in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution.”

Ngunnawal representative Serena Williams said it was seriously concerning plans to sell the building had not been publicly disclosed, accusing the government of lying.

“We live in this so-called capital of . The government has failed to see our sovereignty of Ngunnawal land, Canberra is based on Ngunnawal country,” she said from Darwin.

“We were asserting our rights, because we wanted to educate people on our past, our history, our land.

“They’ve failed to give us anything in the whole of the ACT and there’s been dishonesty all together.

“There’s more to come here. This isn’t the end,” she said.

Another activist described the group’s removal as feeling like “a burst of tears”.

‘We’ve been pushed out and all that but it’s one in a long succession of agonised [incidents] right across the country and that’s what really gets you in the belly,” the woman said.

Mr Smith repeatedly asked the group to leave the building this week, describing their occupation as illegal and unauthorised.

He was escorted into the building as police worked to remove activists, while media and supporters watched on.

Last month, the authority’s senior officer for diplomatic properties and leasing had been involved in preparation of real estate marketing materials for the building’s sale.

An authority spokeswoman confirmed planning for a sale had been under way.

“The NCA is always monitoring and reviewing its assets that ensure the best opportunities for the enhancement of the National Estate are pursued,” she said.

“Within this remit, the NCA has investigated options to market the Lobby under a crown lease.”

The building has been left empty after previous commercial tenants left before their lease expired, with it’s prolonged vacancy prompting renewed land rights tensions around in the embassy encampment.

The Tent Embassy has occupied space in front of Old Parliament House since four Indigenous land rights activists started a protest on the site on Day 1972.

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Citibank to refund $4.3m to customers

Citibank will repay more than $3.3 million to about 39,500 current and former customers for failing to refund them when they closed a credit card account with an outstanding balance.
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The refunds relate to Citibank, Virgin Money, Bank of Queensland, Suncorp and Card Services-branded credit cards and Citibank Ready Credit loan customers. Citibank is the credit provider for these products.

The n Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said in a statement the errors had occurred when some accounts were closed as far back as 1994.

Citibank will contact affected customers by November 30. They will receive a refund of the credit balance with interest via a bank cheque or direct credit into their account.

“Customers should be confident that when they close an account, they are refunded any outstanding balance,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said on Thursday.

ASIC said Citibank reported the issue to the regulator and co-operated to fix it.

Separately, Citibank will refund $1 million to another 4000 customers after misleading them about its responsibilities to investigate unauthorised transactions on their accounts.

ASIC said Citibank had refused customers’ requests to investigate unauthorised transactions because it claimed the requests were made outside a time period permitted by Visa and MasterCard.

“Citibank incorrectly stated that because the request was made outside the timeframe specified by Visa and MasterCard, it was not required to assess the claim, and that the customer’s only options were to approach the merchant or a fair trading agency,” ASIC said.

“The letter would likely have misled customers about their protections under the ePayments Code.”

The ePayments Code provides protections to consumers for unauthorised transactions.

A Citibank spokeswoman said the bank had strengthened its systems to ensure the errors did not occur again.

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Twenty reasons to love the Dandenongs

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No other n capital can boast such a wealth of attractive towns and regions so readily accessible from it than Melbourne. But while the likes of the Mornington Peninsula, the Goldfields and the Yarra Valley have won the hearts of many an interstate visitor, the Dandenong Ranges, by contrast, have failed to register. Nowadays, with a range, as it were, of better places to eat and stay, the Dandenongs, just an hour from Melbourne, will do just dandy, thanks. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au2. DRIVE: THE ROADS

Motoring around the Dandenongs remains a real pleasure of any visit. It’s fairly hard to get lost in the ranges since it’s dominated by Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, which runs right through the heart of the ranges, and its off-shoots thoroughfares. Don’t forget to wind down the windows of your vehicle to take in the fragrance of the forest and the sounds of its birds. If you’ve driven from Melbourne consider taking a different route back to the big smoke to fully appreciate the area. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au3. STAY: VALLEY RANGES GETAWAYS

The best way to experience the delights of the Dandenongs, which has been for too long relegated to day-trip status, is to stay in one of the many gorgeous, and often historic, houses nestled in superb bushland and formal garden settings. Book with Valley Ranges Getaways, a highly-professional operation which manages, with a few hotel-style touches, high-standard private homes for local owners. See vrgetaways苏州夜总会招聘.au4. VISIT: THE VILLAGES

It’s no surprise that one of the favourite pastimes for visitors to the Dandenongs is “village-hopping”. The ranges, after all, are dotted with a chain of charming, if at times a tad twee, villages and hamlets brimful of restaurants, cafes and shops, all of which, including Sassafras and Olinda, are situated in delightful settings. A good time to visit the villages is during the week when there are fewer day-trippers from Melbourne and when you’ll get a better opportunity to commune with the locals. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au5. STAY: BEECHMONT GARDEN RETREAT

Described as a sophisticated “country house” and owned by Cherrie Mirikilis-Pavlou, owner of Melbourne’s Flowers Vassette florist in inner-city Fitzroy, the four-bedroom Beechmont is one of the many private houses in the Dandenongs available to visitors to stay in. Located just outside of the Olinda township and including a large and magnificent garden, it may also be the best. See vrgetaways苏州夜总会招聘.au6. EAT: THE PIGGERY CAFE

Many of the stuck-in-the-mud (or is it sty?) locals fail to appreciate it, but the relatively recent arrival of Melbourne star chef Shannon Bennett in the Dandenongs is exactly what the rather dowdy, at times, region needed. Housed in a former piggery and stables, Bennett’s cafe at Sherbrooke is part of the Burnham Beeches estate where a famous art deco hotel is being slowly restored. Serving sophisticated city-style comfort food in a gorgeous bucolic setting, the Piggery Cafe quickly, and rightly, become the place for breakfast and lunch in the Dandenongs these days. And another revolution awaits the Dandenongs once Burnham Beeches is finally opened. See piggerycafe苏州夜总会招聘.au7. MARVEL: MOUNTAIN ASH TREES

The Dandenongs are dominated and distinguished by this towering species of eucalypt trees, native to southeastern and Tasmania. Along with billowing ferns, the trees line every main road in the Dandenongs and make for a sublime natural setting for visitors and locals alike. One of the world’s tallest trees, mountain ash, or eucalyptus regnans, can grow nearly 100 metres, though usually to about 85 metres. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au8. OBSERVE: WILDLIFE

The Dandenongs is a haven for wildlife, particularly for birds. It’s not uncommon to wake up at your accommodation to the unmistakable cackle of multiple kookaburras lined up along a rustic wooden fence outside. Keep an eye out, too, for parrots, including crimson rosellas, lyrebirds wombats, wallabies, possums, and, if you’re really fortunate, platypus. See; See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au9. DINE: COONARA SPRINGS

This is oldest restaurant in the Dandenongs, and it may possibly also be one of the oldest in with origins that can be traced dating back to the late 19th century. Coonara Springs is conveniently just down the road from the aforementioned Beechmont and, below, Moorabina, is set in a historic weatherboard house two-sided open fireplaces. The unpretentious, though skilled, cooking, is as fine as the views. There’s no better, or classier, place in the Dandenongs at which to linger over a languid lunch and a fine Victorian drop than here. See coonarasprings苏州夜总会招聘10. VISIT: COOL CLIMATE GARDENS

Although the densely-vegetated Dandenongs is effectively one giant garden, the region is graced by a plethora of impressive formal gardens with access for the public that thrive in the cool mountain conditions. These include the National Rhododendron Gardens, the George Tindale Memorial Garden, Cloudhill and the William Ricketts Sanctuary, considered the most iconic of them all. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au11. EAT PROSERPINA BAKERY

On the site of an erstwhile nursery in the main drag of the village Sassafras this bakery and cafe, with a focus on artisinal-style organic breads, opened only earlier this year. Aside from those loaves, you can also buy pastries, pies, sausage rolls and soups. The wheat used for the bread comes from southern NSW and was once judged by the CSIRO to be the most nutritional in . See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au12. VISIT: ART COMMUNITIES

The beauty and quietude of the Dandenongs have long been an attractive lure for artists to the ranges. Each year in May, Dandenong Ranges Open Studios allows visitors to interact with emerging and experienced artists and craftsmen and women right across the region. The event, which has been running for more than a decade and includes a month-long group exhibition, is held in Burrinja. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au13. EAT: RIPE CAFE

There’s no shortage in the Dandenongs of quaint cafes serving Devonshire teas to eager day-trippers. But if you’re staying here overnight or, ideally, a little longer you’ll find this cosy, no-nonsense cafe a good breakfast option. Popular with locals and not just tourists, Ripe Cafe is located on the main street of the village of Sassafras. See ripecafe苏州夜场招聘14. STAY: MOORABINDA

Robin Boyd was the acclaimed Melbourne architect who authored the seminal book from the early 1960s, The n Ugliness. But there’s nothing that could be considered unsightly about this three-bedroom hillside house, next door to the Coonara Springs restaurant, which Boyd designed in 1962 at Olinda and which guests can nowadays stay and experience. Characterised by open interior spaces and lavish floor-to-ceiling windows designed to allow the outside world and light to filter in, it was in its day a revolutionary modern house. Architecture buffs will love it. See vrgetaways苏州夜总会招聘.au; robinboyd苏州模特佳丽招聘.au15. VISIT: CUCKOO RESTAURANT

If you fancy a taste of the Dandenongs of yore then pop in for a gander at the Cuckoo Restaurant right at the opposite end of the dining spectrum to new generation places like The Piggery and The Independent (see below). Christmas in July is big in the Dandenongs and nowhere is it more enthusiastically celebrated than here at the Bavarian-style Cuckoo Restaurant which dates to the late ’50s. See cuckoorestaurant苏州夜总会招聘.au16. DETOUR: THE YARRA VALLEY

Even though they neighbour each other, the Yarra Valley, with is acclaimed wineries and hatted restaurants, has robbed the Dandenongs of much of the attention once afforded it. But these days it’s a snitch to combine both stunning regions on a visit and using one or the other as a base for exploration. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au17. RIDE: THE PUFFING BILLY

Aside from its glorious natural setting, the one attraction for which the Dandenongs is renowned is this world-class, and extremely well-operated, tourist train that puffs and steams its way for 24 kilometres from Belgrave to Emerald or Gembrook. Despite being known as a daytime attraction, nowadays you can experience the Puffing Billy by night. Steam & Cuisine After Dark allows passengers to dine aboard the train in restored first-class carriages well after the last of the tourists have headed home. See puffingbilly苏州夜总会招聘.au18. TOUR: PRIVATE GARDENS

Each October, as part of the “Secret Gardens of the Dandenong Ranges” event, many of the owners of Dandenong’s impressive private homes open their gates and allow the public in for a stroll around their botanic treasures. Those who sign up and take part to experience these showpiece gardens are fortunate since for the rest of the year are largely hidden behind hedges and fences. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au19. THE INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT AND BAR

The Independent, located in Gembrook just across from the main station for the Puffing Billy tourist train, is just the thing you thought you didn’t need: an Argentine restaurant set in a cavernous former mechanics shop. But this is one of the few Dandenong entries in the Good Food Guide, published by The Sydney Morning Herald. See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au20. ADMIRE: THE VIEWS

At 633 metres above sea-level at its highest point, the Dandenongs is home to many easily-accessed lookouts where superb views of Melbourne and its surrounding Port Phillip Bay can be savoured. One of the most popular, and touristy, viewing spots is SkyHigh Mount Dandenong which also includes a restaurant, maze and forest walk. See skyhighmtdandenong苏州夜总会招聘.au; See visitdandenongranges苏州夜总会招聘.au

Anthony Dennis was a guest of Yarra Ranges Tourism, Visit Victoria and Valley Ranges Getaways

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